This is a truly awesome photo – and not just for the split-second timing of a successfully trapped wire whipping out behind its captive Goshawk. This is an image for everyone who dreams of flying, and for every pilot who aims to fly better…
What it actually shows is a moment of triumph – for one pilot who’s got the grades, grown the moustache, and gone to the boat. Notice how cadet’s do their Carrier Qual solo? No hand-holding here: You’re either ready or you’re not.
So enjoy the moment, the action and the inspiration. Click for the big picture.
And for the record – the aircraft is a T-45A Goshawk from Training Air Wing Two, out of NAS Kingsville, TX, coming aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) during Atlantic carrier qualification exercises on June 26, 2005. If this is you, hey, drop us a line.
The Goshawk is an extensively ‘navalised’ variant of the hugely successful BAe Hawk lead-in trainer, developed by McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) during the 1980s.
Because it’s such a great photo, I’ve kept the file deliberately huge.
And you can download the clean, hi-res copy from here.