Despite the caption on the above image, the real story is apparently to the right. Special thanks to a former AX, Bill Schultz, aboard the USS Essex CV/CVA/CVS-9/LHD-2 ('66-'68), for pointing out the discrepancy.
|The pilot was Capt Dale "Snort" Snodgrass, at the time Executive Officer of VF-33 with more than 4,800 hours in the F-14, currently Director of Congressional Liasion, US House of Representatives.
The photo from the USS America in the summer of 1989 is widely seen, and most folks think it was either an edited photo, a risky maneuver, or a crash in progress. However, Snodgrass explained: "It's not risky at all with practice. It was my opening pass in a Tomcat tactical demonstration at sea. I started from the starboard rear quarter of the carrier, slightly below flight deck level. Airspeed was about 270 kts with the wings swept forward. I selected afterburner at about a half-mile out, and the aircraft accelerated to about 315 kts. As I approached the fantail, I rolled into an 85-degree bank and did a hard 5-6G turn, finishing about 10-20 degrees off of the boat's axis. Microseconds after this photo was taken, after rolling wings-level at an altitude slightly above the flight deck, I pulled vertical with a quarter-roll to the left, ending with an Immelman roll-out 90 degrees and continued with the remainder of the demo. It was a dramatic and, in my opinion, a very cool way to start a carrier demo as first performed by a great fighter pilot, Ed "Hunack" Andrews, who commanded VF-84 in 1980-1988.
The photo was taken by a Petty Officer who worked the flight deck. The individual with his arms behind his back was Admiral Jay Johnson, immediate past Chief of Naval Operations for the USN."
Above info made available by Aerofiles. You can visit their really cool aviation site at http://www.aerofiles.com
USS Hancock CVA19 CR Division Flight Deck Page