Virginia Pilot: Sailors’ lives, $50M jets rely on USS Truman’s 4 wires to prevent a disaster while landing
The margin of error aboard a floating airport is razor thin.
The only thing stopping a $57 million fighter jet from disaster when it lands on the USS Harry S. Truman is a carefully choreographed routine, four steel cables – each about 1½ inches thick – and a team of about 50 sailors that makes sure the wires catch it.
Planes approach an aircraft carrier at about 150 mph. That allows them to take off again if their tail hook doesn’t grab one of the four wires placed at 20-foot intervals near the ship’s rear. Pilots aim for the third wire because it’s the safest to approach. They have only a few seconds and about 330 feet of runway to stop before either taking off again or crashing into the ocean.
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WNU Editor: It is the little things that count. The public may look at the fighter jocks .... but the pilots look at these guys (and girls) to make sure those wires stop their plane when they land on a carrier.