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Tue, May 19, 2009

Navy's Newest Aircraft Carrier Lands/Launches First Aircraft

VX 23 F/A-18F Super Hornet Enjoys A 'First'

The USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) made history Tuesday, May 19th, after safely landing the first fixed-wing aircraft, an F/A-18F Super Hornet.

Lt. Patrick McKenna and Cmdr. Beau Duarte, from Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., piloted the Hornet and made the first arrested landing, known as a "trap," at 2:07 p.m. local time. The Bush reached another milestone less than an hour later when an F/A-18F Super Hornet became the first aircraft to be catapulted from the ship's flight deck at 3:03 p.m. local time.

The aircraft carrier is underway performing flight deck certifications in the Atlantic. The ship is equipped with arresting wires which are capable of safely landing aircraft traveling at speeds of more than 200 miles per hour in about 300 feet. Bush has four steam-powered catapults placed at the bow and port side of the ship which are capable of accelerating an aircraft in less than three seconds from zero to 150 miles per hour in about 270 feet.

"It takes a team of professionals to safely land an aircraft aboard a carrier at sea. The crew of USS George H.W. Bush has been working and training for this event for more than two years," said Capt. "Chip" Miller, Bush H.W. Bush commanding officer. "This is a tremendous moment for the crew."

Miller added that, "This is just the beginning of flight deck operations aboard this ship. It's what the crew has been working towards for years. They are excited to see aircraft flying on and off our flight deck, and so am I."

Bush, homeported at Naval Station Norfolk, Va., is the 10th and final Nimitz-class carrier. It was commissioned Jan. 10 at Naval Station Norfolk, Va.

FMI: www.navy.mil/local/cvn77/

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