Now you know…

  Q. Why do Navy airplanes need tail hooks?

            A. After a tough day of flying on an aircraft carrier, the planes are always washed and they use the hooks to hang the planes over the side to dry out.


And kudos to the pilots, they didn’t even punch out…

This is probably off the USS LEXINGTON back in the day, it’s a TF-9F and probably the result of the wire breaking at the end of the roll out.  Not enough airspeed left to go fly, not enough brakes to actually STOP before the deck edge.  The landing area is roughly 425 feet long in case you wondered.

h/t JP


Now you know… — 28 Comments

  1. In early 1963 I took a tour on the Lexington. She was docked in New Orleans. We had hoped to try the Navy Chow since as Airmen we’d always heard Navy chow was better. Well, we got the “stall”. In the Air Force if you didn’t have a CHOW CARD you could pay for the meal. We finally worked our way up to the Exec. He was very gracious, but checking his watch, he said the Mess ? hall had just closed! WE’d had a couple of early afternoon drinks which caused us to be so pushy. Our “mouthpiece”, & fellow Airman was killed later that year in an equipment explosion!

  2. Don’t some of the Navy bases have a drive-through “birdbath” as well?
    Priceless photo and explanation though.

  3. WN- Yep, we had birdbaths for the bigger fixed wing birds. P-3s have to go through if they’d been down low to get the salt spray off the airplane…

  4. Wonder how many asses got chewed after that photograph was taken?

    My only experience with Navy Chow was on a troop ship. After experiencing the consolidated mess halls at the Ft. Dix transit station, I wasn’t complaining!

  5. WSF- Probably quite a few… 🙂 And understood about Ft. Dix… NEVER heard anything good about their chow hall!

  6. JD- Yep, I actually had met Lex out in Hawaii a few years ago… Helluva writer and helluva pilot!

    PA- ROTF, almost… ALMOST… 😀

  7. A pilot friend once explained to me that a crash was what happened when you ran out of airspeed, altitude, and ideas all at the same time.

    By his definition then this isn’t a crash. At least for as long as whatever the tail hook is snagged on holds.


  8. I wonder how long the pilot had to hang there before they got him out … but I felt like that a few times, during heavy seas.

  9. BGM- LOL, yeah all true… And I ‘believe’ the actually recovered the airplane…

    Rev- In their minds, probably an eternity!!! ;-D

  10. And people wonder why I joined the Army. You can always dig another hole. You only have so much ship.

  11. BP- Left over steam from the boilers… And that pretty much ‘sanitizes’ them… 🙂

    PH- 😛

    DB- Point!

    orbitup- Hopefully it was a good tour! She’s a piece of history (literally)…

  12. And kudos to the pilots, they didn’t even punch out…

    The Cougars being “older vintage” birds, did they have seats that would function properly at zero altitude and very low speed?

  13. If I was that pilot, I’d be reflecting on how that hook assembly was sub-contracted out to the lowest bidder and looking for the CO2 inflator on my Mae West.

  14. JPG- No sir, they didn’t…

    Alison- Cherry picker! (Literally that’s what it’s called)…

    Murph- Good point!

  15. The real reason the pilot didn’t punch out is that the seat was sucked so far up his butt that he couldn’t leave if he wanted to!

    That’s a bit more exciting than I would want to deal with, thank you very much.

  16. I think you are correct on that being the Lex. That picture or a very close facsimile in on the wall of the hangar deck in the Lex. I try to stop by the Lex a couple times a year as it’s only 30 miles from me 🙂 But the pic IIRC says something something training group on the Lexington.