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Air Department Sailors aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) are working toward carrier flight deck certification during the December underway period.
The flight deck certification is a two-day process to conduct flight deck drills demonstrating Air Department can safely handle all emergency situations such as an aircraft fire or crashes on the landing area.
The first day consists of day launching, day recovery and taxi drills during the night. Day two of the flight deck certification is day and night launch and recovery of the squadron aircrafts. Air Department Sailors assigned to the hangar bay also conduct a series of tests proving their ability to identify and correctly direct the aircrafts inside the hangar bay.
"For flight deck certification, Air Department must demonstrate flight operations safely and the only way we can do that is to utilize the air wings," said Lt. Cmdr. Jerome Morris, the handler aboard Carl Vinson.
There are a total of 10 different squadrons on board, including two helicopter squadrons to assist with flight deck certifications. The squadrons come aboard not only to provide jets, pilots and maintenance crew for Carl Vinson flight operations, but to qualify training pilots assigned to the air wing for flight deck take-off and landing.
"Without the air wing's planes and pilots we cannot complete our flight deck certification," said Morris. "The mission is to conduct and sustain flight operations and we need them in order to launch and recover airplanes."
To ensure Air Department was ready for the current flight deck certifications, Sailors deployed with a number of ships throughout the fleet. Sailors earned qualifications to prepare for flight deck certifications such as aircraft director, tractor drivers and pump-room operators.
"We sent Sailors from all different Air Department divisions to several ships to earn qualifications during the (Post-Shakedown Availability/ Supplemental Restricted Availability) PSA/SRA," said Morris.
If Air Department passes this set of drills and flight operations, Carl Vinson will be clear to perform flight operations during the transit to San Diego in early January.