Enterprise Completes Flight Deck Certification
Story Number: NNS051024-07
Release Date: 10/24/2005 4:01:00 PM
By Photographer's Mate Airman Apprentice Michael Stokely, USS Enterprise Public Affairs
ABOARD USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Enterprise’s (CVN 65) Air Department completed flight deck certification Oct. 19.
An aircraft carrier must earn the certification before a deployment to prove its readiness, passing multiple tests judged by Commander, Naval Air Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet (AIRLANT).
Air Department had been preparing for flight deck certification since Enterprise entered Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard in Newport News, Va., more than a year ago, according to Master Chief Aviation Boatswain's Mate (AW) Paul Wallace, Air Department’s leading chief petty officer.
“From day one in the yards, we start looking at when we come out,” said Wallace.
Wallace said that upon arrival at the shipyard, Air Department began tearing apart and rebuilding pumps and catapults and sending airmen to other ships to earn qualifications.
“Flight deck certification is a real important part of getting out of the yards,” said Wallace. “After a long lay-up period, our TYCOM (Type Commander), AIRLANT, wants to ensure we have properly trained people and our equipment is up to specifications as far as launching and recovering aircraft and pumping clean, contamination-free fuel to the flight deck to give to the aircraft, so they send a team of inspectors out to our ship.”
The first step after the AIRLANT inspectors arrived was fuel certification. This involves checking all the fuel equipment, service pumps, and purifiers to make sure they run properly. Also, the inspection team checks to ensure there are no leaks in any tanks below decks.
“If there are any leaks or any problems, we have to fix them right then and there, and AIRLANT must assure they are fixed,” said Wallace. Enterprise passed its fuel certification Oct. 18.
Next, AIRLANT began to inspect all flight deck personnel records, ensuring they were qualified to perform their specific jobs.
“Yellow shirts have to be qualified to move aircraft, tractor drivers and chain and chalk walkers have to be qualified, V-2 has to be qualified to man the catapults,” said Wallace.
After all records had been checked, AIRLANT inspectors observed Air Department as it conducted flight operations. The inspection teams also checked all spaces and material conditions. They made sure there was no rust and that PMS (Preventive Maintenance System) procedures were up to date.
The flight operations went well, along with the rest of the flight deck certification process, according to Wallace. “We’re going to pull in with our heads held high. On our first time out after a year of lay-up, we hit it hard and got our flight deck cert. In my opinion, we did it in record time. We’re back in the game again; we’re back out here doing the nation’s work again,” Wallace said.
He also felt that the Sailors and the ships that helped train them played a huge role in Air Department’s success. He thanked USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), USS George Washington (CVN 73), USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), and USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) for helping out.
“The airmen were nothing short of outstanding,” said Wallace. “This is what they’ve been waiting for. Now we’re out here doing what we’re supposed to do - launching and recovering aircraft. We’re doing it and the airmen are happy.”
Wallace believes that Air Department performed exceptionally well in completing flight deck certification. Now that both fuel and flight deck certifications are complete, Air Department’s next big step is to pass Tailored Ship’s Training Availability (TSTA); in which the ship’s crew and the entire air wing will begin working together. Wallace is confident that Air Department will perform just as well as it has been. “We’re ready for TSTA," Wallace said. “TSTA is going to put us at the top of our game,” he said.
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