I thought you guys might like to see this. I got this email not too long after the first Lou episode was up. It's from another Navy fighter pilot who shares a more current version of the procedures involved in carrier landings.
Enjoyed Lou Fields on the podcast today. Thought you might like to know how we do it today. There are 3 approach modes in today's Navy. The first is the day VFR pattern (called case I). I'll just cover it for now.
It is very similar to landing at a non-towered airport today. The Fighters circle the carrier in a 5 mile circle at 2,000 feet, going at a moderate speed to conserve fuel because you NEVER know when there might be an accident on deck closing the only landing strip for hundreds of miles. The fighter-attack pukes (F-18s) are at 3,000. The attack pukes (A-6) are at 4,000 and on up. When the deck is clear (meaning the last aircraft in the launch sequence has taken off) then the Fighters come into the "break" (lined up with the carrier heading, 800 feet, as fast as you dare, sometimes 400 knots) and you "break" left into a 90 degree turn either at the bow of the carrier or farther upwind, depending on your skill level. Downwind it is gear/flaps landing checks and slow to "onspeed" somewhere around 135 knots depending on aircraft weight maintaining 800 feet altitude. Very important here to have a level turn to downwind as more than a few aircraft have gone into the water at this point. At the "abeam" position you count 1 potato, 2 potato and start your turn to land, maintaining a constant descent rate rate and rolling into the "groove" and picking up the lens. About 15 seconds in the groove and you are aboard (hopefully). Your wingman (and the rest of the airwing) is about 45 seconds behind you, so don't lolygag in the landing area.
thanks for sending that in...thats pretty cool,
"To Live is To Fly" - Townes VanZandt