“Launch the Alert 5.” The pilot, who was already seated in the cockpit, heard the order and started to spin up its engines. As the name implied, the Alert 5 jet could be launched within five minutes. Hammer 11 of VFA-136 would be airborne in a matter of four sweeps around the clock.
As the Alert 5 readied for launch, the officer of the deck turned the USS Theodore Roosevelt five degrees to starboard in order to put the wind straight down the flight deck.
The air boss sounded the Flight Ops alarm, and twenty colored-shirt deckhands started to run to their assigned duties, led by the flight directors. The Alert 5 bird was already positioned on catapult 4 for immediate launch.
As the jet blast deflector rose behind the Alert 5 Super Hornet the pilot performed a wipeout of his controls ensuring the control surfaces of his fighter were free. He then was given the hand signals by the shooter to perform the engine run-up of his Super Hornet. The pilot, a lieutenant, saluted, and a second later the yellow-shirt shooter’s right hand touched the flight deck and then came back up to shoulder height, which was the signal for the catapult officer to fire the catapult. A second later the catapult fired and Hammer 11, the Alert 5 Super Hornet, was airborne.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish