USS Carl Vinson's Flight Deck Catapults Come Back to Life


Story Number: NNS080112-02Release Date: 1/12/2008 6:52:00 AM
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By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Matthew DeWitt, USS Carl Vinson Public Affairs

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) accomplished another milestone in its refueling complex overhaul (RCOH) after cylinders were reinstalled into the ship's flight deck catapults Dec. 19, at Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard in Newport News.

Because catapults are primary components of Carl Vinson's flight deck equipment, these specially designed cylinders are paramount to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier's overall mission readiness.

"Every time we accomplish an evolution like this, our team gets closer to completing RCOH and leaving the shipyard," said Interior Communications Electrician 2nd Class (SW) Aaron Hickey, assigned to the ship's Air Department, V-2 division. "Witnessing our cylinders reinstalled into catapult one was an eye opener that reminded us all how fast we're actually progressing with our overhaul."

Each aircraft carrier in the Nimitz class is equipped with four steam-powered catapults that provide the necessary force to effectively launch aircraft from the ship's flight deck. The catapult cylinder-piston assembly plays a key role in flight deck launching operations by building steam pressure and forcing the aircraft into takeoff, all while maximizing speed and minimizing required deck space.

"Without these cylinders, the flight deck on a carrier would need to be twice as long to reach the optimal speed for launch," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Equipment) 1st Class (AW) David Tipton, a member of the ship's Air Department. "If this were true, this would make an aircraft carrier too large to be seaworthy. Our catapults are pretty much the heart of aircraft launching operations."

While many more milestones lay ahead for Team Carl Vinson, the aircraft carrier is now one step closer to conducting flight operations and becoming a centerpiece for Navy aviation once again.

Carl Vinson is currently undergoing its scheduled RCOH at Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard. The RCOH is an extensive yard period that all Nimitz-class aircraft carriers go through near the mid-point of their 50-year life cycle.

For more news from USS Carl Vinson, visit www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn70/.

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