[Updated] If you thought aircraft carriers are immune to rough seas, then watch this

Nov 26 2013 - 10 Comments

Aircraft carriers are among the world’s most powerful and deadly weapons systems.

Even if they can almost freely move across the planet’s ocean to bring their embarked Carrier Air Wing where needed, the flying activity launched by the deck of a flattop can be affected by bad weather and….rough seas.

Rough seas not only cause “pitching decks” but can also be quite dangerous when high swells hit the bow of the aircraft carrier running over planes being launched by catapults, as happened to the E-2 Hawkeye in the above picture.

Update Nov. 28 00.00 GMT

After publishing the article, we’ve received the following email by Derek Gordon who explains:

“The photo is…well…parts of two photos.  As bizarre of a coincidence as this is, I actually put it together in Photoshop when I was a JO in 123 while on cruise in 2006.  It was originally for a prank on one of our Dept Heads at the time and we later used it during foscle follies.  The cat shot of the E-2 was a photo I took during work ups and I took the one of the waves crashing over the bow during our transit through the Indian Ocean.  If you look closely you’ll see in the merged photo that the E-2 and steam trail from the catapult track actually don’t line up with the catapult track beneath it.”

Therefore, the image is Photoshopped. Still, these things happen as others have written and as proved by this video:

Enhanced by Zemanta
  • Chris Muncy

    “Oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit…”

  • Gothamite

    Catapult launch AND a wash in the same day, what great odds.

  • Snalli

    I can’t help myself but this looks really shopped. Though I do believe carriers encounter such waves.

  • DDAY

    I recently read somewhere (was it in Air & Space magazine?) an account of a pilot flying off a carrier in the North Sea in 1967 or so. I think it might have been USS Kitty Hawk and I think he was flying a Crusader. If I remember correctly, he was sent to check out a radar contact. Anyway, by the time he returned to the carrier it was in some big swells and he remembered seeing the propellers breech the water. Made it okay, but his description was harrowing.

  • kilowat

    I was on the USS Saratoga 66/67 cruise in VF31 I was looking for photos of the
    ship when we were off the coast of Jacksonville Fl hurricane had just
    gone through, white water was coming across the bow, 55 ft swells we lost part of the cat walks and the ships bell

  • C-2Bro

    Thanks for the tailhook-prop love, Aviationist! Actually, this has happened before. Check out this video of a Tracker.

  • joesocool

    can you link to source?

  • Skippy

    Ok I have been watching the photo now for quite some time. Nothings happening… LOL

  • bigcreek2

    this photo looks total photo shopped,,,

  • prugio

    I was ‘watching’ the photo…waiting. Great pic…would love to have seen the video.