USS Abraham Lincoln completes flight deck qualifications

A sailor operates jet blast deflectors on the flight deck of Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) during flight deck qualifications. Photo: US Navy

U.S. Navy’s Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) completed its Flight Deck Carrier (FDC) qualifications during an underway period in the Atlantic Ocean.

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.”

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.

“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.

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.

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