USS Bush traps first aircraft in 13 months

Air Force photograph by PO3 Christopher Gaines

An F/A-18C Hornet attached to the “Bulls” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 37 performs a touch-and-go on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). GHWB recently started a training and qualification cycle in preparation for a 2017 deployment.

Aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) trapped its first aircraft after more than 13 months, Aug. 9, 2016.

Lt. Christopher Montague, test pilot and project officer for Carrier Suitability Squadron (VX) 23, landed an F/A-18E, which marked the beginning of flight operations and the continuing preparations for GHWB’s upcoming deployment.

“I’m enjoying being aboard,” said Montague. “The ship looks great and the crew has treated us well. From the ship side, all the equipment performed perfectly. I’m thankful to be a part of this operation.”

The landing also marked the first successful use of the arrested landing gear during GHWB’s flight deck certifications.

“I finally get to do my job, lead my Sailors and move combat aircraft to and from the hangar deck so they can deploy,” said Chief Aviation Boatswain’s Mate James Brinson, hangar deck chief petty officer.

To deploy, GHWB must certify the effectiveness of their flight deck and flight deck teams.

“Flight deck certification is important because we have to certify that all the flight deck teams, hangar deck teams and all of the major systems involved with aircraft are able to do the aircraft carrier job, which is to launch and recover aircraft,” said Brinson.

During the 2014 deployment, GHWB launched 12,774 sorties amounting to 34,831 flight hours. 3,245 of these sorties were for combat which amounted to 18,133 combat flight hours. In total there were 10,003 catapult launches.

“There are so many dangers in the aviation community,” said Brinson. “The arresting cable can snap, an aircraft can crash or catch fire which can almost down the ship, it is imperative we are trained to combat any potential incidents.”