I don’t normally quote Mother Jones Magazine. I don’t normally go to Mother Jones, for that matter, for descriptions of aircraft carrier landings. And yet, guess what I have here:
I’M STRAPPED INTO my backward-facing seat on a COD, or “carrier onboard delivery” plane, the US Navy workhorse that ferries people, supplies, and mail to and from its aircraft carriers at sea. I cinch the four-point harness holding me in place. Then I cinch it some more. When it’s as tight as it can go, an aircrewman walks by and yanks it so hard it squeezes the breath out of me. The hatch closes. Steam rises from the floor. Shit. I’ve watched the YouTube videos. I know what’s coming. Takeoff, a 30-minute flight, then landing on the USS Nimitz, decks pitching, plane wings waggling, tailhook dangling from the underside of the aircraft to catch one of four arresting cables stretched across the flight deck.
It is almost, quite nearly, Top Gun-ish. The actual article is on the Great Green Fleet. For that, I just engaged my yeah yeah yeah reflex.