FighterSweep fans check out this awesome first person flight deck video from the Catapult 4 Topside Petty Officer in 2014. The Cat 4 Topside Petty Officer ensures proper hookup of the aircraft to the catapult.
This video shows a typical launch off Catapults 3 and 4 from the USS Eisenhower (CVN 69). At the start of the video, note how all personnel with the exception of the Troubleshooters (also known as Final Checkers) are behind the red and white safety line. The Troubleshooter (white vest) is looking underneath the jet during the engine run up for any abnormalities. He then gives a thumbs up to the “Shooter”, signaling the aircraft is safe for launch. In a noisy flight deck environment, hand signals are the preferred method used to communicate to personnel.
A special treat is watching the EA-6B Prowler taxi into the shuttle from an up close and personal view (3:15). Notice how precise the nose gear movements are to get aligned properly for launch. The Prowler is no longer used in the US Navy inventory having been replaced by the EA-18G Growler.
Once the launch from the waist catapults are complete, crews “wrap” the deck (remove and stow all launch gear) to prepare for incoming aircraft that are about to land. Wrapping the deck quickly is key to maintaining smooth flight operations.
One of the most frequently asked questions is “What do the different shirt colors mean?” Well, here you go:
Yellow–Aircraft handling officers, plane directors, catapult officers (Shooters)
Green–Air Wing maintenance, catapult and arresting gear crews
Brown–Air Wing plane captains (personnel who ready the plane for flight)
White–Quality Assurance, Troubleshooters (think safety)
Red–Ordnance, Crash and Salvage (fireman)
Blue–Tractor drivers, elevator operators, plane handler trainees (think Yellow shirts under training)
Watching the aircraft carrier team in action is pretty awesome. If you want to read more about launching from a carrier, check out this article.
Video courtesy of FlightDeckLife channel on YouTube