ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) -- Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) earned its Flight Deck Carrier (FDC) qualifications while underway in the Atlantic Ocean, June 1-12.
The certification ensures that Abraham Lincoln's flight deck as well as the Sailors who conduct flight operations is capable of safely launching and recovering aircraft.
The last jet landing aboard the Abraham Lincoln occurred Aug. 6, 2012, just prior to the ship entering a four-year Refueling and Complex Overhaul (RCOH). The certification is a major milestone on the ship's way to becoming fully mission ready.
To certify in flight operations, the Abraham Lincoln Air Department was required to catch 50 aircraft on the first day of flight operations, 110 the following day to, 40 of which will be at night. Abraham Lincoln had total of 160 catches by the end of flight deck certification.
"The credit is all on the junior Sailors," said Aviation Boatswains Mate (Handling) 2nd Class Felix Stone, the primary flight control tower supervisor. "Without them we would not be able to catch aircraft."
The flight deck certification is the result of countless hours of work during RCOH, said Stone.
While in the yards, Air Department re-certified four aircraft elevators and overhauled much of the equipment that supports flight operations including the catapults, arresting gear, safety nets, and jet blast deflectors.
Even more impressive, Abraham Lincoln is manned with many Sailors who have never seen or participated in flight operations.
"Only 60 or 70 percent of the Sailors have seen the flight deck doing flight operations," said Air Boss Cmdr. David Burmeister, Air Department's department head. "Still, they contributed like seasoned Sailors to make this a success."
Sailors welcomed the long waited opportunity to apply the skills and training they had received as the ship began launching and recovering aircraft.
"All the long days, hard work, maintenance, and training in the yards finally paid off," said Burmeister. "It was a rewarding feeling having the first aircraft land."
With the flight deck certified, Abraham Lincoln and the crew can now look forward to continuing routine operations at sea in preparation for future deployment.
For more information, visit www.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/usnavy, or www.twitter.com/usnavy.
For more news from USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn72/.