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GW Jump Starts with Flight Deck Qualifications

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070920-13
Release Date: 9/20/2007 1:25:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jennifer Apsey, USS George Washington Public Affairs

USS GEORGE WASHINGTON, At Sea (NNS) -- After more than a year of silence on the flight deck, the roar of jet engines filled the air and rumbled throughout USS George Washington (CVN 73).

GW Sailors took the first step towards flight deck certification Sept. 18, 2007 when an F/A-18 Super Hornet from VFA-143 “Pukin’ Dogs” from Naval Air Station Oceana successfully made the first landing onboard.

“Flight operations are a very important part of getting flight deck-certified and getting our ship out there to defend our country,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 2nd Class (AW) Joseph Dennison of Air Department’s V-0 Division. “Right now they are assessing the arresting gear personnel and the aircraft handling teams.”

The evolution required the hard work of many individuals from the ship’s Air Department and six attached squadrons. Sailors were busy throughout the day’s flight operations -- whether handling, refueling, or ensuring aircraft landed properly.

Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Equipment) 1st Class (AW) Marcus Burgess of Air Department’s V-2 division said GW Sailors were ready for the task at hand, as training and safety are a priority for the Sailors of Air Department.

“There were all kinds of training in preparation for flight certification,” Burgess said. “We did everything from flight deck drills to sending personnel to other carriers to get qualifications.”

During GW’s recent availability at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, several upgrades were implemented to assure flight deck landing safety. All five arresting gear engines were completely repaired from top to bottom and more than 1,000 maintenance actions were performed on flight deck equipment.

“The purchase cables used to catch the aircraft are good for 2,000 traps,” Burgess said. “We replace the cables once they reach the limit or when they are damaged beyond repair.”

Dennison said GW will perform more than 100 traps for carrier qualifications.

“It went fairly well for the first day,” Dennison said. “This underway period is a real big step in the history of GW.”

GW is currently underway performing carrier qualifications and flight deck certification the first step in preparation to relieve USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) as the Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier, homeported in Yokosuka, Japan.

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