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Case 1 Carrier Recovery

Landing on aircraft carrier in Case I conditions is much like an airfield in VFR conditions. A Case I condition is defined as visibility of at least 5 miles and clouds no lower than 5,000 feet. In other words, good weather, day light conditions.

Call up the air-to-air RADAR page on your right DDI and HUD repeater on your left DDI.

Enter Navigation master mode and set the Master Arm Switch to SAFE on the |LEFT INSTRUMENT PANEL|. Lower the arrestor hook by pressing [H] and set HUD altitude to radar.

Entry into the Case I pattern would either be done from a port holding pattern (5 nm diameter circle at 1.5 to 5 thousand feet over the carrier) or a direct approach into the upwind leg. In this guide, we will discuss a direct approach.

NOTE For a Case 1 recovery, neither TACAN or ICLS are required. Those will be discussed in Case II and III recoveries.

Approach the carrier from astern at 800 feet and 350 KIAS. Pass starboard of the carrier, and just close enough that you can look down to the left and visually spot the carrier deck to make sure the deck is not foul.

At no more than 1.5 nm after passing the bow of the carrier, initiate a level turn to the left.

Generally, pull 1% of your airspeed in G. For example 350 knots would equal 3.5 G. Roll out on a reciprocal landing heading and an altitude of 600 feet AGL. If your entry speed is above 350 KIAS, you may wish to extend the airbrake until your airspeed decays to 250 KIAS. Once below 150 KIAS, lower the landing gear [G] and extend flaps to FULL [Left Ctrl + F].

Your lateral course distance from the carrier in the downwind leg should be 1.3 to 1.4 nm. See the TACAN section of the Navigation chapter.

With an established altitude of 600 feet, keep letting airspeed fall until around 145 KIAS and carefully increase throttle such that you capture the on-speed AoA as indicated by the E-Bracket on the HUD and the Angle of Attack Indexer lights to the left of the HUD frame.

Maintain on-speed AoA and 600 feet until the round-down on the stern of the carrier is visible and forms a straight line.

In the first 90 degrees of the second turn, maintain on-speed AoA and use throttle to adjust your decent rate between 100 and 200 feet per minute with a roll angel of 27 to 30 degrees. A good way to visualize this is to place the velocity vector just below the horizon line on the HUD such that just the vertical post and right “wing” touch the horizon line.

During this portion of the turn, don’t peak at the carrier, instead fly by the instruments.

As you pass the second 90 degrees of the second turn, allow your vertical velocity to increase to 500 feet per minute and visually acquire the carrier and IFLOS.

Upon rolling out on final approach to the carrier, all direction is now dictated by the Improved Fresnel Lens Optical System (IFLOS).

The position of the ball relative to the datum lights would indicate the relative position of the aircraft to the desired glidepath. If the ball was above the datum lights (a high ball), the aircraft was above the glidepath; conversely, a low ball indicated the aircraft was below glidepath. When the ball and the datum lights were aligned horizontally, the aircraft was on glidepath.

Upon the main gears making contact with the landing area, immediately move the throttles to full power in case the arrestor hook misses the wires. This will allow the aircraft enough power to get airborne again.

If the “trap” is successful, retard the throttles to idle, raise the arrestor hook [H], set flaps to AUTO [F] and taxi out of the landing area.

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