Tag Archives: aircraft carrier

Here’s 2017 West Coast Strike Fighter Ball Video: No ATFLIR and No Gun Camera Footage. And It’s Probably Not By Accident.

This year’s West Coast Strike Fighter Ball Video does not feature the “real ops” stuff: bombs, ATFLIR footage, and aerial “gun camera” clips. It seems that someone was not happy when a recent cruise video included footage of a Syrian Su-22 being shot down by a Hornet….

“Hornet Ball” and “Rhino Ball” are the names of a famous yearly compilation of videos produced by LT Joseph “C-Rock” Stephens, an Instructor WSO with the VFA-122 Flying Eagles.

The “Ball” series is made of clips from squadrons based on the West Coast (as well as the 4 forward deployed squadrons in Japan) during their daily activities at home or deployed in support of real operations, such as Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) against ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Here you have the links to the previous editions: Rhino Ball 2016; Hornet Ball 2015; Hornet Ball 2014; Hornet Ball 2013.

This year’s edition has been dubbed “Strike Fighter Ball” as NAS Lemoore, along with the “legacy” F/A-18A-D Hornets and F/A-18E/F Super Hornets,  has started operating the F-35C Lightning II “Joint Strike Fighter” with the VFA-125 Rough Riders since Jan. 25, 2017.

Whilst the 2017 video remains extremely cool (and funny, considered the arcade game theme) with cats/traps, air-to-air merges, low levels, fly-bys, aerial refueling etc., it appears to be a bit watered-down: whereas previous years videos featured plenty of bomb, ATFLIR (Advanced Targeting Forward Looking Infra Red) pod, HUD (Head Up Display) and Gun Camera footage, this year’s compilation has just some AIM-9X Sidewinder and AGM-88 HARM (High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile) shots.

Indeed, according to multiple sources, the U.S. Navy was not too happy when the VFA-31 Tomcatters release their 2017 OIR cruise video that included footage of the aerial engagement between an F/A-18E Super Hornet belonging to the VFA-87 “Golden Warriors” and a Syrian Su-22 (that ended with the Fitter being shot down by an AIM-120 AMRAAM missile near Raqqa, Syria), filmed with an ATFLIR pod.

In order to prevent some sensitive footage from leaking to the public, the Navy has probably decided to put the kibosh on all footage taken on theater…

Anyway, enjoy!

Buzzed By A Flanker: Watch A Su-33 Fighter Perform Two Very Low Passes Over The Runway

Low Passes Are Always Cool. This Time It’s The Turn Of A Russian Navy Su-33.

In the recent past we have published several videos showing pretty dangerous low passes: a Su-27 flying really low over a group of people after performing a low approach at an airbase in Ukraine; a Su-25 Frogfoot buzzing a group of female soldiers posing for a photograph; another one performing a low passage along a taxiway of a military airfield in northwestern Ukraine; a Mig-29 overflying pro-Russia separatist blocking rails, an Ilyushin Il-76 buzzing some Su-25s and Frogfoots returning the favor while buzzing the tower; an Mi-17 helicopter flying among the cars on a highway and another fully armed Mig-29 Fulcrum in the livery of the Ukrainian Falcons aerobatic display team flying over an apron at an airbase in Ukraine.

However, Russian Air Force and Naval Aviation pilots love flying low and be filmed in the process too. Not only with the Su-24 Fencer, the type shown buzzing cars on a highway in a video that went viral few years ago causing military prosecutors to investigate flight records and safety measures carried out at military airfields. This time with a Su-33 Flanker-D.

The Sukhoi Su-33 is an all-weather carrier-based highly maneuverable air defence fighter based on the Su-27 “Flanker” and initially known as Su-27K. It has larger (folding) wings, upgraded engines, twin nose wheel, strengthened undercarriage for blue waters ops.

The Su-33 equips the only Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov and, as reported last year, a Russian Navy Su-33 Flanker carrier-based multirole aircraft crashed during flight operations from the carrier at its inaugural combat cruise in the Mediterranean Sea, to support the air strikes in Syria, on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016.

According to the report, the combat plane crashed at its second attempt to land on the aircraft carrier in good weather conditions (visibility +10 kilometers, Sea State 4, wind at 12 knots): the arresting wire snapped and failed to stop the aircraft that fell short of the bow of the warship.

The pilot successfully ejected and was picked up by a Russian Navy search and rescue helicopter.

The Chinese Shenyang J-15, equipping the refurbished ex-Soviet Kuznetsov class carrier Varyag now “Liaoning” is also extensively based on the Su-27 and Su-33.

Anyway, the following video show a Russian Navy Su-33 at some airbase in Russia, performing a couple of really low passes buzzing the cameraman. Cool footage, probably not too safe.

 

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VAW-113 Homecoming And VAW-115 Re-location Brings A Formation Of Six E-2C Hawkeyes Over Naval Base Ventura County Point Mugu

Black Eagles return home from WESTPAC and Liberty Bells relocate to new home at Point Mugu. With some cool special markings.

On Jun. 21, 2017, NBVC Point Mugu saw the homecoming of the VAW-113 “Black Eagles” from a six month deployment from USS Carl Vinson and the re-location of the VAW-115 “Liberty Bells” from MCAS Iwakuni, Japan, to their new home in California.

Both squadrons flew off the USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) with their E-2Cs acting as airborne command and control platforms, positioning themselves between the ship and other aircraft to relay communications, identify and track air traffic and surface traffic, coordinate air-to-air refueling, handle aircraft emergencies, and provide information from the battlefield to warfare commanders through data-link and satellite radio communications.

The Black Eagles returned with 2 E-2C Hawkeye aircraft and their 19 military crewmembers from a six month deployment to the Western Pacific and South China Sea in support of 7th fleet operations. The remainder of the 150 person, along with two more E-2Cs arrived later, as USS Carl Vinson sailed into San Diego.

The 6-ship formation flies over NBVC Point Mugu

The “Liberty Bells” arrived in California with four aircraft and 19 crew members after being forward deployed to Japan for 44 years.

Shorealone Films photographer Matt Hartman went to NBVC Point Mugu to meet the “Black Eagles” and “Liberty Bells” as they were welcomed home by family, friends and co-workers.

Breaking the visual pattern to report downwind.

Liberty Bells Flagship breaking for landing

VAW-113 NE-602 taxies after landing at NBVC Point Mugu.

 

The artwork on the tail and wing tips of the VAW-115 Modex 600.

The stunning artwork applied to the VAW-115 flagship

VAW-115 Modex 602 on the apron.

Black Eagles “NE-602” about to park.

The Hawkeyes parked on the apron right after landing at NBVC Point Mugu.

Liberty Bells 600-5812

Families greeted the VAW-113 aircrews returning from a 6-month WESTPAC cruise.

Aircrews got the warm welcome of their family members upon disembarking the aircraft.

All images credit: Matt Hartman

 

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“Aircraft Carrier” Documentary Provides Unique Perspective and Insight Into Naval Aviation And F-35 Ops At Sea.

Beautiful Visuals Meet Mechanical Understanding in Aircraft Carrier Documentary. With some cool footage of F-35B and F-35C stealth jets.

Large format filmmaker Stephen Low has taken his IMAX cameras to sea for the filming of his new hour-long documentary Aircraft Carrier. The 43-minute long film premiered at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. in the United States on May 24 and has opened at large format IMAX theaters around the U.S. this week.

We had a chance to preview the film at The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan. The Henry Ford, formerly Greenfield Village and The Henry Ford Museum, has a large format IMAX movie theater and sound system. If you haven’t seen one, an IMAX theater is a large format film theater that uses much larger imaging film and screen for higher resolution. It is combined with a more immersive sound system and frequently uses 3-dimensional filmmaking requiring the viewer to wear 3D glasses to see the images correctly and with as increased sense of depth perception.

The Henry Ford Museum also has an impressive collection of historical aircraft including a 1928 Ford 4-AT-B Tri-Motor Airplane, the “Floyd Bennett,” Flown Over the South Pole by Dean Smith as commanded by Richard E. Byrd on Nov. 28, 1929. The museum also houses a Fokker Triplane used on various early arctic expeditions.

Aircraft Carrier was shot mostly on and around the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76), a Nimitz-class nuclear powered carrier commissioned in 2003 with a homeport of Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan. She carries a massive crew of over 5,000 personnel in both the air wing on board and for the ship’s crew. The ship itself is over a thousand feet long.

The film and the format work together to communicate a feeling of size and grandeur. The opening scenes are breathtaking and, like any well-made film or documentary, draw the viewer in.

Filmaker Stephen Low operates a large format IMAX film camera (credit: Stephen Low Company)

The IMAX filmmaking crew with their camera helicopter (credit: Stephen Low Company)

There are effectively three themes to Aircraft Carrier. Firstly, there are sweeping visuals that entertain and inspire. Secondly, there are historical insights that add context. The slides used in this segment are excellent. And finally, strong technical graphics that, while probably the weak visual link in the film – especially in large format – do an excellent job of helping the viewer visualize complex systems onboard an aircraft carrier.

Another segment of the film focuses on new F-35C and F-35B operations and the testing and integration of the Joint Strike Fighter into the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marines. These sequences are visually remarkable in clarity and composition. When you add the 3D visual effect they have depth and resolution that feel like seeing the flights in person.

A screenshot from Aircraft Carrier showing JSF blue-water ops.

The strength of Aircraft Carrier is that it offers fresh and inspiring imagery for the aircraft enthusiast and a set of basic insights for the non-aircraft enthusiast to remain interested. It’s a good film to take people to who are not aviation experts or enthusiasts, but it is visually exciting enough to keep the aircraft enthusiast interested. Finally, since this is a quick little film at only 43 minutes it is great for young audiences.

Mostly, this is a beautiful and reverent visual and sensory experience that does a better job than any Hollywood movie of showing naval aviation at its most remarkable.

If there is an IMAX theater near you, seek out Aircraft Carrier; you will most certainly enjoy it.

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.

Enjoy.

 

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