If you’ve seen even the first few minutes of Top Gun, you know how a fighter jet is launched off a carrier. But in a rare firsthand glimpse into the actual machinations of an aircraft carrier, we saw the same through the eyes of a U.S. Navy sailor’s GoPro without the varnish of Hollywood.
The crew member, who was serving on the USS George H.W. Bush at the time, uploaded the process of how he checked and set up the steam catapult launch of an F/A-18E Super Hornet onto Reddit. When one redditor asked him what he was actually doing in the video and what the most stressful part of the job was, SailorMitch gave the following answer:
“Yeah basically before it launches you have to make sure it is safe to take off. So you have two people go down the sides of the jet and you are looking for anything wrong with it. In the video you see me put my arm up and make a up down motion. This is me telling the handler to tell the pilot that his wings are not locked out, so they could fold up in flight or on launch.
Big things are hydraulic leaks and any leaks in general. Before he takes off he moves all the flight surfaces and we make sure they are moving and in good working order. Then he goes up on power and we give our last thumbs up. Then boom hes off. The most stressful times are when things aren’t working. You have to troubleshoot it and fix it all in minutes, because if you don’t you will miss the mission.
Just the pressure of the fact that it is a dangerous job and making sure everything goes well really adds to the stress. Plus the hours. You can spend hours and hours in the heat.”
The video is just missing one thing: Kenny Loggins and the masterpiece that is “Danger Zone.”
Screengrab via Youtube