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Big E's Air Department Drills to Ensure Safe Landings

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050811-01
Release Date: 8/11/2005 12:43:00 PM

By Journalist 3rd Class Christopher Pumphrey, USS Enterprise Public Affairs

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- USS Enterprise's (CVN 65) Air Department conducted routine drills to ensure mission readiness Aug. 2 while preparing to depart the Northrop Grumman shipyards in Newport News, Va.

The purpose of air department’s drills is to ensure the safe launch and recovery of aircraft on the flight deck, as Lt. Cmdr. Christopher Glanzmann, an air department division officer, explained.

“During drills, we train for different emergencies that could occur during flight operations. For example, if we were unable to lower a jet blast deflector, we have an emergency procedure for that. If a pilot were to expect a problem with landing, we set up the barricade, and we also have MOVLAS (Manually Operated Visual Landing Aide System), which is basically another set of lights that the pilots can use for landing. Basically, we’re getting the planes off the deck and getting them back here safely so they can do their mission.”

“We have to be able to respond immediately if these things happen,” explained Glanzmann. “It’s a crowded area up on the flight deck, and everyone needs to know where to go and what to do.”

Air department has to make sure the Sailors on the flight deck know exactly what to do and how to do it, so that when the stress levels go up, the planes can come down safely.

That’s a lot of responsibility, placed upon relatively junior Sailors.

“Most of our junior Sailors working up on that flight deck are 18 to 21 years old, and they’re the ones directing the planes. A lot of them are sitting in pretty advanced positions,” Glanzmann explained. “The pilots trust us with their lives. We’re training, preparing, and qualifying our Sailors properly, so everything can go smoothly.”


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