Here’s what happens if you are a bit too close to the exhaust on an EA-6B Prowler during catapult launch
Working on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier can be extremely dangerous!
The video below was reportedly filmed aboard USS Kitty Hawk during the final launches of the embarked U.S. Navy EA-6B Prowler electronic attack aircraft at the end of the deployment.
It shows a “troubleshooter” or “Final Checker”, be blown away by the jet blast of the aircraft during the catapult launch.
The role of the final checker (with a white jersey) is to make sure the aircraft’s flight controls are freely moving and that everything is ok. So they have to operate quite close to plane to spot potential hydraulic leaks or something that could lead to an aborted launch.
Here’s how the mishap is described by the alleged cameraman on Liveleak:
“This was the final flight on our deployment. During the final flight, people tend to push the boundaries because the deployment is over. Getting close to the exhaust on launch is a kind of “right of passage” for most troubleshooters since it increases the jet blast. So, the guy in the video decided that he wanted to get closer to the exhaust. He got a little TOO close and it threw him about 40 feet. The deck of the carrier is extremely rough and cover with “non-skid.” It’s so rough it can wear out the sole of you shoes in about 5 months. He was extremely scraped up, but took it like a champ!”
“As far as why the checkers stand so close, that is a personal preference. You need to be somewhat close so you can observe the aircraft” says another guy who’s posted a similar video to Youtube.
“You need to be somewhat close so you can observe the aircraft. The Prowler‘s jet exhaust blows down and out, so when the aircraft takes off, the closer you are, the harder it hits you.”