Tuesday, May 19, 2009

USS George HW Bush Catapults First Aircraft from Flight Deck

In this April 2009 file photo, the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) is underway from Naval Station Norfolk conducting acceptance trials and the Board of Inspections and Survey to test the ship's material conditions and readiness. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st class Demetrius L. Patton.)

Focus on Defense:

USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH, At Sea, May 19, 2009 -- USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), reached another milestone May 19 when an F/A-18F Super Hornet became the first aircraft to be catapulted from the ship's flight deck at 3:03 p.m. local time.

The Super Hornet was piloted by Lt. Patrick McKenna and Cmdr. Beau Duarte piloted from Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md.

Bush has four steam-powered catapults placed at the bow and port side of the ship which are capable of accelerating an aircraft in less than three seconds from zero to 150 miles per hour in about 270 feet.

"Our ship's mission is to conduct carrier strike group operations around the globe, and with this catapult launching, we are one step closer to doing that," said Capt. "Chip" Miller, Bush commanding officer. "This is just the beginning of flight deck operations aboard this ship. It's what the crew has been working towards for years. They are excited to see aircraft flying on and off our flight deck, and so am I."

The aircraft carrier is currently underway performing flight deck certifications in the Atlantic Ocean.

Bush, homeported at Naval Station Norfolk, Va., is the 10th and final Nimitz-class carrier. It was commissioned Jan. 10 at Naval Station Norfolk.

(Report from a USS George H.W. Bush Public Affairs news release.)

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