Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford began testing the ship’s new electromagnetic aircraft launch system in Virginia’s James River on June 5, but before they can launch real aircraft, they have to practice.
It’s not quite like a real, live flight deck, but it’s close.
Gone are the cargo pants, brightly colored turtlenecks and helmets. Instead, a sailor in blueberries and a hard hat mimics the signals of a deck handler before the catapult launches a weight sled out over the river in a graceful swan dive.
The slow motion impact with the water at the end is rather dramatic.
EMALS testing began June 5, the latest step in the carrier’s development before its scheduled March 2016 delivery date.