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USS Lexington CV-2 discovered after 76 years

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This may be of interest as it's maritime history.

Not sailing but the R/V Petrel, owned by Paul Allen discovered the wreck of the USS Lexington on Saturday about 500 miles NE of Australia in 3000 meters of water. Petrel is a 256 foot former "IMR" (inspection, maintenance and repair) vessel which was purchased in 2016 and refit into a research ship with 6,000 meter AUV (autonomous underwater vehicle) and ROV (remotely operated vehicle). 

The "Lady Lex" was one of the first US aircraft carriers and was sunk in the battle of the Coral Sea, an historic engagement, the first naval battle where the surface ships were never in visual range.  Aircraft and torpedos were the cause of her sinking. This battle essentially turned the tide of the Japanese expansion into the Pacific and saw the beginning of US and Allied dominance in the Pacific.

 

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Wow!  The Lady Lex was also the first US carrier to be sunk in World War II.  And while the Battle of the Coral Sea tends to get short shrift versus Midway a mere month later, it was just as important in stymieing the Japanese advance. 

Very cool.  Thanks for sharing.

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1 minute ago, jewingiv said:

Wow! 

my reaction exactly

wow

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Good job Mr. Allen, it's nice to see a Brazilionaire using his money to study innerspace.

 

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That's cool!  The Lexington and Saratoga were the second and third US carriers launched, after the Langley (a converted collier). Launched in 1928, they were the carriers the US Navy learned carrier tactics and flight operations on. 

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Newsreel clip, ablaze and exploding:

  

 

here, top to bottom, are the Lexington, Saratoga, and Langley. About 1929.

 

 

image.jpeg

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Good question. Perhaps that's a landing target to catch the arresting gear?

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13 minutes ago, RKoch said:

Good question. Perhaps that's a landing target to catch the arresting gear?

Did they have arresting gear in those days? Planes back then were rather fragile things, arrester cables might well have ripped the tail off the plane. Biplanes back then probably were still able to fly at 50 knots when landing.

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33 minutes ago, Port Phillip Sailor said:

I'm curious. Looks like bi-planes on the Lexington. but why the painted circles? Helicopters were not around back in the late 20's.

Landing target visual aid   ....guess

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Yes,  Port Phillip,   nearly everything coming aboard a carrier has arresting gear.  Remember the violent 'trapping' of modern planes is a function of their speed - so,  the lighter, smaller,  much slower planes of the past wouldn't have imparted as much energy.

 

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52 minutes ago, Port Phillip Sailor said:

Did they have arresting gear in those days? Planes back then were rather fragile things, arrester cables might well have ripped the tail off the plane. Biplanes back then probably were still able to fly at 50 knots when landing.

Look at the vid in the Carrier Landing thread in GA - they've used hooks from the very beginning.

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18 minutes ago, SloopJonB said:

Look at the vid in the Carrier Landing thread in GA - they've used hooks from the very beginning.

They weren't so much a landing rather than an arrival.

Not all used arrester  gear successfully. The last one didn't, even though they had it.

I note that the Langley was just over half the length of the Lexington.

I remember reading about biplanes in the military back in the 20's that would fly so slow that landing in say 30 knots of wind required only about 50 yards of landing strip. A carrier doing 20 knots into 30 knots of wind means the aircraft could be almost stationary at 50 knots,  over the carrier -  almost hovering. 

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Found this 1928 photo looking for an answer on the circle.   Also,this clip showing how far the navy evolved between 1938 and 1942.

 

CC4A4171-3478-4006-B10F-218530C51C0B.jpeg

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2 minutes ago, kent_island_sailor said:

Landing a C-150 with a STOL kit on an old straight deck carrier going full blast into a decent breeze, I think I could start at the bow and back up into the 3 wire.

lol......

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We sank it btw, the Japanese had damaged it, and to prevent its capture, it was torpedoed by the navy. 

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1 hour ago, kent_island_sailor said:

Landing a C-150 with a STOL kit on an old straight deck carrier going full blast into a decent breeze, I think I could start at the bow and back up into the 3 wire.

In 1942, a RAF Spitfire (no hook, no carrier landing trained pilot) landed on USS Wasp after having fuel supply issues.  Wasp at the time was ferrying the Spitfires to Malta...

http://www.flightjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/No_Tailhook_Spitfire.pdf

 

At the end of the Vietnam War, a South Vietnamese pilot landed a Cessna O-1 Bird Dog on the USS Midway with no hook...

 http://www.navyhistory.org/2014/04/the-opportunity-to-make-history-vietnam-war-heros-flight-to-freedom-remembered/

 

Arresting gear, back in the day of biplanes in particular, was used to shorten the amount of flight deck needed for landing, as after landing, the planes were taxied forward and parked on the forward end of the flight deck (protected by a barricade - there were no touch and goes with aircraft parked forward on a straight deck carrier).  The shorter the landing area, the more planes you could park on deck, therefore the more planes you could cycle (operate) at one time...

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What I find amazing is the lack of marine growth. For 75 years it’s realy clean. Like something we saw in the late 60s on the bottom of the Great Lakes. Now everything is Incased in zebra and quahog mussels. The planes colors are unbelievabley clear. Why? Is the wreck in a Marine desert?

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At the outbreak of US involvement in WW2, the US didn't have much better than biplanes...F-2 Brewster Buffalos. First gen mono wing flown by Navy and Marines. Old and slow. Zeros and Oscars were cutting them up like paper dolls. The British were actually still using biplanes...it was a dozen or so Fairey Swordfish biplane torpedo bombers that damaged Bismarks steering enough that the fleet could close within gun range.

 

image.jpeg

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Fortunately the Navy had given Grumman a contract as a backup to the Brewster Buffalo...so that by the time of Coral Sea, all shipboard Navy fighters were Wildcats.  While still not cutting edge (most Wildcats had hand cranked landing gear) they were far superior to the Buffalo, and their small size made them ideal for operating off the smaller escort carriers even into the end of the war.  Still not as good as the Zero, esp at dogfighting, and didn't have near the range the Zero had.  But with tactics that took advantage of the Wildcat's strengths (Thach weave, etc) , we were able to at least stay "even" until the Hellcat reached the fleet carriers.

Brit's actually replaced the "Stringbag" with a newer biplane design during the War!  I present to you the Albacore...

Image result for fairey albacore

 

Not the the US Navy's Douglas Devastator was much better...they were obsolete by the beginning of the war too...and were shot down in large numbers both at Coral Sea and Midway...

Image result for douglas devastator  

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The legend of the Swordfish attacking the Bismark says that they were flying slower than the anti-aircraft batteries could be trained to...

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55 minutes ago, DRIFTW00D said:

What I find amazing is the lack of marine growth. For 75 years it’s realy clean. Like something we saw in the late 60s on the bottom of the Great Lakes. Now everything is Incased in zebra and quahog mussels. The planes colors are unbelievabley clear. Why? Is the wreck in a Marine desert?

The wreck is 3000m down, according to the OP. Not much grows there and what does,  does it slowly...

Cheers, 

                W.

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WTF are three people crammed into the biplane and the Devastator for?

* I actually got a chance to land on a carrier and chickened out. There was an old straight deck carrier tied up at Mayport and I asked the tower if we could do a touch and go. They replied "go ahead, I don't care". I was *so* tempted, but the Mooney I was flying was about as suited for that task as driving an MG offroad. It sat really low on really stiff landing gear and tended to dart off to the side if not landed perfectly :o That and I figured the tower guy would be replaced by someone who did care if we really tried it :rolleyes:

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Pilot, Radio/Naviguesser, and gunner/observer!

TBF Avenger (which replaced the Devastator) also carried 3, as did the Japanese Kate Torpedo Bomber...

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1 hour ago, Crash said:

In 1942, a RAF Spitfire (no hook, no carrier landing trained pilot) landed on USS Wasp after having fuel supply issues.  Wasp at the time was ferrying the Spitfires to Malta...

http://www.flightjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/No_Tailhook_Spitfire.pdf

 

At the end of the Vietnam War, a South Vietnamese pilot landed a Cessna O-1 Bird Dog on the USS Midway with no hook...

 http://www.navyhistory.org/2014/04/the-opportunity-to-make-history-vietnam-war-heros-flight-to-freedom-remembered/

 

Arresting gear, back in the day of biplanes in particular, was used to shorten the amount of flight deck needed for landing, as after landing, the planes were taxied forward and parked on the forward end of the flight deck (protected by a barricade - there were no touch and goes with aircraft parked forward on a straight deck carrier).  The shorter the landing area, the more planes you could park on deck, therefore the more planes you could cycle (operate) at one time...

Not long after the second Malta ferry trip, the Wasp was transferred to the Pacific as they were running out of carriers. Torpedoed and sunk shortly after. The first of the Essex's weren't commissioned until Dec '42.  Of the US's 8 existing carriers (inc Langley) on Dec 7 '41, only the Saratoga, Ranger, and Enterprise survived the war. Ranger was a poor design, and stayed in the Atlantic until nearly the end of the war. None of the 18 or so Essex's commissioned during the war were lost.

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33 minutes ago, Crash said:

Fortunately the Navy had given Grumman a contract as a backup to the Brewster Buffalo...so that by the time of Coral Sea, all shipboard Navy fighters were Wildcats.  While still not cutting edge (most Wildcats had hand cranked landing gear) they were far superior to the Buffalo, and their small size made them ideal for operating off the smaller escort carriers even into the end of the war.  Still not as good as the Zero, esp at dogfighting, and didn't have near the range the Zero had.  But with tactics that took advantage of the Wildcat's strengths (Thach weave, etc) , we were able to at least stay "even" until the Hellcat reached the fleet carriers.

Brit's actually replaced the "Stringbag" with a newer biplane design during the War!  I present to you the Albacore...

Image result for fairey albacore

 

Not the the US Navy's Douglas Devastator was much better...they were obsolete by the beginning of the war too...and were shot down in large numbers both at Coral Sea and Midway...

Image result for douglas devastator  

The first couple years also had bad torpedoes on bombers and subs. Took a long time for the problems to be identified and fixed. The Japanese had far superior torpedoes. Only real advantage the US had was radar and breaking the Japanese naval code.

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Wasp was a "compromise" design as well.  We had 15,000 tonnes "left over" from the Washington Naval Treaty, and so built Wasp as a smaller Yorktown Class.  She had less power, and most significantly, less armor and no torpedo protection...thus "dooming" her when hit by three torpedo's fired from a Japanese Submarine...

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Grumman did get back into the biplane business:

flat,800x800,070,f.jpg

I have seen these for sale with the hopper removed and replaced with a front cockpit. I so wanted to buy one.

Back to WW II - we learned early on not to dogfight the Japanese. You took a faster better armoured plane and shot at them on the way past :)

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2 hours ago, Firebar said:

The legend of the Swordfish attacking the Bismark says that they were flying slower than the anti-aircraft batteries could be trained to...

And the canvas would not set off the contact fuses on light AA - just a 20mm hole in the wing.

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On October 30, 1960 a Lockheed C-130 Hercules made 20 unarrested full stop landings on USS Forrestal in the North Atlantic off the coast of Massachusetts. Pilot was "Superbagger" Jim Flately who's dad, coincidentally, was the other pilot with Jimmy Thach behind the development of the aformentioned Thach Weave. I think he had to use a  wheelbarrow to transport his cojones out to the airplane on that day. 

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22 hours ago, RKoch said:

Newsreel clip, ablaze and exploding:

  

 

here, top to bottom, are the Lexington, Saratoga, and Langley. About 1929.

 

 

image.jpeg

My father joined the Navy at the end of December 1941 and was posted to the Saratoga (CV3) for the whole duration of the war. The ships were originally designed as a battle cruiser, but was converted to an aircraft carrier mid construction to comply with an international treaty.

 

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4 hours ago, kinardly said:

On October 30, 1960 a Lockheed C-130 Hercules made 20 unarrested full stop landings on USS Forrestal in the North Atlantic off the coast of Massachusetts. Pilot was "Superbagger" Jim Flately who's dad, coincidentally, was the other pilot with Jimmy Thach behind the development of the aformentioned Thach Weave. I think he had to use a  wheelbarrow to transport his cojones out to the airplane on that day. 

I went to Boat School with his son, also named James Flatley (IV)...he to was a fighter pilot (F-14s)

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1 hour ago, 42 South said:

My father joined the Navy at the end of December 1941 and was posted to the Saratoga (CV3) for the whole duration of the war. The ships were originally designed as a battle cruiser, but was converted to an aircraft carrier mid construction to comply with an international treaty.

 

Damn. Your pa saw a hell of a lot of action.

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A buddy of mine is a C-130 pilot. He said they got rejected from carrier ops because they took up too much space on deck.

More carrier trivia - The Navy rounded up civilian owned B-25s for a recreation of the Doolittle raid on Tokyo. Supposedly the only non-military plane  to take off from a carrier. To be fair to the original pilots, the new guys were not loaded with bombs or fuel, so they weren't taking the same risks the original guys did besides for the whole "flying a mission with no clear way to get home" thing. Not that it didn't take balls to do it again with your own expensive airplane on the line B)

 

https://www.warhistoryonline.com/war-articles/in-1992-two-b-25s-took-off-from-a-carrier-once-more-to-remember-the-doolittle-raid.html/2

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Those big, smooth stacks (?) on those two made them look exceptionally modern, almost futuristic for that era - except for the skinny flight decks they would have looked contemporary in the 50's.

image.thumb.png.8f7b7dd55d5c4495c6d420173d8ceb29.png

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5 minutes ago, SloopJonB said:

Those big, smooth stacks (?) on those two made them look exceptionally modern, almost futuristic for that era - except for the skinny flight decks they would have looked contemporary in the 50's.

image.thumb.png.8f7b7dd55d5c4495c6d420173d8ceb29.png

I agree about the stacks, but the gun turrets belie their age - they were built when battleships, not carriers, were still believed to be the core fighting force of a navy.

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3 hours ago, kent_island_sailor said:

A buddy of mine is a C-130 pilot. He said they got rejected from carrier ops because they took up too much space on deck.

More carrier trivia - The Navy rounded up civilian owned B-25s for a recreation of the Doolittle raid on Tokyo. Supposedly the only non-military plane  to take off from a carrier. To be fair to the original pilots, the new guys were not loaded with bombs or fuel, so they weren't taking the same risks the original guys did besides for the whole "flying a mission with no clear way to get home" thing. Not that it didn't take balls to do it again with your own expensive airplane on the line B)

 

https://www.warhistoryonline.com/war-articles/in-1992-two-b-25s-took-off-from-a-carrier-once-more-to-remember-the-doolittle-raid.html/2

Not just B-25s. A Wildcat, SNJ, couple a Corsairs, some Grumman Gooses, a TBF Avenger, and 3 or 4 B-25s

 

 

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2 hours ago, jewingiv said:

I agree about the stacks, but the gun turrets belie their age - they were built when battleships, not carriers, were still believed to be the core fighting force of a navy.

They were equipped with 8" guns when launched, in addition to the 5 Inchers. Shortly before Pearl Harbor the 8" guns were removed, and pretty early in the war a few of the 5" guns were removed and much addition AA weapons added. I think radar was continually upgraded to the latest available. 

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Launches with a minimum fuel load and both forward cats I assume. :D

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Not a carrier takeoff, but they didn't have a catapult either. Back in 2012 a C-17 Globemaster landed by mistake at Peter O'Knight airport, a short private airport in a residential neighborhood, instead of MacDill AFB 4 miles further on. The next day the USAF pumped out excess fuel and brought in a rockstar pilot to get the plane off the short runway. Made it with room to spare.

 

 

 

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wonder what happened to those 2 front seats....I remember when that happened...hard to believe they landed on a 

3,000 ft runway 

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7 hours ago, kent_island_sailor said:

A buddy of mine is a C-130 pilot. He said they got rejected from carrier ops because they took up too much space on deck.

More carrier trivia - The Navy rounded up civilian owned B-25s for a recreation of the Doolittle raid on Tokyo. Supposedly the only non-military plane  to take off from a carrier. To be fair to the original pilots, the new guys were not loaded with bombs or fuel, so they weren't taking the same risks the original guys did besides for the whole "flying a mission with no clear way to get home" thing. Not that it didn't take balls to do it again with your own expensive airplane on the line B)

 

https://www.warhistoryonline.com/war-articles/in-1992-two-b-25s-took-off-from-a-carrier-once-more-to-remember-the-doolittle-raid.html/2

I was on the deck of Ranger off Point Loma that  day, a guest of my next door neighbor who was head of the ship's dental department. You could hear the asses biting the seats over the engine roar. Can't say I blamed 'em. 

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2 hours ago, RKoch said:

Not a carrier takeoff, but they didn't have a catapult either. Back in 2012 a C-17 Globemaster landed by mistake at Peter O'Knight airport, a short private airport in a residential neighborhood, instead of MacDill AFB 4 miles further on. The next day the USAF pumped out excess fuel and brought in a rockstar pilot to get the plane off the short runway. Made it with room to spare.

 

 

In the 90's where I lived, some Delta pilot did that with a 737 full of passengers.  But he decided to just turn around and take off again, without offloading the passengers or anything.  He was in deep enough shit to begin with - can't imagine how he thought that would make it better...     

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I remember a documentary about the Doolittle raid - one of the pilots forgot to put his flaps down and still made it. :o

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On 3/6/2018 at 6:27 PM, 42 South said:

My father joined the Navy at the end of December 1941 and was posted to the Saratoga (CV3) for the whole duration of the war. The ships were originally designed as a battle cruiser, but was converted to an aircraft carrier mid construction to comply with an international treaty.

 

My Dad was a shipmate of your father in Saratoga (CV3) during WWII.  He was an Aviation Ordnanceman.  He didn't talk about it much, but did recount fighting the fires on the flight deck during the Kamikazi attacks in the Battle of Iwo Jima.  I have his Sara Cruise Book from the war.

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14 hours ago, SailBlueH2O said:

wonder what happened to those 2 front seats....I remember when that happened...hard to believe they landed on a 

3,000 ft runway 

Couple runs through a washing machine should get the piss and shit out of the covers but the cushions are probably FUBAR.

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Piedmont Airlines did the same thing landing at a wrong and very tight airport. They had to bus the passengers out and remove the seats from the airplane and defuel it IIRC. In defense of the pilots, it was a "whistle stop" airport they did not normally land at, but would if the gate agent radioed there was someone waiting for a ride. They said they realized it was the wrong one on short final, but it was dark and they did not know what terrain or obstacles were ahead of them so they landed anyway.

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On 3/6/2018 at 8:58 AM, DRIFTW00D said:

What I find amazing is the lack of marine growth. For 75 years it’s realy clean. Like something we saw in the late 60s on the bottom of the Great Lakes. Now everything is Incased in zebra and quahog mussels. The planes colors are unbelievabley clear. Why? Is the wreck in a Marine desert?

It IS amazing how little growth there is...

 

5aa13f5998143_LexingtonPic1.thumb.jpg.5329b41ab6ff35f7706d286dd152dd1a.jpg

https://usslexington.com

I was next-door neighbors with the owner of the company that renovated and "sunk" her in her current position. I was lucky enough to get several tours through the ship before she was opened to the public. Very interesting to hear the stories by the project manager of going thru some of the passageways and compartments and hearing and seeing some VERY strange things...

Also watched the USS Oriskany get sanitized before her last journey to Florida for her sinking...

 

TT

 

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On 3/6/2018 at 6:58 AM, DRIFTW00D said:

What I find amazing is the lack of marine growth. For 75 years it’s realy clean. Like something we saw in the late 60s on the bottom of the Great Lakes. Now everything is Incased in zebra and quahog mussels. The planes colors are unbelievabley clear. Why? Is the wreck in a Marine desert?

At 3000 meters depth there is very little oxygen and the water is about 1 degree C. There is very little growth or rust at depths below about 2000 meters.  When the Indianapolis was found (at 5000 meters) there were boxes on the seafloor clearly marked with "CA 35" "Indianapolis" and part numbers for the spare parts inside. The most amazing shot to me was of the anchor palm where you can read the stamping in the steel.

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Tonka Toy, uh no, that would be a different Lexington than the subject of this post.  The clue would be the A-3 Skywarrior on the bow of the photo you posted.  Don't recall those in WWII. 

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On semi-related tangent, I recently read a book about the (privately funded) search for the USS Grunion, a WW2 sub that went "missing, presumed lost" off the Aleutians.

Interesting read, and good for the family that they finally got to know what happened to her.

https://www.amazon.com/Fatal-Dive-Solving-Mystery-Grunion-ebook/dp/B008FJW8IK/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1520533591&sr=8-3&keywords=grunion

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6 hours ago, kent_island_sailor said:

Piedmont Airlines did the same thing landing at a wrong and very tight airport. They had to bus the passengers out and remove the seats from the airplane and defuel it IIRC. In defense of the pilots, it was a "whistle stop" airport they did not normally land at, but would if the gate agent radioed there was someone waiting for a ride. They said they realized it was the wrong one on short final, but it was dark and they did not know what terrain or obstacles were ahead of them so they landed anyway.

Just the thought that they would commence a night approach without knowing the minimum maneuvering altitude for the surrounding area frightening. I’d have to think a straight ahead MA and climb would be safer than committing to an uncleared night landing at an uncontrolled airfield. 

As to the C-17, impressive short field capabilities when empty and low fuel weight. I’d spend more time tweaking the Fuel control computers to get max egt than worrying about the pilots. I’d put them in a sim and work on short field takeoffs a few dozen times. Keep drag off the airplane on a cell, get the wheels off the deck, set max angle of climb deck angle for 15 seconds and be gone.  Physics trump SH skill most days. 

Then again, I sat about 3’ above the runway at El Paso for a lot longer than I wanted one hot day in a TA-4 while I tried to milk some acceleration out of a weak J-52. Too low to put the gear back down. Too slow to climb out of ground effect. Mountain off the end of the runway getting bigger.  Learned a lot about density altitude that day. We learn from dumb things that we survive. Old got a credit back from bold that day but not by much. 

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17 hours ago, Foxtrot Corpen said:

My Dad was a shipmate of your father in Saratoga (CV3) during WWII.  He was an Aviation Ordnanceman.  He didn't talk about it much, but did recount fighting the fires on the flight deck during the Kamikazi attacks in the Battle of Iwo Jima.  I have his Sara Cruise Book from the war.

Pop was pretty much the opposite - he could recall every detail of what happened in those years and loved telling stories, but events that happened after the war faded into memory. The ship called into Hobart Tasmania on one occasion for shore leave and also spent some time in Sydney as well. It was there that Pop ended up finding a wife and after the war left the US to live here in Australia.

Towards the end of his life he threw out all of his photos and war memorabilia including his dress uniform - I have the impression now that he suffered a bit from depression and never really found his place in the world after WW2. We also have a copy of the Sara story which is good read.

Towards the end of the war they spent a bit of time on assignment with the British navy and were based around India I think - he didn't have much regard for the poms.

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22 hours ago, Stinger1 said:

Tonka Toy, uh no, that would be a different Lexington than the subject of this post.  The clue would be the A-3 Skywarrior on the bow of the photo you posted.  Don't recall those in WWII. 

Oh, I'm aware of that. Was just poking a bit of humor there. The one permanently moored in Corpus Christi Bay is (I think) the second USS Lexington. She was under construction at the time the one found recently was sunk. She was re-named USS Lexington and sent out. The Japanese swore that they had sunk her and nicknamed her the "Blue Ghost"...

I may have some of my facts wrong (probably do). Most of this info is available on the link I posted for the USS Lexington on the Bay Museum.

Interesting side note: the B-25 carrier launch scenes in the movie Pearl Harbor were filmed on the Lex here in Corpus. Was on North Beach and watched them take off from the deck, it was a typical Corpus day, ie. blowing ~15-20 knots. In the original theater cut of the film, you could see the condominiums on Padre Island and several of the channel markers in the bay. Oops... 

There was also a documentary of one of the Pacific air battles (on Hiatory Channel when they still did real history shows) that used the Lex as a backdrop. Watched the dogfight sequences (again on North beach) between a Zero clone and an F-4U Corsair for about 45 minutes. The Corsair at mostly full song was quite impressive...

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18 hours ago, Innocent Bystander said:

Just the thought that they would commence a night approach without knowing the minimum maneuvering altitude for the surrounding area frightening. I’d have to think a straight ahead MA and climb would be safer than committing to an uncleared night landing at an uncontrolled airfield. 

As to the C-17, impressive short field capabilities when empty and low fuel weight. I’d spend more time tweaking the Fuel control computers to get max egt than worrying about the pilots. I’d put them in a sim and work on short field takeoffs a few dozen times. Keep drag off the airplane on a cell, get the wheels off the deck, set max angle of climb deck angle for 15 seconds and be gone.  Physics trump SH skill most days. 

Then again, I sat about 3’ above the runway at El Paso for a lot longer than I wanted one hot day in a TA-4 while I tried to milk some acceleration out of a weak J-52. Too low to put the gear back down. Too slow to climb out of ground effect. Mountain off the end of the runway getting bigger.  Learned a lot about density altitude that day. We learn from dumb things that we survive. Old got a credit back from bold that day but not by much. 

This was in the pre-GPS days. The airport they though they were landing at wasn't very far away, but they saw this one first and it had lights and a runway - had to be it :rolleyes:  A long time ago Piedmont had a stop with no VOR nor an NDB, but there was an AM station near the airport. The pilots were required to confirm with the ground crew what song/ad/whatever was playing on the station and then they would use it for their approach.

I used to jumpseat a lot on a couple of airlines and they NEVER had sectionals out, not sure if they even had them around. They would be looking at Jeppesen IFR charts that left off a lot of details including some small airports.

All that said I would have gone around probably if it were me, but maybe they were afraid it was one of those places the locals all know you have to do a hard turn right off the runway to avoid the tall tower on the big hill that has no lights :o
 

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My understanding is most of the VF-3 pilots returned safely and made it off the carrier.   Lot of men of distinction in that squadron.  Call sign F-13 was apparently the plane of ace and MOH recipient Ed O'Hare.  You may have flown into the airport that bears his name.  LT Noel Gayler also flew in that squadron, and went on to have a pretty solid Naval and intelligence career. Plus a mess full of admirals and captains. 

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4 hours ago, kent_island_sailor said:

This was in the pre-GPS days. The airport they though they were landing at wasn't very far away, but they saw this one first and it had lights and a runway - had to be it :rolleyes:  A long time ago Piedmont had a stop with no VOR nor an NDB, but there was an AM station near the airport. The pilots were required to confirm with the ground crew what song/ad/whatever was playing on the station and then they would use it for their approach.

I used to jumpseat a lot on a couple of airlines and they NEVER had sectionals out, not sure if they even had them around. They would be looking at Jeppesen IFR charts that left off a lot of details including some small airports.

All that said I would have gone around probably if it were me, but maybe they were afraid it was one of those places the locals all know you have to do a hard turn right off the runway to avoid the tall tower on the big hill that has no lights :o
 

Flew my solo student IFR XC, out and in into El Paso one mid summer afternoon in a TA4. There was a huge gaggle of AF students in T-38s flying group XCs from, I don't know, Randolph, Laughlin or Kelly completely overwhelming the ATC controller who was directing everyone to perform VFR straight in approaches. It was getting late when I arrived cuz I was supposed to return to Kingsville after nightfall and the combination of sun setting behind the mountains to the west and all the dust in the air made finding the field difficult. One student landed at an Army Airfield to the north and was jamming the tower frequency warning off his compatriots who were making low approaches trying to follow him in. Then another T38 pilot couldn't see the runway on roundout, flared early, dropped hard to the  deck,  broke his mainmounts and shut down on the taxi throat exiting the lone runway and nobody could taxi around him. As it is, I was barely able to get landing clearance from the tower before I would have had to wave off and go around. That would have made it even more interesting. 

Stuff happens when you aren't prepared for the transition from IFR to VFR. I never saw a sectional in my life until I got out of the Navy and started flying around in Cessnas and Pipers. We were always IFR unless using weapons ranges or published low level routes and for that we used USGS Topos .  

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On 3/6/2018 at 3:06 PM, kinardly said:

On October 30, 1960 a Lockheed C-130 Hercules made 20 unarrested full stop landings on USS Forrestal in the North Atlantic off the coast of Massachusetts. Pilot was "Superbagger" Jim Flately who's dad, coincidentally, was the other pilot with Jimmy Thach behind the development of the aformentioned Thach Weave. I think he had to use a  wheelbarrow to transport his cojones out to the airplane on that day. 

Just because words don't quite describe it enough.  It should be noted that they were upping his payload until he was a 100,000lb aircraft, which was 3x the amount of crap a COD could carry.  It's like watching a hippo on it's hind legs perform ballet.

Should be noted that most COD's didn't stay on the carrier, they dropped off their crap and flew back to whichever mainland base they were stationed at.  My cousin spent 20yrs in the USN, most of them flying Greyhounds, and he was adamant that it was one of the best flying gigs in the Navy, after 20yrs flying onto carriers he had a ridiculously short amount of sea time.

 

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All well and good but the cover photo on that video isn't real and the aircraft isn't a C-130. Looks like a C-17 photoshopped on a photo showing a flight deck handler giving the spread wings signal prior to launch. 

The video itself is real though,  ---    and impressive. Like I said, he had to use a wheelbarrow.

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The problem being that IF the C-130 had a maintenance issue after it landed, that prevented it from taking off again, then the Flight Deck was clobbered and totally shut down.  Its the same reason (magnified 10x) that Air Bosses and the Handler sweated the CH-53s...if that went down on deck, the large non-folding rotor blades meant you had a real aircraft spotting and handling nightmare on your hands...

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