NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- USS Dwight D. Eisenhower's (CVN 69) (Ike) 6,300-pound, Detroit diesel-powered aircraft crash and salvage crane, affectionately named Tilly, rechecked aboard the warship Sept. 21, marking a sign of things to come.
A Tilly can be found aboard each U.S. aircraft carrier. Its purpose is to provide support to the ship's crash and salvage team in the event of aircraft or flight deck mechanical failure.
"If an aircraft crashes on the flight deck, the crash and salvage folks will get the aircraft on a sling (equipment which is attached to both the aircraft and Tilly's hook) and get it off the flight deck," said Chief Aviation Support Equipment Technician (AW/SW) Mark Farley, Ike's Support Equipment production control chief.
With Tilly back aboard Ike, the crew is now fixing their eyes on the future.
"Any time you see Tilly on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier in the shipyard, it's a sign the ship is coming out of the yards soon," said Farley.
The return of "Tilly" to Ike is significant because without a crash and salvage crane, aircraft would not be allowed on Ike's flight deck. In fact, it's so vital to the ship's operational success that if Tilly is not up and running, the ship will not be allowed to conduct flight operations.
It has been a long journey for Tilly's return. She was taken off the ship during the initial stages of Ike's Refueling Complex Overhaul in 2001. Tilly was broken down, shipped to San Diego, and refurbished. According to Farley, Tilly was then sent back to Norfolk and reassembled.
"We took it from AIMD [Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department], Norfolk, and brought it here (Northrop Grumman Newport News)," said Aviation Support Equipment Technician Airman Angel Menendez. "We inspected Tilly and made sure it was ready to come aboard."
"Aviation Support Equipment Technician 2nd Class Roderick Johnson drove it from the crane compound at Naval Station Norfolk to Pier 12 (carrier pier)," added Farley. "Public Works 72 shop (Riggers) and Y.D. Crane hoisted Tilly onto a barge/crane and tugged it here."
Tilly returning to Ike marks one more milestone in the ship's return to sea.
For related news, visit the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn69.