Kitty Hawk Records 400,000th Trap; CAG Hits 1,000
Story Number: NNS070925-14
Release Date: 9/25/2007 4:13:00 PM
By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Joseph A. Vernola, USS Kitty Hawk Strike Group
USS KITTY HAWK, At Sea (NNS) -- An E/A-6B Prowler from Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 136 became the 400,000th aircraft to land on USS Kitty Hawk’s (CV 63) flight deck Sept. 8.
Capt. Michael McNellis, commander of Carrier Air Wing 5 (CVW-5), piloted the Prowler for the historic landing, which is known as a trap. This was also McNellis’s 1,000th career trap.
“The fact that the Kitty Hawk’s 400,000th trap coincided with my 1,000th trap obviously makes it a pretty special event for me,” said McNellis, the Air Wing’s most senior aviator.
There was another unique aspect about this arrested landing: the most junior aviator was also part of the four-person crew. Lt. j.g. Erik Halvorson was grateful for the chance to make this particular trap even more memorable for CVW-5.
“I was honored to be a part of such a historic accomplishment,” said Halvorson. “It's a testament to all the hard-working Sailors keeping the Kitty Hawk flying over all these years.”
Below the flight deck Aviation Boatswain’s Mates (Equipment) Airmen Quinncell Brady, Jeonathan Zapata and Marquis Trahan manned the arresting gear room for the historic trap.
Kitty Hawk is only the third Navy aircraft carrier to have more than 400,000 carrier landings, and is the only carrier still in commission to surpass the number.
“Many people do not understand the amount of work it takes to make just one arrested landing happen on board an aircraft carrier,” said McNellis. “It involves incredibly hard work from quite a few people. It’s a remarkable event made possible only by the tremendous efforts of the entire crew of the USS Kitty Hawk and Carrier Air Wing 5 team.”
“This is a big accomplishment,” said Zapata. “I never thought I would be part of history, this is something I can tell my kids about when I get older.”
“This is a big accomplishment. But it’s right back to work,” said Brady.
“The fact that we in the U.S. Navy do this and do it well combined with the reality that this historic milestone was reached in the middle of a standard day of flight operations, highlights the routine nature of this event and I believe it says a lot about how we conduct this business of carrier aviation,” said McNellis.
The other two carriers with more than 400,000 traps are USS Lexington (CV 16) with 483,663 traps and USS Independence (CV 62) with 482,570. The next closest is USS Enterprise (CVN 65) with 381,951 as of July 31.
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