USS Gerald R. Ford will be the only carrier regularly available to provide carrier qualifications to pilots who require them on the east coast this year.
The interesting picture in this post features an F/A-18E Super Hornet, attached to “Blue Blasters” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 34, landing aboard USS Gerald R. Ford’s (CVN 78) flight deck marking the 1,000th recovery of a fixed wing aircraft using Ford’s Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) Mar. 19, 2020 at 5:13 p.m.
As told by Petty Officer 2nd Class Ryan Seelbach, USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), in the article 1000th Aircraft Arrestment, Launch on Ford, minutes later, the crew celebrated a second milestone launching an F/A-18E Super Hornet attached to “Warhawks” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 97 from Ford’s Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) catapults for the 1,000th time.
With 1,000 launches and recoveries complete, Ford continued flight operations and the following day obtained its Flight Deck Certification (FDC) and Carrier Air Traffic Control Center (CATCC) Certification last week.
This will allow the carrier to provide carrier qualifications to pilots who require them. In fact, the ship will be the only carrier regularly available for this role on the east coast this year.
In order to certify Ford’s flight deck and carrier air traffic control center, the ship was required to complete a Precision Approach Landing Systems (PALS) certification, and conduct two consecutive days of flight operations with 50 day traps on day one, followed by 70 day traps and 40 night traps on day two. As explained by Petty Officer 1st Class Gary Prill, USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), in the article Ready for the Fleet: Ford Completes Flight Deck and Carrier Air Traffic Control Center Certifications, together, the crews of Ford and CVW 8 exceeded those minimum requirements.
Over a two-day period, F/A-18E and F/A-18F Super Hornets from four squadrons assigned to CVW 8 conducted 123 day, and 42 night cats and traps aboard Ford to reach this milestone in Ford’s operational readiness.
These significant milestones in the ships’ history began on Jul. 28, 2017 with Ford’s first fixed wing recovery and launch using its first-in-class AAG and EMALS technologies.
Boasting the US Navy’s first major design investment in aircraft carriers since the 1960s, Ford’s AAG and EMALs support greater launch and recovery energy requirements of future air wings, increasing the safety margin over legacy launch and arresting gear found on Nimitz-class carriers.
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Gary Prill