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Flightdeck Fail

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Published on Mar 16, 2008

A lot of people have been commenting and asking what the purpose of the people in the back are. Those in the white jersey are qualified "Final Checkers". When the aircraft is at the catapult as this one is, it's the only time that the wings are unfolded, and the aircraft is at full military power. The final checker ensures that the flight controls are working properly, and are not springing hydraulic leaks before they take off for flight. That is very crucial, because it could mean life or death for the aircrew once that aircraft leaves the flight deck.

As far as why the checkers stand so close, that is a personal preference. You need to be somewhat close so you can observe the aircraft. The Prowler's jet exhaust blows down and out, so when the aircraft takes off, the closer you are, the harder it hits you. Where the white shirt is in the video is usually a standard place to sit. You can be a foot or two farther out if you want to be absolutely sure you aren't hit by exhaust, but in this position, the exhaust blast is manageable.

The brown shirt's spot is one that usually more experienced and stronger checkers will sit. In that position, you need to duck immediately when the aircraft takes off, and you need to hold onto the "pad eyes", those little holes in the deck where you chain down aircraft. If you duck and hold on, you won't get blown down the deck like he did.

If you watch carefully, he started to duck as the aircraft took off, but obviously he was too slow in doing so, so the exhaust got underneath him and took him down the deck. Also, the thing that went flying over the JBD towards the other aircraft was his goggles.

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