Back to Squawk list
  • 86

Carrier Landing During a Sandstorm

Carrier landing during a sandstorm in the Persian Gulf in 2003. The carrier only comes into view about 6 seconds before touchdown. ( More...

Sort type: [Top] [Newest]

Todd Johnes 8
I would love to see this from the carrier's perspective. Sand... more sand... FIGHTER JET!
Torsten Hoff 8
They don't pay those guys enough.
btweston 2
I'd imagine most fighter pilots applied for the job because they get to be fighter pilots.
Matt West 0
I agree, although if you listen to the current administration and DoD, they get paid too much and need a pay cut.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

Bob Lane 4
Praise to the crew on the flight deck! Standing out in a sandstorm can't be fun.
Brian Bishop 4
Something else I noticed for the first time not too long ago about carrier landings is that the angled landing deck means that the ship is moving in a different direction from the aircraft. It's tough enough if the ship were going directly away from you but to add that to the mix as well as the low/no vis stuation here........ crazy crazy crazy.
AWAAlum 5
Lots of years ago, I knew a young guy who was in what was then known as the Naval Air Force, and flew jets off of carriers - I believe it was in the 60s. I'd never thought of it myself, but when he explained how it's exciting enough landing on an airstrip, then add to the equation a landing strip that's constantly moving away from you and you're trying to catch up to it, and then tack onto that it's moving on a diagonal he said it was quite a kick. He loved it.

Additionally, when Desert Storm came along when I was working at McDonnell Douglas in Arizona where they assembled the AH-64s, it took everyone by surprise how quickly the rotors were put out of commission from the blowing sand - it literally sand blasted the leading edges and wore them down so fast, we had trouble keeping them supplied. It boggles my wee brain to imagine how many variables enter into all phases of aviation
tim mitchell 2
yep.....that is def. a cigerette landing.
vin herman 2
mariofer 2
Minimums??, what minimums???
Oscar Rivera 1
Guy Medlock 1
It's probably just as hard to drive a Carrier in the Desert, too...:-)
Solid brass cojones... and bigger than anybody elses!
ToddBaldwin3 1
That'll make you pucker up.
Lyn Lynch 1
LSO, "call the ball".
Pilot, what f-ing ball"?
jack kean 1
you've got to have faith in the avionics and flight controls in one of those planes. Including the ACL (automatic carrier landing) functionality.
I know this looks all manual? Is the air speed controlled by the auto pilot? Or is this some sort of Cat 3 C approach? I'm not familiar with the military heads up display.
preacher1 3
It may not have started out that way but it definitely turned into some form of CATIII in a hurry. All is manual as far as I know. My guess is he was inbound before it hit and probably low fuel with no where to go. If he'd had fuel, I figure he'd have waved off and went back on top and waited for it to pass. I doubt they could have gotten a tanker or helo for rescue off in that mess. My bet it was no choice. I'm guessing but it looked like he hooked the last cable. Safely down, he then had bragging rights. LOL
Dave Mathes 1
...that was nuts!....(big ones too).....
Roland Dent 1
Good test of the bowels and the balls
nicholas weber 1
On the ball? Which ball!
Ray Gearity 1
Naval Aviation at it's best!
If it's a sand storm it also means the winds are howling. At least they don't have to make it smooth, just a controlled crash landing.
Robert Gomez 1
Talk about zero visibility.
Tim Swift 1
Another day at the office I guess. Amazing. Thanks stuff.
canuck44 1
One would have to ask what does this crap do to an engine. Losing power on this approach is liable to park one in the tiller flats.
Jeff Dilly 1
Wow. Just . . . WOW!
sharon bias 1
I want them flying my commercial aircraft
vin herman 1
Robert Hirst 1
As I tried to figure out what I was seeing, I was shocked at WHERE the actual deck was! Kudos!
James Hodges 0
I think I would have taken my chances with the ejec button!!!

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

tim mitchell 12
as well as the ship is moving,the engines are ingesting sand, the tower is about 40 ft. to the side of the runway and the runway is really short
The Island/towers are around 150 ft. tall
preacher1 1
I guess they can call that coming into view. I'd call that CATIIIC, maybe divert, but he had no place to go. I would have to wonder about those engines ingesting all that sand.
Roland Dent 0
Agreed Wayne,,,but these guys have balls....USAF could learn a dew tricks.
AWAAlum 1
They're all heroes in my opinion....even USAF lol.
btweston 3
And it's a moving target. And they're sucking sand into the engines. And there's a large building just to the right of the touchdown zone. But yeah. Totally the same...
Chris B 3
On the other hand, we don't take a swim if we get it wrong....
James Hodges 1
Landing a jet on a carrier when it is CAVU requires more guts than an ILS to 200 and 1800 on land!!!
preacher1 1
I don't know as I'd call that 1800'RVR but even so, I have always wondered about those spec's as you are just pretty much along for the ride anyway. At the very least, it's pucker time. LOL
PhotoFinish 1
That may be slightly generous.

But even if so, whatever little visibility is available doesn't account for all the others aggravating factors that make that a challenging landing.

These pilots earn their pay.
tim mitchell 1
a full cartoon
tim mitchell 4
"what's wrong with them?"...."I don't know they just keep smoking and saying thank you Jesus"


Don't have an account? Register now (free) for customized features, flight alerts, and more!
Did you know that FlightAware flight tracking is supported by advertising?
You can help us keep FlightAware free by allowing ads from We work hard to keep our advertising relevant and unobtrusive to create a great experience. It's quick and easy to whitelist ads on FlightAware or please consider our premium accounts.