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Q: Can you survive jumping off deck of aircraft carrier?
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Continue Learning about Military History

How many feet from the flight deck of an aircraft carrier to the water?

90


Who invented the aircraft carrier?

The aircraft carrier was preceded by the balloon barges of the US Civil War, and the first aircraft carriers were seaplane tenders that did not launch or recover planes aboard the ship. This included the French "Foudre" in 1911. The HMS Ark Royal (1914) was a seaplane carrier that experimented with shipboard launches and recovery. The first US carrier was a converted coal ship, the Jupiter, which became USS Langley in 1920. The first aircraft carrier designed with a flight deck was the Japanese carrier "Hosho" (1922), followed by the commissioning of the British carrier HMS Hermes in 1924.


What is Aircraft carrier approach operations?

Approach ops (Air Ops) are the maneuvers that aircraft (attack/fighters or support) execute to get aboard the carrier (trap). Since the flight deck is not very large, the aircraft must be stopped catching a wire stretched across the deck with a sturdy hook attached to the plane. They follow a very standardized pattern around the carrier, day or night, good or bad weather, clear or no visibility. It is considered the most difficult and dangerous thing there exists in aviation.


Why were land bases considered better than aircraft carriers?

Because they can't be sunk. Aircraft carriers were expensive and took a long time to build. The aviators who flew from them required specialized training. They were vulnerable to submarines. Dozens of submarines could be built for the cost of a single carrier. The crew of a carrier was as many men as in twenty or more sub crews. Carriers required a dozen or more ships of other types to protect them from submarines and aircraft. Carriers only have room for a limited number of aircraft. And those aircraft have to be relatively small, so they can take off and land in the few hundred feet of carrier deck - an area shorter than a football field. Because these aircraft have to be relatively small, they are limited in the amount of fuel they can hold, and in the amount of bombs and ordnance they can carry to the target. A WWII carrier aircraft could range out about 250 miles from its ship and be able to return after making its attack. All WWII carrier aircraft had to be single engine, and the heaviest could carry about one ton of bombs. A land airfield could be as big as the island. On Saipan and Tinian in the Marianas huge airfield complexes were built, each home to dozens of heavy, four engine bombers, which could carry tons of bombs two thousand miles and return. Islands do not move. In darkness or bad weather they can be found. Finding a carrier the same conditions in a vast expanse of ocean was not easy in WWII.


Why does a aircart carrier need to be large?

bigger is always better... Well, yeah, but, The size of a carrier is determined by the total required length for the flight deck to be able to simultaneously launch aircraft from the front and recover (land) planes at the rear. The take-off length is determined by the amount of distance required for the heaviest plane to reach minimum air speed over the wings to become airborne ("stall speed"). This distance is a product of the speed the plane can reach at max power aided by the launch catapult in the deck, plus the ship's speed at full speed while being steered into the wind for maximum advantage. Obviously, the takeoff runway length can't be changed once the ship is built, so that distance then becomes a requirement for any prospective aircraft to meet in order to be accepted for carrier use. While planes are waiting to take off, others may be landing at the rear of the flight deck. The only way to stop carrier planes when they land is by use of the arresting gear, a large steel hook that drops from the rear of the plane that catches one of 5 thick steel cables run across the rear of the landing area. If the pilot fails to hook one of these cables, he must take off again, circle the ship, and try landing again. Since the plane must be able to fly off without the help of the catapult, all carrier planes must come in for a landing at full power - just in case. Carrier landings have been referred to as "controlled crashes" because of the way the planes are slammed onto the deck and violently stopped by the arresting gear, and aircraft intended for carrier use are designed and built tougher than a plane would be for land based use.