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no catapult


PicklePicklePickle
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I tried something the other day. I just went to one side of the carrier, punched the afterburner and was able to take off with no catapult. I then tried it with a weapons load and was able to repeatedly do it as well. Is this accurate? Very interesting if so, i always thought without the catapult the f-14 couldnt get off the deck.

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1 hour ago, PicklePicklePickle said:

I tried something the other day. I just went to one side of the carrier, punched the afterburner and was able to take off with no catapult. I then tried it with a weapons load and was able to repeatedly do it as well. Is this accurate? Very interesting if so, i always thought without the catapult the f-14 couldnt get off the deck.

In theory, the tomcat could, probably not a TF-30 cat

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There's are a few reasons you don't use AB during launch or landing the way you do in the Hornet, and this is one of them. Tomcat has a ridiculous amount of thrust, especially the B model in full burner. Given how slow it can go with wings spread and flaps down, it's quite possible it'd be able to reach that speed before running out of deck. IRL, it'd be highly unsafe and probably damage the carrier, plus there's asymmetric AB ignition to look out for, but I don't see why it wouldn't be technically possible. Just a very bad idea. 🙂

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Yeah, they did, but that's a completely different aircraft, noted for its STOL performance (a common feature of tactical airlifters). Whereas the Herc does what it does by design, Tomcat relies on the sheer amount of thrust its engines can put out. Also, Herc could land without using a tailhook, something that's not quite possible in the Tomcat.

 

TBH, with a lightly loaded bird, this isn't such a huge deal. The Nimitz-class is about 300m (1000ft) long, and that's plenty of runway for a fighter, if you're not worried about safety margins. In fact, the idea is more or less similar to taking off using a ski jump, only in that case, it allows you to carry decent payload without having as much TWR as the Tomcat does. The catapult allows larger payloads and a wider variety of aircraft than a ski jump, it's mostly worth it when you intend your air wing to not only consist of fighters. Notice that non-US carriers don't typically have an equivalent to a C-2 or E-2, using helicopters or working with land-based aircraft instead.

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