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

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.




About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. 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.

  2. 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.

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

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