The USS Gerald R. Ford, the Navy’s newest and most sophisticated aircraft carrier, received and launched its first fixed-wing aircraft – and DynCorp International (DI) helped.
Eight DI employees from Naval Test Wing Atlantic Pax River, MD were aboard the USS Ford, tasked with aircraft maintenance support during Aircraft Compatibility Testing (ACT) and Precision Approach Landing Systems (PALS) testing of the F/A-18 Super Hornet. The DI detachment crew aboard the USS Ford, Kenneth Helmer Loy, James Eugene Bibb, Matthew Eric Hamilton, Brent William Harrison, Dillon Glen Looker, Jason James Ryals and Alexander Brady Welch, all received serialized commemorative coins for their participation in the test.
“It’s great to see the new technology mature from the testing phase to the application phase and become available for our warfighters,” said Darryl “Chris” Sexton, DI’s crew leader. “It was an honor to be part of this moment in history.”
The catapult launches were conducted using the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) and arrested landings were conducted using the Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG), aided by the Maritime Augmented Guidance with Integrated Controls for Carrier Approach and Recovery Precision Enabling Technologies (MAGIC CARPET) program for approaches and landings.
MAGIC CARPET is a collaboration by Naval Air Systems Command and the Office of Naval Research, and represents technology that simplifies the process of landing a fighter on an aircraft carrier. It allows pilots to make single-digit flight path corrections on final approach rather than hundreds – landing significantly closer to their target on the flight deck. Instead of worrying about adjusting roll, yaw and pitch, adding and reducing power, and predicting how the plane’s course will intersect with the moving ship’s course, MAGIC CARPET remaps the plane’s digital flight controls and enables the pilot to more directly and simply control flight path.
Read about AAG, EMALs, and watch video of the launch in a Business Insider news article, here.