This is what it looks like when you land an E-2C Hawkeye on an aircraft carrier at night

Mar 10 2017 - 7 Comments

E-2C Hawkeye Night Carrier Landing from the cockpit. With radio comms.

The following video was filmed on Apr. 16, 2013, and shows a night (let’s say a sunset) carrier arrested landing by a VAW-121 E-2C Hawkeye’s pilot at his last night trap with the squadron.

The video is particularly interesting as it includes radio comms (both with the ship and Landing Signal Officers), the PLAT (Pilot Landing Aid Television) from about a mile to the touchdown.

The PLAT system gives a hint of the horizontal visibility on the flight deck and the “C” (or flashing “F”) in the upper screen of the PLAT is for “Clear” deck, or “Foul” deck, whereas the “W” in the bottom would mean “Waveoff.”

The pilot in command is the one in the left seat (with the camera), whereas the pilot in the right seat is handling radio calls, coordination with the CIC (Combat Information Center) crew. You can also hear the chat with the LSOs (Landing Signal Officers) providing final approach assistance to aircraft.




  • leroy

    Now imagine the wire breaks, #4, as recently happened to an E-2 aboard the Ike. When it went over the side, flight deck personnel probably never expected to see it rise like a Phoenix from a seeming death plunge, but it did. It’s times like that when the benefits of constant training IAW NATOPS emergency procedures becomes apparent. Skills become automatic and reflexive – second nature. The program has saved countless lives. Nice video, and it shows why the U.S. Navy has the best pilots in the world.

  • cencio4

    Not sure which is scarier but when I visited USS Nimitz I was told the E-2 is the most dangerous because of the wing span.

  • leroy

    Well considering the pilots and especially the crew in the tube can’t eject …

  • leroy

    The Aviationist scores another hit. Nice work!

  • Stuart Carrol

    Indeed, been flying since 1969 and was puckered right up there on approach! Hats off to the world’s best.

  • Mike

    Indexers – Angle of Attack (AOA) indicator you can see on top of the dash. Yellow “doughnut” in the center shows the pilot he’s “On speed”. Also has a repeater in the nose wheel well to show the LSOs AOA.
    Needles – Automatic Carrier Landing System (ACLS) indicator on the attitude gyro. Consists of vertical and horizontal lines (needles) showing aircraft relationship to proper glideslope (up or down) and glidepath (right or left).
    On and up – Indicates needles show aircraft “On centerline” (left or right) but the proper glideslope is above the aircraft. Actually the aircraft will fly straight and level until intercepting the glideslope and then start a decent to remain on the proper decent angle.
    Mode 2 – The backup system to ACLS, similar to ILS.
    Wing down, Top rudder. There is apparently a cross-wind at the altitude(1200ft) requiring the pilot to dip the wing “into the wind” and use “top” rudder to keep the nose of the plane pointed at the carrier. Standard crosswind landing technique. Typically, as the aircraft descends toward the carrier, the crosswind will decrease (as carriers must drive into the prevailing surface level wind) and the pilot can reduce the Wing Down, Top Rudder correction.

    A landing at dusk is referred to as a “Pinkie”. The LSOs will make a decision on whether the landing counts as a “Night Landing” for pilot currency depending on how dark it is. Pinkies are very desirable because it may not be very dark but the pilot gets credit for a night landing.

    • geezer123

      Thanks for the info, Mike. It makes the video even more interesting.