|Photo 1 of 2|
USS George Washington deck crew work near a C-2 Greyhound, a twin-engined cargo plane, on which AP reporter Eric Talmadge flew on the deck of the USS George Washington shortly after his arrival in the western Pacific Monday, Oct. 20, 2008. (AP Photo/Eric Talmadge)
Hope you will indulge me again as I brag about my Sailor! The flight this reporter talks about is the same flight Jeff took on and off the GW when he came home for my father's funeral in February. According to Jeff an avid discription! Not all Sailor's get to experience this, so it may be a once in a lifetime thrill!
From 140 mph to zero in no time flat
ABOARD THE USS GEORGE WASHINGTON (AP) — I don't fear flying. But this is more like a controlled crash.
I'm forced all the way into my seat in the cramped passenger compartment as the cargo plane goes into a sharp descending turn, tripling the force of gravity.
To keep me from bouncing off the ceiling, I have a seat belt across my lap, two more straps over my shoulders and am wearing a "float coat" in case we hit water.
Suddenly, we plunge.
All the blood rushes out of my head. Gravity yanks at my body, which wants to be about 300 feet higher and farther forward. Everything goes blank for a split second.
From 140 mph to zero in two seconds. Welcome aboard the USS George Washington.
Like most visitors, I came in on a C-2 Greyhound, the twin-engined lifeline for the 5,000-plus sailors and air crew aboard the aircraft carrier, now on its maiden voyage in the Pacific. The C-2 primarily flies in spare parts, supplies, mail and personnel who, for one reason or another, urgently need to get on or off the ship.
The secret to survival is called "catching a wire" — a series of steel cables, one of which will snag a hook on the plane as it lands and prevent it from shooting into the water.
When things get busy, there will be 100 or more landings and takeoffs a day, often just a minute or so apart.
The fighters — the FA-18 Hornets and Superhornets and EA-6b Prowlers — are the most impressive to watch. They roar out of the sky like thunderbolts and then gun their jets even as the wires pull them to a halt. It's a safety measure — if they fail to "take the trap," or if the cable snaps, they need the power to take off again.
Carrier landings, especially at night, never get routine for the pilots.
Lt. Robert Stochel, of Crown Point, Ind., flies the E-2c Hawkeye, an early-warning and control system for the fighters. The prop plane comes in heavy and slow, carrying a large radar disk on its back.
Stochel said pilots hate — and love — taking the trap.
"It's hard to explain a night trap on a carrier, the sinking feeling your stomach," he said. "The last 20 seconds of flight you really don't want to do this. It's a $100 million aircraft and a $5 billion ship and I have to put it through the equivalent of a 16-inch hole for the No. 3 wire I'm trying to catch."
To the incoming pilot, the deck is small, crowded and moving away. At night, it's just an inky spot in a black sea. And when you hit the 320-foot landing area of the deck, you feel it.
Come in too high and you get a second chance — and a razzing from your fellow pilots. Too low, and it's catastrophe.
"When I first caught a wire, my legs were shaking and I was all nervous," said Lt. Cody Dowd, of Bartlesville, Okla.,
"But the more you do it, the more fun it gets, the more confidence you have," he said. "It's unique to naval aviation, and we all enjoy it. That's why we're out here."
"Quilt Tip of the Day"
This is the time of year we begin thinking about "New Year's Resolutions" One of mine usually is, "Im going to use up some of my fabric and NOT buy any new. That idea lasts for short time, until I find a good fabric sale and then I'm "off the wagon". But for the next few days we are going talk about some ways to choose and use scraps to make scrap quilts...I found this article in a very old Quilt maker magazine by Sherri Bain Driver...thanks Sherri!
" One quiltmaker's scraps are another's treasures. We no longer need to make scrap quilts, but we choose to make them for reasons other than thrift- to play with colors, experiement with self-espression, to make a quilt more interesting or preserve memories.
- Choose fabrics according to value. Value, (the darkness or lightness of a color) is more important than the color itself.
- Determine the "value" of each fabric, remembering that value is relative; a fabric may look dark in one grouping and medium or light in another.
- Add a bit of surprise by substitutuing just a few medium valued fabrics for darks and or lights.
- Borrow a color scheme from a favorite photo, painting, dish, or multicolored fabric. To retain the flavor of the source object, use colors in the same proportions...go look at some of your china...this would be fund
- Stretch your interpretation of each color- "reds" could range from rusty browns throu scarlets to reddish purples; 'shites" might include pastels in every hue and even light tans or grays.