103: Operations Fundamentals


[a] NAVEDTRA 10371, Aerographer�s Mate 2, Vol. 2
[b] NAVAIR AE-CVATC-OPM-000, Carrier Air Traffic Control Handbook
[c] NAVEDTRA 12701, Photography (Advanced)
[d] NAVAIR 00-80T-105, CV NATOPS Manual

103.1 Explain the effects of the following weather phenomena on flight operations:

a. Lightning and electrostatic discharge - Lightning strikes and electrostatic discharges are two of the leading causes of reported weather-related aircraft accidents and incidents. All types of aircraft are susceptible to lightning strikes and electrostatic discharges. Aircraft have been struck by lightning or have experienced electrostatic discharges on the ground or at altitudes ranging to at least 43,000 feet Lightning strikes can cause severe structural damage to aircraft. Damage to aircraft electrical systems, instruments, avionics, and radar is also possible. Transient voltages and currents induced in the aircraft electrical systems, as well as direct lightning strikes, have caused bomb doors to open, activated wind-folding motors, and made the accuracy of electronic flight-control navigational systems questionable. Pilots and crew are not immune to the effects of lightning strikes either. Flash blindness can last up to 30 seconds, and the shock wave can cause some temporary hearing loss if headphones or some form of hearing-loss-protection gear is not worn. Some aircrews have even experienced a mild electric shock and minor burns. A charge also may build up on an aircraft after it has been flying through clouds and precipitation, including snow as well as rain, or solid particles such as dust, haze, or ice. The larger the aircraft and the faster it flies, the more particles it impacts, generating a greater charge on the aircraft. The electrical field of the aircraft may interact with the cloud, and an electrostatic discharge may then occur. Electrostatic discharges usually cause only minor physical damage and indirect effects, such as electrical circuit upsets. Lightning occurs at all levels in a thunderstorm. The majority of lightning discharges never strike the ground but occur between clouds or within the same cloud. However, aircraft flying several miles from a thunderstorm can still be struck by the proverbial �bolt out of the blue.� Electrical activity generated by a thunderstorm may continue to exist even after the thunderstorm itself has decayed. This electrical activity may drift downstream and is usually found within the cirrus deck that at one time was connected to the thunderstorm cell. b. Hail - Hail is regarded as one of the worst hazards of thunderstorm flying. As a rule, the larger the storm, the more likely it is to have hail. Hail has been encountered as high as 45,000 feet in completely clear air and may be carried up to 10 miles downwind from the storm core. Hail can occur anywhere in a thunderstorm, but it is usually found beneath the anvil of a large cumulonimbus. Hailstones larger than � to � inch can cause significant aircraft damage in a few seconds. c. Icing - The formation of ice on lift-producing airfoils (wings, propellers, helo rotors, and control surfaces) disrupts the smooth flow of air over these surfaces. The result is decreased lift, increased drag, and increased stall speed of fixed-wing aircraft. Most aircraft that are normally loaded can fly with icing conditions ongoing and, under normal circumstances, the danger is not too great. When aircraft are critically loaded, however, icing is extremely important. The formation of ice on some structural parts of an aircraft can cause vibration and place added stress on those parts. For example, vibration caused by a small amount of ice unevenly distributed on a delicately balanced rotor or propeller can create dangerous stress on the system, transmission, and engine mounts. d. Turbulence - Turbulence is defined as �any irregularity or disturbed flow in the atmosphere that produces wind gusts or wind eddies.� Any sudden change in wind direction, speed or general flow can be called turbulence and can cause problems for aircraft. Turbulence can also be manmade or occur naturally. Aircraft in motion generate turbulence in their wake (called, appropriately enough, �wake turbulence�), which can present a serious hazard to other aircraft flying through this wake. This section is concerned with turbulence associated with thunderstorms. Storm clouds are the visible portions of a turbulent weather system, whose updrafts and down drafts often extend outside the storm proper. Hazardous turbulence is present in all thunderstorms, and in a severe thunderstorm it can cause serious injury to passengers and crew. Outside the cloud, shear turbulence has been encountered several thousand feet above and 20 miles laterally from a severe storm. Severe turbulence can be encountered in the anvil of a thunderstorm 15 to 30 miles downwind. Any air operations (especially launch and recovery) must take into account the presence of turbulent systems near the carrier, along intended flight routes and at possible divert fields. e. Fog/stratus - Fog is a layer of suspended water droplets adjacent to the Earth's surface. Stratus is fog that has been lifted or has formed some distance above ground. Stratus clouds and fogs occur at or near the surface of the earth and can seriously restrict visibility at low levels. Therefore, they are a very important consideration in aircraft operations, particularly in connection with landings and takeoffs. Fogs are especially significant to the pilot who limits his flying to visual flight rules, because ceilings under stratus clouds often are very low, and visibility in fog conditions often are not sufficient to permit navigation by visual reference.

103.2 State the weather criteria for the following launch/recovery conditions:

a. Case I - When it is anticipated that flights will not encounter instrument conditions during daytime departures, recoveries, and the ceiling and visibility in the carrier control zone are no lower than 3,000 feet and 5 nm respectively. b. Case II - When it is anticipated that flights may encounter instrument conditions during a daytime departure or recovery, and the ceiling and visibility in the carrier control zone are no lower than 1,000 feet and 5 nm respectively. c. Case III - When it is anticipated that flights will encounter instrument conditions during a departure or recovery, because the ceiling or visibility in the Carrier Control Zone is below 1,000 or 5 nm respectively; or a nighttime departure or recovery (one-half hour after sunset and one-half hour before sunrise).

103.3 Explain the function of the plane guard helicopter. - During flight operations, a plane guard (helicopter) mission is scheduled on each departure and recovery for the purpose of rescuing aircraft crew members who may go down during the operations.

103.4 Discuss the following: - On a carrier, two spaces are responsible for the control of airborne aircraft � the Carrier Air Traffic Control Center (CATCC) and the Combat Direction Center (CDC). CATCC (pronounced "KAT-SEE") is responsible for the control of aircraft operating within the Carrier Control Area (a circular airspace within a radius of 50 nm around the carrier). It is organized into Air Operations (AirOps), Carrier Controlled Approach (CCA), and the Air Transfer Office (ATO). CCA is responsible for operational control of aircraft departing the ship and recovery of inbound aircraft after a mission is complete. It is roughly equivalent to the Approach Control branch of an ashore Air Traffic Control (ATC) facility. Air traffic control is provided by the following positions in CCA: Departure Control, Marshal Control, Approach Control and Final Control. Each of these four areas has �control� of aircraft at different times and during different phases of aircraft flight. a. Departure control - Departure Control is responsible for the control of departing aircraft during Case I, II and III departures. Departure control is provided between initial radar contact with aircraft and transfer of control to CDC. This position is also responsible for monitoring the location and package status of tanker aircraft; the location of low-state aircraft and their fuel requirements; and may provide positive control during rendezvous between a tanker and low-state aircraft. b. Marshal control - Marshal Control is responsible for the control of inbound aircraft during Case I, II and III. Control is provided between initial contact normally commencing with the pilot�s check-in report and transfer of control to either PriFly during Case I operations or to Approach control during Case II and III operations. Marshall Control provides arrival information, establishes the initial interval between aircraft, and monitors the commencement of the approach until a handoff has been completed. Note: Positive control is provided only upon commencement and radar contact unless under non-radar control. c. Approach control - Approach Control is responsible for the control of aircraft on approach during Case II and III. Control is provided between handoff from Marshall and transfer of control to PriFly during Case II. Control is transferred to Final Control during Case III operations but Approach Control retains responsibility for aircraft separation. Approach Control tasks include making holes for bolter traffic, maintaining the appropriate interval and ensuring the first aircraft makes the ramp time. d. Final control - Final Control is responsible for the control of aircraft on final approach during Case III to ensure optimum alignment until transfer of control to the LSO or the aircraft reaches approach weather minimums. Final Control is primarily responsible for the control of aircraft glide slope and lineup performance and secondarily responsible for aircraft separation.

103.5 Discuss the following evolutions as they pertain to air traffic control:

a. Cyclic operations - Normal flight operations are conducted in cycles. In cyclic operations, aircraft are launched and recovered in groups. These groups of aircraft are referred to as events, and are assigned a numeric designator based upon their launch order, i.e., Event 1, Event 2, Event 3, etc. Each aircraft in an event is referred to as a sortie. A sortie is the flight of one aircraft from launch to recovery. In cyclic operations, the launch of each event is followed immediately by the recovery of the preceding event. b. Carrier Qualifications (CQ) - Carrier Qualification (CQ) operations, also referred to as CARQUALS, are conducted by carriers to qualify newly designated pilots in carrier flight operations and to requalify previously qualified pilots. CQ operations differ from cyclic operations in that launch and recovery operations are conducted concurrently (i.e., as each aircraft is recovered, it is taxied to the catapult area and launched, referred to as a hot spin). This process is interrupted only for aircraft refueling and the switching of pilots (during CQ operations, more than one pilot will qualify in the same aircraft). To expedite CQ operations, aircraft refueling and the switching of pilots are often performed with the aircraft engines running, referred to as hot pump and hot switch, respectively. Special recovery condition requirements are imposed upon CQ in terms of approach weather minimums, carrier deck motion, divert fields, air traffic control procedures, etc. The requirements are more stringent than those for cyclic operations. Also the shorter cyclic interval enables aircraft to be recovered immediately after their fuel and/or weapons are expended, i.e., after one, two or three cyclic intervals. c. Flex deck - Flex Deck is a special type of flight operation in which the flight deck is kept ready (flexible) to launch and recover aircraft at short and irregular intervals of time. The operations are performed when there is a calculable and significant threat of attack to the carrier. The normal cyclic interval of 90 minutes is typically reduced to between 40 and 60 minutes. The shorter cyclic interval enhances the capability of the carrier to respond to the escalated threat of attack by increasing the opportunities for launching, recovering, refueling, rearming and reconfiguring aircraft.

103.6 Define the term ramp time. - During cyclic operations, launch times are fixed but recovery times are not. Recovery times are estimates calculated by the Air Boss and are referred to as Charlie time for Case I recoveries, break time for Case II recoveries and ramp time for Case III recoveries.

103.7 State the responsibilities of the Landing Signal Officer (LSO). - The Landing Signal Officer (LSO), under supervision of the air officer, is responsible for the visual control of aircraft in the terminal phase of the final approach and landing. The LSO assumes control of aircraft when they are approximately � nm from the carrier, giving radio directions to the pilot if necessary. If the pilot fails to respond or if the approach continues to deteriorate, the LSO will command a waveoff. For aircraft that are waved off or fail to make an arrested landing, the LSO is responsible for ensuring that pilot and aircraft performance is satisfactory during the initial climb out. The LSO's primary responsibility is the safe recovery of fixed-wing aircraft aboard ship. The LSO shall inform the Commanding Officer, through the Air Boss, of any conditions which might interfere with the recovery (e.g., equipment malfunctions, improper deck configuration, adverse weather, wind or sea conditions). In addition, the LSO must constantly monitor pilot performance, schedule and conduct necessary ground training, counsel and debrief individual pilots, and certify their carrier readiness qualification and maintain records of each carrier landing.

103.8 Describe the following systems: [ref. b]

a. Bullseye - A term used in pilot/controller communications to refer to the Independent Landing Monitor (ILM). The ILM components are the AN/SPN-41 (shipboard) or AN/TRN-28 (shore based) and the AN/ARA-63 or AN/ARN-138 (airborne). The SPN-41 radar measures azimuth and elevation of the approaching aircraft and relays the data to a display within the aircraft, giving the pilot an indication of where the aircraft is (high, low, left, right) in relation to the proper glide-slope required to land on the carrier. The display is similar to the �needles� display covered below (in �PALS�) and gives the pilot a visual �bullseye� of sorts to aim for. The Bullseye system (SPN-41) only provides this info to the approaching aircraft (not the controllers onboard the carrier). Bullseye is normally used in conjunction with PALS. b. Precision Approach and Landing System (PALS) - PALS enables carrier pilots to perform instrument approaches under either manual or automatic control. The system consists of a precision tracking radar coupled to a computer and data link that provides continuous azimuth and elevation information to aircraft and shipboard controllers. PALs is also referred to as easy rider. The following terms are associated with PALS: APC � Approach Power Compensator. An aircraft component that automatically controls engine thrust to maintain the appropriate angle-of-attack during PALS approaches. AFCS � Automatic Flight Control System. An autopilot used to automatically control aircraft on approach to the carrier. It controls aircraft pitch and bank attitude from commands furnished through the data link (see above). DRO � Data Readout. A component of the PALS system that provides the PALS operator (Final Controller) with aircraft address and range, final bearing, and the status of the data link. Needles. Term used in pilot/controller communications to refer to the PALS display of azimuth (left � right) and elevation error signals (i.e. � how far left or right, and high or low the aircraft on approach is relative to it�s proper glide slope).

103.9 State the effects of Emissions Control (EMCON) on aviation. - Electronic Emission Control (EMCON) imposes restrictions on the use of electronic systems to deny information to the enemy for determining the location of the carrier. When imposed, radio transmissions between pilots, and between pilots and carrier control agencies, are held to the minimum necessary for safety of flight. During EMCON, restrictions can be imposed on the use of all electronic systems, including the radar and radio systems used by CATCC to control aircraft. As a result, CATCC provides monitor control during EMCON. However, CATCC is manned as required by the type of departure and recovery (Case) being conducted, and prepared to assume control of aircraft if EMCON is terminated.

103.10 State the purpose of the Air Plan. - The Air Plan is an event by event listing of scheduled flight activity (see �cyclic ops� above), in visual form. It lays out in plain view what squadrons will be flying what types of missions, the type of aircraft, when they are scheduled to launch and recover, sunrise and sunset times (and moonrise and moonset times for night ops), all on a single sheet of paper. Also included on the reverse side are divert field information, fuel loads, ordnance loads (if any), and any other notes. The Air Plan is drafted by Strike Operations.

103.11 Define the acronym TARPS. - Tactical Air Reconnaissance Pod System. TARPS is a system of photographic cameras mounted in a "pod" and carried on properly configured F-14 aircraft. It gives the carrier battle group its only organic (ship-based) photoreconnaissance capability. The pod contains 2 film cameras and an infrared line scanner. A digital version that can transmit its images directly to the carrier in real time is being deployed to some units.

For inputs, comments, or questions please contact:

AZC(AW/NAC) Kimberly King

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