USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) began preparations for resurfacing the landing area of the flight deck with new non-skid Feb. 8, following several training exercises and carrier qualification periods at sea.
At nearly 50,000 square feet, the landing area of the flight deck has safely completed over 16,000 arrests since it was last resurfaced in October 2007.
"The actual layer of non-skid is about 1/8th of an inch thick," said Cmdr. Herbert C. Sanford, Truman's mini air boss. "As you can imagine, the landing area sustains a lot of wear-and-tear from the force of multiple arrested landings and tailhooks dragging cables across the non-skid."
The non-skid surface provides both aircraft and crew members the traction they need to move and operate safely.
"A jet moving on a surface that has been stripped of non-skid is like riding a car on ice," said Lt. Alonzo Wynn, flight deck officer.
Although non-skid is found on the exterior deck of every Navy warship, the operations that take place on the surface of a carrier flight deck are unique and require a particular type of non-skid.
"Other ships use 'G'-skid, a general purpose non-skid," said Chief Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) (AW/SW) Donovan Mahiai, flight deck crash chief. "Carriers use 'L'-skid, which is non-abrasive and specifically designed for the landing area."
Special attention is required to ensure that the non-skid is properly cured and treated. The existing non-skid surface is removed via high-pressure water jet and pumped to an Environmental Protection Agency approved storage tank on the pier. After the flight deck is stripped to bare metal, it is treated and primed under the protection of a climate-controlled tent.
The tent is heated to approximately 70 degrees and safeguards the area being worked on from rain, snow and ice-elements which could induce rust and expedite non-skid erosion. The temperature also helps with the adhesion of the material and results in a faster drying time.
According to Sanford, most carrier flight decks undergo resurfacing after 8,000-10,000 arrested landings and prior to each deployment. After Truman's deployment shifted late in 2009, resurfacing was postponed in to support other fleet-wide requirements, to include two sustainment training exercises and several Fleet Replacement Squadron carrier qualifications.
"The landing area receives the most wear-and-tear," Mahiai said. "We wanted the flight deck non-skid in the landing area to be as fresh as possible for our upcoming deployment."
For more news from USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn75/.