“Naval aviation is an inherently dangerous business, but over the course of more than 75 years, through robust procedures, rigorous training and continuous practice, the U.S. Navy has honed its carrier flight deck operations into a well-oiled machine. Accidents do happen, but the Navy is continually working on improving flight deck safety. Every time there is a mishap, the accident is investigated so that procedures can be refined to prevent a recurrence.
But those lessons have often come at price in lives lost, injuries and monetary costs. Hundreds of men have been killed or injured during accidents at sea onboard a carrier. As one now-retired naval aviator told me—with only slight hyperbole: “Every line in the NATOPS manual is written in blood….”
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