Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Fw: TheList 4860

The List 4860 TGB

To All
A bit of history and some tidbits.
This Day in Naval History
Nov. 14
1864—During the Civil War, Acting Master Lothrop Wight and Acting Ensign Frederick W. Mintzer explore Confederate naval dispositions above Dutch Gap on James River, VA. Work on the Dutch Gap would allow Union gunboats to bypass the obstructions at Trent's Reach. Wight and Mintzer provide valuable information regarding the positions of the Confederate ships and troops.
1906—President Theodore Roosevelt becomes the first President to visit a foreign country while in office, traveling to Panama aboard USS Louisiana (BB 19).
1910—Civilian Eugene Ely pilots the first aircraft to take off from a warship, USS Birmingham (CL 2) at Hampton Roads, VA. He lands safely on Willoughby Spit, Norfolk, VA.
1943—USS Narwhal (SS 167) delivers 46 tons of ammunition and stores, disembarks a Navy officer at Nasipit, Mindanao and embarks 32 evacuees, which include eight women, two children, and a baby, who are transported to Darwin, Australia.
1944—USS Jack (SS 259) attacks a Japanese convoy off Cape Padaran, French Indochina and sinks the freighter Hinaga Maru, while USS Raton (SS 270) attacks a Japanese convoy off the northwest coast of Luzon and sinks the merchant tanker No.5 Unkai Maru. Lastly, USS Ray (SS 271) sinks Japanese Coast Defense Vessel No.7 65 miles northwest of Cape Bolinao. 
Executive Summary:
Top national headlines include coverage of first lady Melania Trump's public statement that deputy national security advisor Mira Ricardel should be removed from serving the White House, a possible runoff election in Georgia's unsettled governor race, and a lawsuit filed by CNN against the White House for reporter access. The U.S. and Brunei began their 24th CARAT exercise on Monday reports the Scoop. "Our combined ability to effectively operate out at sea in any maritime environment demonstrates our rapidly growing partnership and unwavering commitment to ensuring freedom of navigation and respect for international law," Rear Adm. Joey Tynch said in a statement on the exercise. CBS News profiled Capt. Amy Bauernschmidt, the first woman in Navy history to hold the title of XO onboard a nuclear aircraft carrier, and USNI News reports that a capability overhaul plan for the amphibious force is being considered.

Today in History November 14

Arthur Tudor of England marries Katherine of Aragon.

As Napoleon Bonaparte's army retreats form Moscow, temperatures drop to 20 degrees below zero.

Herman Melville's novel Moby Dick is published in New York.

Billy Clairborne, a survivor of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, loses his life in a shoot-out with Buckskin Frank Leslie.

Albert Einstein presents his quantum theory of light.

Lieutenant Eugene Ely, U.S. Navy, becomes the first man to take off in an airplane from the deck of a ship. He flew from the ship Birmingham at Hampton Roads to Norfolk.

The Cherokee Indians ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review their claim to 1 million acres of land in Texas.

The British Broadcasting Company (BBC) begins the first daily radio broadcasts from Marconi House.

Right-wing militarists in Japan attempt to assassinate Premier Hamagushi.

Manuel Luis Quezon is sworn in as the first Filipino president, as the Commonwealth of the Philippines is inaugurated.

German bombers devastate Coventry in Great Britain, killing 1,000 in the worst air raid of the war.

The United States and Yugoslavia sign a military aid pact.

French paratroopers capture Hoa Binh, Vietnam.

New Orleans integrates two all-white schools.

President Dwight Eisenhower orders U.S. naval units into the Caribbean after Guatemala and Nicaragua charge Castro with starting uprisings.

President Kennedy increases the number of American advisors in Vietnam from 1,000 to 16,000.

Iceland gets a new island when a volcano pushes its way up out of the sea five miles off the southern coast.

Greece frees hundreds who were jailed in the Communist uprising of 1944-1950.

The U.S. First Cavalry Division battles with the North Vietnamese Army in the Ia Drang Valley, the first ground combat for American troops.

Yale University announces its plan to go co-ed.

The United States launches Apollo 12, the second mission to the Moon, from Cape Kennedy.

US President Jimmy Carter freezes all Iranian assets in the United States in response to Iranian militants holding more than 50 Americans hostage.

Lech Walesa, leader of Poland's outlawed Solidarity movement, is released by communist authorities after 11 months confinement; he would win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983 and be elected Poland's president in 1990.

The Space Shuttle Discovery's crew rescues a second satellite.

Poland and the Federal Republic of Germany sign a treaty officially making the Oder-Neisse line the border between their countries.

Budget standoff between Democrats and Republicans in the US Congress forces temporary closure of national parks and museums; federal agencies forced to operate with skeleton staff.

Northern Alliance fighters take control of Afghanistan's capital, Kabul.

First G-20 economic summit convenes, in Washington, DC.

Israel launches Operation Pillar of Defense against the Hamas-governed Gaza Strip.
thanks to Doctor Rich 
Thanks to Red ….
Don't think we need any more "features" … thank you!!
Boeing Withheld Information on 737 Model, According to Safety Experts and Others
Data related to a new flight-control "feature" suspected of playing a role in crash in Indonesia 
Andy Pasztor and 
Andrew Tangel Nov. 12, 2018 11:16 p.m. ET 
Boeing withheld information about potential hazards associated with a new flight-control feature suspected of playing a role in last month's fatal Lion Air jet crash, according to safety experts involved in the investigation, as well as midlevel FAA officials and airline pilots.
 The automated stall-prevention system on Boeing 737 MAX 8 and MAX 9 models—intended to help cockpit crews avoid mistakenly raising a plane's nose dangerously high—under unusual conditions can push it down unexpectedly and so strongly that flight crews can't pull it back up. Such a scenario, Boeing told airlines in a world-wide safety bulletin roughly a week after the accident, can result in a steep dive or crash—even if pilots are manually flying the jetliner and don't expect flight-control computers to kick in.
 That warning came as a surprise to many pilots who fly the latest models for U.S carriers. Safety experts involved in and tracking the investigation said that at U.S. carriers, neither airline managers nor pilots had been told such a system had been added to the latest 737 variant—and therefore aviators typically weren't prepared to cope with the possible risks.
 "It's pretty asinine for them to put a system on an airplane and not tell the pilots who are operating the airplane, especially when it deals with flight controls," said Capt. Mike Michaelis, chairman of the safety committee for the Allied Pilots Association, which represents about 15,000 American Airlines pilots. "Why weren't they trained on it?"
 One Federal Aviation Administration manager familiar with the details said the new flight-control systems weren't highlighted in any training materials or during lengthy discussions between carriers and regulators about phasing in the latest 737 derivatives.
 Boeing declined to immediately answer specific questions Monday. "We are taking every measure to fully understand all aspects of this incident, working closely with the investigating team and all regulatory authorities involved," the company said in a statement. "We are confident in the safety of the 737 MAX."
 On Monday, an FAA statement reiterated that the agency had mandated flight manual changes to emphasize proper pilot responses to the new flight-control systems. "The FAA will take further action if findings from the accident investigation warrant," the statement noted, but declined to comment further.
 Boeing marketed the MAX 8 partly by telling customers it wouldn't need pilots to undergo additional simulator training beyond that already required for older versions, according to industry and government officials. One high-ranking Boeing official said the company had decided against disclosing more details to cockpit crews due to concerns about inundating average pilots with too much information—and significantly more technical data—than they needed or could digest. 
 Minutes after takeoff from Jakarta in good weather, Lion Air Flight 610 experienced problems with airspeed indicators and a related system that feeds data to computers about the angle of the nose. The crash killed all 189 people on board.
 Investigators haven't described the precise sequence of events that caused the twin-engine jet to plummet into the Java Sea at a steep angle and high speed. But Indonesian authorities already have called for stepped-up pilot training and suggested they are delving into design issues. In the U.S. at least, substantial training changes will have to wait until new flight simulators are delivered to carriers.
 The focus of the probe is shifting away from its early emphasis on individual system malfunctions and suspected pilot mistakes, according to people tracking developments. 
Instead, these people said, U.S. and Indonesian crash investigators increasingly are delving into the way the MAX 8's automated flight-control systems interact with each other, and how rigorously the FAA and Boeing analyzed potential hazards in the event some of them malfunction and feed incorrect or unreliable data to the plane's computers. Swiftly turning off the automated feature is the solution in such cases. 
 Earlier 737 versions have different stall-protection systems, that don't automatically drive down the nose even when other functions of the plane's autopilot are turned off. Yet operation of those older systems was highlighted in training over the years, and pilots had to memorize steps to counteract potentially dangerous unintended consequences. MAX 8 training materials don't include a requirement to memorize the steps to turn off the stall-protection system.
 Stepped-up scrutiny of the latest 737 MAX features applies to more than 200 of the models that have been delivered to customers around the world, including Southwest Airlines, American Airlines and United Airlines. Boeing's 737 factory near Seattle currently churns out 52 planes a month.
 "We're pissed that Boeing didn't tell the companies and the pilots didn't get notice obviously, as well," said Capt. Jon Weaks, president of Southwest Airlines Co.'s pilot union. "But what we need now make sure there is nothing else Boeing has not told the companies or the pilots."
 Like Mr. Weaks, some FAA managers and industry officials aren't satisfied with what they contend is Boeing's belated candor.
 Boeing is working on a software fix, according to industry and government officials, that would likely mitigate risks. On Saturday, the company went further than before in spelling out dangers pilots can face if they misinterpret or respond too slowly to counter automated commands.
 In a message sent to all 737 operators, and reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, the Chicago plane maker explained in painstaking detail the engineering principles and operational parameters behind the latest automation.
 That message was more detailed than the bulletin Boeing voluntarily issued earlier, alerting pilots about the potential hazard—and touching off debate over the stall-prevention system's design. Within hours, the FAA followed up with its emergency directive mandating changes in flight manuals.
 Such interim efforts "are very appropriate in the near term to increase pilot awareness," said John Cox, a former 737 pilot and ex-crash investigator for North America's largest pilots union who now consults on safety for carriers and business aviation.
 Boeing's latest communications with airlines prompted American's union to alert its members. "This is the first description you, as 737 pilots, have seen," the union pointedly told pilots in a memo, referring to the 737 MAX stall-prevention system. Noting the system wasn't mentioned in American Airlines' or Boeing manuals, the union memo added: "It will be soon."
 The ultimate way to counteract dangerous automated nose-down commands is basically the same for old and new systems, though checklists and procedures for the 737 MAX 8 entail more steps and take more time. Investigators and safety experts are convinced that as the emergency worsened, the Lion Air crew had barely seconds in which they could have diagnosed the problem and taken action to save the aircraft.
 Shortly before the plane crashed, according to local Indonesian media reports, one of the pilots told air-traffic controllers about difficulties controlling the plane.

Frank B. Wright

[So, there is no "Autopilot Disconnect" switch on the control wheel? … why not?]
Piano black keys
thanks to Doctor Rich 

What more is there to be said......WOW!

...SUPERB!  Absolutely superb!  This is just wondrous!

At Carnegie Hall, gospel singer Wintley Phipps delivers perhaps the most powerful rendition of Amazing Grace ever recorded. He says, "A lot of people don't realize that just about all Negro spirituals are written on the black notes of the piano. Probably the most famous on this slave scale was written by John Newton, who used to be the captain of a slave ship, and many believe he heard this melody that sounds very much like a West African sorrow chant. And it has a haunting, haunting plaintive quality to it that reaches past your arrogance, past your pride, and it speaks to that part of you that's in bondage. And we feel it. We feel it. It's just one of the most amazing melodies in all of human history." After sharing the noteworthy history of the song, Mr. Phipps delivers a stirring performance that brings the audience to its feet! 
Add 7 magnificent minutes to your life; watch and l listen to this.
Thanks to Bill
LCDR James J. Connell was awarded the "Order of the First State" by Governor Carney of Delaware on Veterans Day at a ceremony commemorating his steadfast behavior while being held captive by the North Vietnamese who were instrumental in his death. This is the highest award a state can confer on an individual. Connell was an A-4 pilot in VA-55 on the USS RANGER who flew 'Iron Hand ' missions. On July 15, 1966 he was shot down after delivering a shrike missile to a site that was firing on him during his 'bug out' from protecting a large strike in which he also fired a shrike at a SAM site. Anyway if you view 'Town Square Delaware" and 'Delaware online ' -Nov12- you will be sufficiently apprised of the event.   Perhaps, a word or two could be said on your page. Thanks Bill Coll CDR. USN.-ret. 
Thanks to Mike
Landing Signal Officer ROBIN M. LINDSEY
On October 26, 1942, at a crucial stage in the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands
and the war in the Pacific, Lt. Robin Lindsey, USN gave a masterful performance
that remains unparalleled in Navy history. Through his efforts, irreplaceable
aviators and aircraft survived to later have a major role in winning the war.
Although he was an experienced naval aviator, what he did that day was not
accomplished in aerial combat. Instead, while standing on a small exposed
platform at the aft, port corner of the flight deck of the USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6)
he used signal paddles to direct an unusually large number of aircraft to safety.
During the battle, the ENTERPRISE's sister ship, the USS HORNET (CV-8)
sustained severe damage which ultimately proved fatal. Unable to retrieve her
airborne aircraft, their pilots were instructed to try to land onboard ENTERPRISE.
However, ENTERPRISE, fondly called the Big E by her crew had also been
badly damaged. As the HORNET's orphaned air group approached at midday,
the Big E...still on fire...was zigzagging at high speed to avoid enemy bombs and
torpedoes. Those desperate but ultimately successful maneuvers delayed
recovery of a number of aircraft woefully short of fuel. But by the end of the day,
the majority of both carriers' pilots and their aircraft had been saved.
It all started shortly after sunrise on Monday, October 26, 1942. Both American
and Japanese carrier-based aircraft attacked. Hits were scored by both sides.
ENTERPRISE suffered damage from three bomb explosions [see drawing,
below, showing locations].Hit #1 was just a glancing blow and
did relatively little damage to the forward, port corner of the
ENTERPRISE's flight deck. Hit #2 struck squarely on the ship's
centerline, just aft of aircraftelevator number one. A bomb
penetrated into the hangar bay and exploded there, causing additional
explosions and large fires in numerous compartments. Plus, it
destroyed aircraft elevator number one's machinery while the lift was
in its down position, leaving a huge opening [right] in the flight deck.
The third hit was on the starboard side, near aircraft elevator number two. It
created additional serious damage and fires. As a result, the adjacent aircraft
elevator became stuck in the down position. That left the ENTERPRISE with just
one operable elevator. But it was elevator number 3, located far aft, which could
not be utilized while aircraft were landing [see elevators' locations, below].
3 2 1
With fires still raging forward and amidships, and with her flight deck cluttered
with aircraft that had previously landed, ENTERPRISE turned into the wind to
recover additional aircraft. Despite sporadic Japanese attacks, the crew of the
Big E worked desperately to save as many pilots and aircraft as possible.
While aircraft could ultimately be replaced if they ran out of gas and were forced
to ditch in the open sea, the loss of experienced combat pilots that might be
injured, or killed during such dangerous events was a matter of great
concern...especially to those pilots still aloft!
Shortly after noon that day,Robin Lindsey, the ship's
Landing Signal Officer (LSO) took up position on his small
platform which was suspended over the side of the ship from
the aft, port corner of the flight deck. With a windscreen and an
assistant at his back, and open netting below his case
he had to dive out of the way of any errant aircraft...he swung
into action. Equipped with only a set of brightly colored signaling 'paddles', the talented naval
officer, later heralded as 'The Best Damn Waver in the Fleet' skillfully directed
dozens of aircraft to make arrested landings on an incredibly crowded flight deck.
Each aircraft that Robin Lindsey safely directed onboard the Big E caught one of
the wires stretched across the stern portion of the carrier's flight deck.
Desperate pilots nursing aircraft whose fuel gauges sometimes registered below
empty approached the stern of the carrier separated by distances much less than
authorized under normal conditions. Undaunted, Robin Lindsey lined them up
one by one, waving them safely onto the deck to be trapped [naval aviator
jargon] before turning to help the next one...already on final approach.
It was controlled chaos. When it was all over the damaged flight deck of
ENTERPRISE was crowded with 95 aircraft that had been originally embarked in
both carriers. A number of other aircraft were in the Big E's hangar bay; some of
them destroyed or damaged during the enemy bomb hits suffered that morning.
Only one plane made less than a normal landing. A F4F Wildcat,
perhaps damaged in aerial combat, experienced collapse of its landing
gear upon touching down on the Big E's flight deck. The aircraft's tail hook
and the arresting cable it had snagged kept it from going over the side.
Flight deck personnel scrambled to evade the plane when it skewed out of
control to starboard, before coming to a stop. None of the Big E's crew was
injured. The shaken but uninjured pilot walked away.
As each aircraft snagged one of the ENTERPRISE's eight wires,
aircraft handlers rushed in to disengage its tail hook from the
cable that had prevented the landing aircraft from crashing
into parked planes. Once each plane came to a stop, its wings
were folded and it was manually pushed forward.
Trouble more and more aircraft landed, the Big E's
flight deck crew was unable to reposition them very far from
the landing area. The forward third of the ENTERPRISE's
flight deck and hangar deck were still in flames. Aircraft
elevator numbers one or two were still out of service.
Inevitably, this situation and the overflow of HORNET aircraft resulted in the
necessity of parking some of the recovered aircraft unusually far far so
that some of the arresting gear wires could no longer be used. Eventually, only
the one, two and three wires remained available for use. These cables were
numbered progressively from the stern forward...just as they are today.
Robin Lindsey had to adjust his signals to additional incoming aircraft to allow
them to be trapped safely in a greatly foreshortened area in order to avoid
crashing into the mass of planes that had already landed. He did so skillfully and
successfully. But the additional aircraft that made it safely onto the Big E's flight
deck had to be parked atop the number three wire...and then the two wire.
That left only the number one wire clear and available for use. It was located aft
of the number three elevator and seldom used...never before intentionally. The
slightest miscalculation on Robin Lindsey's part could have resulted in a major
flight deck accident or...possibly...caused a plane attempting to land to suffer a
'ramp strike'.
Aircraft coming in too low to land safely had occasionally hit the rounded-down
aft end of the flight deck of aircraft carriers with often fatal results. This structural
feature was nicknamed 'the ramp'. Under normal conditions, a LSO would bring
aircraft in high enough to be well clear of the ramp and catch...hopefully... either
the number four or five wire. The other wires would normally take care of a plane
that might land too short or too long. All of which was impossible that afternoon.
At that point in the aircraft recovery evolution, the admiral embarked in
ENTERPRISE issued an order to cease flight operations. He didn't want to risk a
major accident that might cause the last available...albeit damaged...flight deck in
the US Navy's Pacific Fleet to be put out of action. The admiral told the carrier's
captain to 'put any remaining planes in the water'.
When that order was issued, Navy legend has it that Robin Lindsey ignored the
order and told his telephone talker to pull the plug on his sound-powered
headset; thus effectively isolating those on the LSO platform from the admiral.
There is no record of what the ship's commanding officer thought about this
situation. But it is known that when Robin Lindsey continued to bring planes in for
landing, risking a courts martial, and the ship's skipper...a qualified naval aviator
himself...kept the ENTERPRISE on a steady course, heading into the wind
The few aircraft still aloft were fighters that had maintained a
Combat Air Patrol (CAP) for hours over the Big E, keeping the Japanese
at bay during the recovery operation. Their leader, Lieutenant Stanley W.
'Swede' Vejtasa ordered the other CAP aircraft to land first. Robin
Lindsey guided them into the very small deck space still available.
When at last it became his turn, Swede Vejtasa [right] was
'flying on fumes'. To make things more difficult, only the
center portion of the number one wire was available. In
addition to the limited deck area forward of that wire, the
other CAP aircraft had been parked to either side of the
center of that vital arresting device...and also on top of
it...because there was no place else for them to be situated.
There was a very real danger that Swede Vejtasa's aircraft would stall out on
final approach due to lack of fuel and crash into the ship's stern or in its turbulent
wake...possibly even damaging the ship's rudder or propellers. Or overshoot that
last wire and set off more explosions and fires amidst the mass of aircraft parked
on the flight deck; many of which still had ordinance hanging from their wings.
It appeared to be an impossible situation to many present that day. But not to
Robin Lindsey or Swede Vejtasa...
The latter was a superb combat flyer, considered by many as the finest carrier
aviator in the fleet in 1942. Earlier that day he had shot down seven Japanese
aircraft during a single mission, setting a record for naval aviators. More
importantly, he had total confidence in the LSO 'waving' abilities of his close
friend and fellow aviator, Robin Lindsey.
As Swede Vejtasa flew up the carrier's wake with wheels, flaps and tail hook
down, and cockpit canopy pushed back, he glanced briefly ahead to see that an
impossibly small open space available for him on the Big E's flight deck. His
aircraft, flying at its normal landing speed of 70 knots was closing fast on his
intended landing spot as the carrier steamed into the wind at 30 knots.
Quickly, he refocused his eyes on the individual perched on the LSO platform,
waving two brightly colored paddles. At just the right moment, Robin Lindsey
gave Stanley Vejtasa the 'hi dip' signal. The pilot responded by dropping the
nose of his aircraft slightly, then resumed a 'nose high' attitude. That
caused his aircraft to reduce altitude by about ten to twenty feet without a
reduction in power. Then the LSO's paddles flashed quickly into the
classic 'cut' signal. The pilot instantly responded,
cutting his throttle. Later, as Swede Vejtasa recalled:
"At that instant, I was looking right at the ramp."
His stoutly built aircraft literally dropped out of the
sky, smartly snagged the number one wire...and
made a very short run forward until the arresting gear
stopped its progress...without hitting anything! With
absolutely no place to go, its wheels were chocked
right where it had stopped.
In the catwalks lining both sides of the Big E's flight deck, sailors applauded and
cheered the virtuoso performance by Robin Lindsey which they had just
witnessed. Shortly thereafter, the two friends shook hands on the flight deck.
But on the flag bridge, Robin Lindsey's feat was not as well appreciated as on the
flight deck. He was ordered confined to his quarters for defying authority. While
contemplating his career, he received a visitor. Commander John G. Crommelin,
the ENTERPRISE's Executive Officer came to congratulate him, bearing an
'unauthorized' beverage.
John Crommelin, a bit of a maverick himself, who once ignored a superior's order
and got away with it, promised Robin Lindsey his punishment would be light.
Truth be told, the XO wanted his gifted LSO back on duty as soon as possible.
He also asked Robin Lindsey what else he could do in appreciation of the LSO's
amazing achievements. The LSO audaciously declared that he'd like to have the
battle flag that flew over the Big E that day. The flag was duly delivered to him,
no doubt without the admiral's knowledge.
Robin Lindsey, US Naval Aviator #5739 continued to serve through the rest of
the war, both as a Landing Signal Officer and also flying in combat. He remained
in the Navy after World War II and served as a squadron commander onboard
carriers during the Korean War. He retired in 1960 with the rank of captain. At
some point in time thereafter, he donated the well worn 48-star battle flag that
flew over ENTERPRISE when he became "The Best Damn Waver in the Fleet"
to the Naval Museum in Pensacola. It remains on display there today, behind a
huge model of CV-6. Robin Lindsey passed away in 1984 at age 71.
ENTERPRISE (CV-6) survived the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands. After being
quickly repaired, she returned to combat operations and served throughout the
rest of the war in the Pacific, becoming the Navy's most decorated ship during
World War II. Declared surplus in 1947, this stout ship languished at the Brooklyn
Navy Yard while dedicated former crew members vainly tried to raise enough
money to turn her into a memorial. Instead, the Big E was scrapped in 1958.
Swede Vejtasa continued to fly combat during World War II. Awarded the Navy
Cross three times, he finished up his wartime career as an instructor. During the
Korean War, he was the Air Officer in the Newport News-built USS ESSEX (CV-
9). After a series of other naval aviation assignments, he served as the second
skipper of the USS CONSTELLATION (CVA-64), followed, appropriately enough,
by a tour of duty as the Commanding Officer of Naval Air Station Miramar...home
of the famed 'Top Gun' school for fighter pilots. Swede Vejtasa retired in 1970
with the rank of captain. He passed away in 2013 at age 98.
The Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands was considered a tactical victory for the
Japanese, since they lost fewer ships in that engagement than the US Navy. But
two of their carriers were heavily damaged and spent months out of action. When
they returned to the fight, they were met by ENTERPRISE and several newer
American carriers. After that, the carrier war in the Pacific was never in doubt.
In addition to hundreds of combat-experienced Japanese pilots lost during the
Battle of Midway four months previously, the action in late October of 1942
resulted in the deaths of an additional 150 Japanese pilots; many of whom were
unable to land on their carriers. Japan's naval aviation corps never recovered
from those losses. American casualties were far less
during the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands, despite the inability of
HORNET to recover her own aircraft. A total of ten American pilots were
killed during the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands.
Had it not been for Robin Lindsey's skill and determination, who knows
how many might have been lost...
Legend and Legacy of the LSO
Twenty years before Robin Lindsey's singular achievement, the idea for
someone being stationed onboard an aircraft carrier to help guide pilots to a safe
landing came about more through frustration than design.
A nervous pilot who had not landed on a carrier previously made several futile
attempts to land onboard the Navy's first carrier; the USS LANGLEY (CV-1). The
LANGLEY's acting skipper, a qualified naval aviator, was standing on the aft, port
corner of the carrier's flight deck to assess such landing attempts.
Impatient, at one point he grabbed the white hats from two sailors and held them
above his signal to the errant aviator that he was always coming in too
high. Then he lowered them, guiding the novice to his first carrier landing.
Additional signals were soon created to indicate if a pilot was
coming in too fast or too slow, not lined up properly, or not in proper
(i.e., nose high/wings level) configuration. Signal flags...and
later...brightly colored paddles replaced the sailor caps. A
precarious platform at the edge of the LANGLEY's flight deck
[right] was built for this purpose.
Thus was born on the deck of the LANGLEY the Landing Signal Officer (LSO)
concept. The practice of waving flags or paddles led to LSO's being nicknamed
'Wavers'. Refinements over the next three decades...well into the jet age...
included a published set of standard landing signals. LSO's at first verbally
critiqued landing attempts, then later evaluated them in writing. In addition,
landing attempts were first recorded by motion picture cameras...later by video.
These refinements allowed pilots to improve their skills...and also
to record any accidents resulting from the always dangerous
practice of landing high speed jet aircraft on the rolling/pitching
deck of a fast moving aircraft carrier. In the dramatic example
shown on the right, a LSO can be seen running for his life as a
plane makes a fatal ramp strike.
By the mid-1950s, American aircraft carriers were being built
with angled flight decks and outfitted with optical landing
systems [example depicted on the right]. Initially, it was
thought this invention would allow a pilot to land without help
from a LSO. However, accident rates actually increased when
the human factor was removed from the equation.
Once the optical landing system was augmented by a LSO in direct radio contact
with each pilot attempting a carrier landing, the accident rate dropped
significantly. That combination proved especially effective during night
The US Navy maintains a formal school for prospective LSOs. Located at NAS
Oceana in Virginia, it is the only institution of its kind in the world. Students from
the Navy and Marine Corps that are already qualified carrier pilots, as well as
flyers from several foreign counties receive hands-on, real time training using a
computerized system called the Landing Signal Officer Trainer (LSOT).
The LSOT is a fully functioning, full-size mock-up of an actual shipboard LSO
platform and associated equipment. Instructors can adjust this sophisticated
device to simulate all types of naval aircraft, different carrier flight deck
configurations, rough sea conditions and other environmental extremes to
maximize student training.
When graduates of this school go back to the fleet to practice their newly acquired skills,
they proudly wear this US Navy LSO patch with its rather unique and impolite motto. To
the best of my knowledge, the Navy's LSO School has no other identification. Too bad.
In my opinion, I think they should give the school a proper and appropriate name...say,
something like:
Bill Lee
June 2018

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