An Air­craft Car­rier’s Ca­ble Guys

It takes mus­cle to stop and stow a 25-ton fighter.

Air & Space Smithsonian - - Front Page - BY ROGER A. MOLA

Take the worry out of

land­ing on a ship.

WHEN EU­GENE ELY MADE THE WORLD’S FIRST ship­board land­ing, on the USS Penn­syl­va­nia on Jan­uary 18, 1911, his Cur­tiss Model D was brought to a stop by a pair of 50-pound sand­bags tied onto the ends of a rope. Af­ter Ely cut power, the bi­plane set­tled onto the deck, and a metal hook on its land­ing gear snagged sev­eral in a se­ries of 22 ropes and held on un­til Ely stopped 10 feet shy of the cap­tain. As Ely climbed out, sailors re­moved the hook, hauled in the ropes, and swept up the sand.

To­day’s rope is braided steel. Stretch­ing about 120 feet across the deck, the ar­rest­ing wire is con­nected at both ends be­low deck to 1,100-foot pur­chase ca­bles. To­day’s sand­bags are me­chan­i­cal mon­sters called ar­rest­ing en­gines, weigh­ing 43 tons. The sys­tem can bring a 50,000-pound jet fly­ing 149 mph to a stop within 344 feet in two sec­onds. In the span of 45 sec­onds, to­day’s sailors straighten the ar­rest­ing wires, guide air­craft to a park­ing space, and ready the deck for the next ar­riv­ing jet.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.