The link which Juvat left in his comment sends you to this post, right here on this very blog, of which I am the inhaber. You would think that I could at least pay attention to the happenings right here on my home turf, I mean you'd think that, right?
In my defense that post by our very own Juvat was nearly two years ago, the arrested engagement to which I was a witness was nearly 40 years ago. In my defense...
[Ahem] Alrighty then. I know this has been a very long-winded introduction to the subject of today's post. Tailhooks and aircraft arresting systems. Before you run screaming for the door, it's not a "technical" post with all sorts of diagrams and charts...
Oh, that's what you want? Sorry, perhaps someday I will provide a PowerPoint post.
Don't look at me like that.
You think I won't do it?
Now I have an evil idea...
Anyhoo. Long intro, tailhooks, ah yes, there we are... I'm back on track, sort of, we shall see.
Long ago when The WSO was first married to Big Time they took up residence in his cozy apartment in Virginia Beach, in walking distance of the beach. (Which is why they didn't take up residence in her much nicer apartment which she shared with The Nuke. That and the commute to Oceana, where they both worked, was better from his place.) The first time we visited I noticed a poster on the wall. It proudly stated...
|That explains the title of this post (those of you expecting something else, tsk-tsk).|
Training Squadron 9, or TRARON NINE, or VT-9 is where young naval aviators go to learn how to take off from, and land on, aircraft carriers. (Oh and all the other things needed by a young strike fighter pilot. There's much more than just taking off and landing. Though all successful flights involve both those things.) In order to land upon one of these floating citadels of four-and-a-half acres of sovereign United States territory, all naval aircraft come equipped with one of these...
Naval aviators have their own association, The Tailhook Association and they are known as, ahem, Hookers. So to speak. Due to the tailhook, not that other thing.
At any rate, many Air Force fighter aircraft also have tailhooks. Now the Navy uses theirs every time they land on "the boat," which is what the Air Wing calls the carrier. Before you leave a comment regarding "ship" versus "boat," rest assured I know the difference. Having "grown up" in the fighter community, I too call it "the boat." Also because it infuriates The Nuke. The Air Force uses their tailhooks as a last resort, emergency, "oh my God, I have no brakes," sort of thing.
For those emergencies, many Air Force runways have the BAK-12 Aircraft Arresting System. Which looks like this -
|The Barrier Arresting Kit 12 cable is installed at the end of each runway is designed to stop an aircraft. (Source)|
|Notice the long run out after the F-16 has engaged the barrier.|
|Instantaneous deformation of the Cross Deck Pendant (3-wire) by the nose gear of an FA-18 Hornet as it lands and passes over the wire at 135 knots aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) in Sept 2009. Photo by Pinch. The arched supports are leaf springs that raise the pendant above the flight deck. (Source)|
You'll notice that on the BAK-12 cable, there are "donuts" which hold the cable up off the runway. The "cross deck pendant" (cable to us landlubbers) is held up from the deck by those leaf springs noted in the preceding photo.
|An FA-18 makes an arrested landing aboard a US aircraft carrier. (Source)|
Notice that the cross-deck pendant on the carrier doesn't have that long strap at its end points. Also "trapping" on the carrier has no long run out, the stop is short and rather abrupt. Unlike the barrier engagement on a land runway. Which kind of ends in a less abrupt stop. Of course, there's more room on land.
Oh yeah, that's another nuance between using the tailhook in the Air Force (unusual, emergencies only) and the Navy (standard, do it every day). In the Navy, landing on the boat is called a "trap." In the Air Force, having to use the BAK-12 is called a "barrier engagement" or a "field arrestment." I ran across both terms on the Web of World-Wideness.
|An F-16 Fighting Falcon tests the new aircraft arresting barrier at the end of the runway at Balad Air Base, Iraq. 4 July 2006 U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Tony Tolley|
Well, that just about exhausts my knowledge of tailhooks, cross-deck pendants, and the BAK-12. In fact, that does exhaust my knowledge in that area. Oh, one last thing, the mighty F-4 Phantom has a very manly tailhook. I mean really, it's got some heft to it. One thing we never did back in the day was go under the hook. That would leave a mark if it fell on you.
|McDonnell Douglas F-4C Phantom exhaust nozzles and tailhook. (Source)|
If you'd like another tale of "field arrestments," my buddy Dave has a story stretching over a few posts back in '09, of his days flying the mighty Phantom to go north to Uncle Ho's backyard and raising Cain with the enemies of the Republic. The story starts here and runs to here (read all those posts in between if you have the time, trust me, you won't regret it.) and the story of how he got the bird back on the ground is here, here, and here. Yup, he used one of those cable thingies. (Back then they had an earlier version of the BAK-12, the BAK-9.) Great stuff Dave!
If you're paying attention, you'll be able to figure out Dave's call sign. And why he was tagged with that particular moniker.
You might also note a comment or three left by our very own Virgil Xenophon. Another Phantom driver when men were men and the enemies of America trembled at the roar of the mighty Phantom. (And the B-52, and the F-105, and...)
In case you wanted to see those things, well, here ya go...
Hey Tuna! That Hoover trap looked like an "OK-3." What say you?