Monday, November 03, 2014

F-35C Makes First Carrier Traps

Hat Tip:  'Raptor_Claw' at

Today, the first two carrier landings by F-35Cs were accomplished. One more check box checked.
The first trap (landing, catching the cross deck pendant, or 'wire') caught the 3rd (of 4) wires --exactly as it is preferred.

U.S. Navy Video:

Screen captures from this event show some interesting things going on. I'd say the pilot positioned the jet about as well as any man or UAV software could have done it. The objective is to catch the '3- Wire', and the optimal touchdown area is 95%+ between the 2nd and 3rd wire. The pilot could not have bought hardly any more area to measure hook behaviors after touch down:

F-35C First Carrier Landing Pic 1

Notice the main wheels are not yet touching the deck (you can see the stripe in the middle still under the left main tire).

F-35C First Carrier Landing Pic 2
Here the wheels are just beginning to touch the deck but are not showing signs of weight on the wheels. It looks like the first curls of tire smoke are starting to come up.

F-35C First Carrier Landing Pic 3

This screen cap is just (barely) after the previous one, A little more tire smoke, and the weight is not yet on the wheels very much. The tailhook is about even with the 2-Wire.

F-35C First Carrier Landing Pic 4
Weight is coming on to the wheels now and it appears the hook is down on the deck as well. Notice the 2-Wire in the center where the hook went over/across. It appears the hook bottom may have hit the wire top, or at the most barely nicked the wire. I think it hit the top because of what we see in the next screen cap.

F-35C First Carrier Landing Pic 5
There is a lot going on in this picture. The hook is about to engage the 3-Wire. The nose gear is still in the air and the 'mains' have run over the 3-Wire: you can see the wave in the pendant propagating outward. Now look back at the 2-Wire. It has very a slight displacement forward that has propagated outward (compare to previous pic) , but is laying flatter than I would expect if the hook had impacted it directly. I guess we might find out someday.

A Good Day for the Program, the Navy, and the Taxpayer eh?

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