SUFFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- More than 50 Sailors assigned USS Carl Vinson's (CVN 70) Air Department, V-2 division, gathered to construct the ship's first new arresting gear barricade Aug. 26 at a designated facility in Suffolk.
The barricade, which engages and recovers jet aircraft in emergency landing situations during at-sea flight operations, is the first to be constructed for Carl Vinson in more than four years, signaling the aircraft carrier's imminent return to the fleet where the ship will resume flight operations at sea - a critical element of the Navy's Maritime Strategy.
"The barricade is a crucial element of safe flight operations," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Equipment) 1st Class Charles Schneider, arresting gear leading petty officer for the department.
"Without it, we can't fly any missions, and that would defeat the whole purpose of our aircraft carrier.
If a plane were to experience landing gear or tail hook failure during flight operations, the barricade would serve as a "safety net" by capturing the wings of the plane in its webbing, thereby making the salvaging of aircraft possible. The barricade is held in place on the aft end of the flight deck by stanchions that lift the assembly to 20 feet in height when necessary.
With the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier's flight deck certification process slated for early 2009, the ship's V-2 division is working arduously to ensure each preparatory evolution is completed properly and without incident. Construction of the barricade marks yet another milestone in the crew's efforts to bring the warship back to life.
"We followed every instruction closely to make sure this barricade was built with the strength and integrity it will need to save our jets and our pilots in an emergency," said Schneider. "V-2 built this safety net to fit the demands of a wartime aircraft carrier."
To build the barricade, V-2 Sailors from the air department ensured that webbing structures were stacked properly and that 88 tie-down straps and 36 release straps were put together with precision in accordance with the work package instructions. After construction of the device was complete, the barricade measured approximately 100 feet in length and 24 feet in height.
Once the flight deck certification is complete, the "Gold Eagle" will begin its first sea trial phase after a 40-month shipyard overhaul period.
"Now that we're getting closer to going back out to sea, our Sailors are getting a real taste of the kind of work they'll be doing underway," said Chief Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Equipment) (AW/SW) Matthew McCauley.
"I think now our guys are really starting to see that we're going to be out of the shipyard really soon. We're doing flight deck and arresting gear work now. Everybody's getting pretty excited about it."
Carl Vinson is undergoing its scheduled refueling complex overhaul (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.
During RCOH Carl Vinson's nuclear fuel will be replenished and the ship's services and infrastructure will be upgraded to make her the most state-of-the-art aircraft carrier in the fleet and prepare for another 25 years or more of service.
For more news from USS Carl Vinson, visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn70/.