Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Push a Button, Land on a Carrier

CowboyNeal posted more than 9 years ago | from the auto-pilots dept.

Upgrades 240

sane? writes "Putting an aircraft down on a carrier in bad weather is the stuff of melodramatic Hollywood films. Automated systems for conventional aircraft and big carriers has been done for a while, but getting a hovering Harrier, helicopter, or future JSF to land on a pitching deck of a smaller ship is a different matter. This week QinetiQ demonstrated a complete autoland - a significant step towards making the future JSF work."

cancel ×

240 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

I GOT A GREASED UP YODA DOLL SHOVED UP MY ASS! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12599190)

GREASED UP YODA DOLL NOW SHOVED INTO ORBIT!





Ground Control to Yoda Doll
Ground Control to Yoda Doll
Take your ass grease pills and put your helmet on
Ground Control to Yoda Doll
Commencing countdown, engines on
Check ignition and may God's love shove up you
Ten, Nine, Eight, Seven, Six, Five, Four, Three, Two, One, Shove Up
This is Ground Control to Yoda Doll
You've really made the grade
And the papers want to know whose butts you tear
Now it's time to leave the suppository if you dare
"This is Yoda Doll to Ground Control
I'm stepping through the door
And I'm stinking in a most peculiar way
And the ass look very different today
For here am I sitting in an ass can
Far inside the butt
My face is turning blue
And there's nothing I can do
Though I'm past one hundred thousand bowels
I'm feeling very still
And I think my buttship knows which way to go
Tell my wife I ream her very much, she knows"
Ground Control to Yoda Doll
Your circuit's dead, there's something wrong
Can you hear me, Yoda Doll?
Can you hear me, Yoda Doll?
Can you hear me, Yoda Doll?
Can you....
"Here am I floating in my ass can
Far inside his Moon
My face is turning blue
And there's nothing I can do."







Ohh boy (0, Troll)

Primal_theory (859040) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599193)

I hope it doesn't run on windows, then it would bring such fatal irony to the infamous blue screen of death...

Hopefully not running Windows (-1, Offtopic)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599195)

We don't want the blue whale of death getting in the way.

LOOOOOOOL (1)

dcom (814853) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599199)

FP GNAA LOL

YOU FAIL IT TO MY GREASED UP YODA DOLL, FAILURE! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12599229)

YODA PWNZ GNAA!

achtung (0, Flamebait)

Opportunist Troll (873090) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599200)

lol jews

It doesn't look precise enough (2, Insightful)

nyekulturniy (413420) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599206)

10 cm errors are still significant enough to cause an aircraft to be damaged landing, or to cause damage landing. It sounds like the news article is actually a press release/prospectus in disguise.

Re:It doesn't look precise enough (1, Insightful)

metlin (258108) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599244)

Yeah, but it's gotta start somewhere.

Only a matter of time before the margin is improved.

Re:It doesn't look precise enough (5, Interesting)

Junta (36770) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599280)

Is it though? When driving your car, can you confidently say you know within a margin of error of 10 cm *exactly* where your car is, 1/3rd of a foot? You can bet pilots don't know within 10cm where there plane is relative to anything outside the plane. If any operation of such a large vehicle operated by a person required better than 10cm of precision to avoid damage, there would be serious problems..

Re:It doesn't look precise enough (3, Insightful)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599581)

When driving your car, can you confidently say you know within a margin of error of 10 cm *exactly* where your car is, 1/3rd of a foot?

When you're parking, maybe. 10cm may mean the difference between simply parking and breaking off a mirror.

Re:It doesn't look precise enough (2, Informative)

uberdave (526529) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599590)

When landing a harrier on a pitching, rolling aircraft carrier deck, 10cm doesn't make any difference at all. In fact, it's pretty much a precision touchdown.

Re:It doesn't look precise enough (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599612)

Very true. 10cm is easily enough precision for an aircraft.

I hope it can cater for 'natural errors' too. (1)

reality-bytes (119275) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599289)



While the article does tell of 'all weather' capabilities, the cruel sea is often outside the bounds of normally accepted 'weather'.

Its worth remembering that the decks of RN carriers are extremely confined spaces, I would hope that if the system can't cater itself for the 1 in a Million chance wave that pitches the carriers superstructure towards the landing aircraft (causing damage to both) that it will still allow the pilot to assume control and direct his broken aircraft to the best of his ability over the side before pulling the handle and praying to Martin Baker for safe delivery.

A burning aircraft on the deck / superstructure is generally thought to be a Bad Thing(tm).

Indeed, in 1982 during the Falklands campaign when the Harrier had just entered service, it was operated in some very nasty weather conditions from the RN Thru Deck Cruisers (Carriers) by nothing more than human RN Pilots and the seat of their pants.

Re:It doesn't look precise enough (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12599323)

Know a lot about avionics do you? No? Didn't think so.

Why so slashdotters think they are qualified to criticise technology they know nothing about? These people are pro avionics experts, engineers and mathematicians. You, most probably are not. I seriously doubt you are all three. If 10cm is a problem, you can be damn sure they would know about it, and would have taken it into account.

You, sitting there are your chair, taking a break between bashing out perl web scripts or whatever everyday menial tech job you probably do, do not know enough about avionics to even understand this.

Yes, you may well be a professor or avonics or something, but all slashdotters seem to criticise technology they don't understand, so this is a general problem.

Re:It doesn't look precise enough (3, Informative)

hazee (728152) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599349)

Even a single seater fighter is a big beast, compared to say, a family car. If you've ever seen a Harrier thump down on the deck of a carrier, you'll see that the suspension gives considerably more than 10cm as the plane makes contact. I think 10cm is more than good enough - certainly better than any current pilot, and they seem to do OK.

Re:It doesn't look precise enough (1)

thhamm (764787) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599388)

ever flown an airplane by yourself? it would be nearly impossible if 10cm would make a difference.

for autoland itself - except for the higher precision in this case - nothing new. google up what CAT IIIc ILS approach means.

10 cm is better than meat can do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12599402)

No way that a human pilot trapping could consistently hit within 10 cm of the optimal landing spot. They're given a margin for a reason. It's not like the seperation between the meat-ball (fresnel lends system that helps pilot judge glideslope) and the tower of the island is equal to 1cm + wingspan of F14.

10 cm is phenomenal.

Re:10 cm is better than meat can do (1)

thhamm (764787) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599436)

i`d bet they even could do an automated mid-air refuel with this precision.

Re:It doesn't look precise enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12599420)

10 cm errors are still significant enough to cause an aircraft to be damaged landing


No they're not. You land a carrier-based jet like you don't need it again. As the pilot, your main concern is that you don't slam into the back of the ship. The undercarriage components will take care of the rest. If you miss the arrestor system, you're either near or at reheat so you simply try again. With a VTOL, the only way to recover from a major cockup is to eject and lose the aircraft. Carrier and VTOL aircraft have the design latitude to land way harder than you could possibly imagine.

Simpsons quote (4, Funny)

smcavoy (114157) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599208)

yeah, yeah but it's close enough
"God Bless the idiot proof air force" -- Side show Bob

Nice stuff... (-1, Offtopic)

Sensible Clod (771142) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599217)

now if only they had something like this for Windows...

Re:Nice stuff... (1)

Primal_theory (859040) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599227)

Well, this, combined with that fake windows patch, would result, in well, a very, very fatal day for airplanes

And how... (0, Troll)

thegamerformelyknown (868463) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599221)

Not trying to troll, but how is this "News for Nerds."?

Re:And how... (1)

Sensible Clod (771142) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599233)

It is a computer-guided system, that's how. Besides, look at all the opportunities for Windows-bashing jokes!

Re:And how... (-1, Troll)

thegamerformelyknown (868463) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599259)

True, but I don't see a lot of geek content here, just American type propaganda.

Re:And how... (5, Informative)

Uber Banker (655221) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599310)

I don't see a lot of geek content here, just American type propaganda.

Well, a British aeroplane (Harrier), a British company (Qinetic), a British ship (HMS Invincible), carried by a British news service (BBC). Damn this Americanisation. Oh... what language are these posts in, English?

Plus its pretty cool, IMHO, that a computer can do this given the huge difficulty and inability to simplify the process (wind, gravity, thrust) into simple mechanics.

Re:And how... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12599512)

I thought Britain was like, owned by America?

Re:And how... (1)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599396)

"The pride of the American airfoce , the brittish built harrier jump jet."
Ins't this news about a _Brtittish system , by a Brittish company , Reported by the Brittish broadcasting corperation.... I know Tony blair is a bit of a tool , but its not the 51st state yet

Land on a Carrier? (2, Interesting)

Mensa Babe (675349) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599225)

The correct headline sould be: Push a button and land on a carrier as long as there is no software "glitch" or any single thing unforseen by the programmers, because unlike a real pilot, the computer will not quickly learn new skills to survive. Or are they going to make the system perfect, just like ABS, or ATMs, or PC software? Good luck.

Re:Land on a Carrier? (3, Insightful)

BenjyD (316700) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599270)

Flight controls on F-16s, F/A-18s, Airbuses and no doubt others are already computerised. Along with ILS/autopilot on most airliners. Reliable computers can be built, it's just that the cost of that reliability is too great for non-critical applications.

Military training tends to start off with the simplest methods and work up to the more modern: navigation, AFAIK, starts with dead reckoning, maps and compasses and only later introduces GPS.

Re:Land on a Carrier?... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12599542)

Navigating with a map and compass can involve compelx trigonometry. Using a GPS is childsplay in comparison.

They are NOT the ..."simplest methods'...

Re:Land on a Carrier? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12599578)

A friend of mine was an airline pilot. He said the only reason he was on the plane was for takeoffs, taxiing and if anything unexpected happened (engine failure, hydraulic failure, wing falling off, passengers on no-fly list on board and so on.) The rest of the flight was completly automatic. He said he didn't even need to touch the stick for landing. I'm not sure why takeoffs were manual, something more complicated/dangerous about it??

I think he still flew the plane around airports, getting into the pattern and such, but if I understand correctly that could just as easily have been programmed in.

Re:Land on a Carrier? (1)

Adult film producer (866485) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599367)

oh please, don't be so dramatic. Landing on a carrier is not really that big of a deal, once you've had a little training the simulator, and buddied with another pilot in for the real thing, it's pretty easy. Consider the size of the jet being flown compared to the size of the aircraft carrier. It's small.. real small, hell the deck probably has 40 or 50 sitting on top, that should give you some perspective on the room available for landing. Again not a big deal.

Re:Land on a Carrier? (1)

ScottyUK (824174) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599447)


hell the deck probably has 40 or 50 sitting on top


You've obviously never seen HMS Invincible then, http://www.royal-navy.mod.uk/static/pages/1469.htm l/ [royal-navy.mod.uk] , if you think it can hold 40/50 aircraft on the top deck. Harriers do not land on UK carriers "in-flight" as US aircraft would on a massive vessel (Nimitz, perhaps?); they require to hover above the deck and lower down onto the ship. Hovering alone is hard enough and combined with pitching/heaving seas and a deck that is constantly in motion, landing there is a big deal...but I'm sure you could do it better.

Re:Land on a Carrier? (1)

coolcold (805170) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599369)

on the other hand, real pilot do make mistakes while computer software (with good hardware and reasonable conditions) don't. You can always test your software before deployment.

Re:Land on a Carrier? (2, Insightful)

Spodlink05 (850651) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599399)

The correct headline sould be: Push a button and land on a carrier as long as there is no software "glitch" or any single thing unforseen by the programmers, because unlike a real pilot, the computer will not quickly learn new skills to survive. Or are they going to make the system perfect, just like ABS, or ATMs, or PC software? Good luck.

Funny how the EuroFighter, JSF and numerous other unstable-by-design aircraft would fall out of the sky if it wasn't for the computers constantly making tiny adjustments and generally flying the plane in the first place.

Technology for the 'flying car'?? (2, Interesting)

guyfromindia (812078) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599234)

From TFA
The simplicity of the new system was aptly demonstrated when a pilot with no previous fast jet experience, safely landed a STOVL aircraft unaided - a feat unimaginable before.
That's pretty amazing! Wonder if similar technology will one day pave the way for the 'flying car'. Automatically controlling landing and takeoff for a domestic 'flying car' will go a long way in making it practically feasible...

Ye gods, I'm such a geek... (4, Funny)

Blondie-Wan (559212) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599243)

So help me, when I saw the reference in the write-up about landing a JSF, I first thought "Jedi Starfighter." I must need help...

The Button May Need Some Work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12599252)

Call me stupid, but I thought that in naval terms, having land on a carrier would be a bad thing. "Wouldn't Push a Button, Dock a Carrier" be better?

Re:The Button May Need Some Work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12599304)

stupid...

Re:The Button May Need Some Work (1)

craXORjack (726120) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599539)

"Wouldn't Push a Button, Dock a Carrier" be better?

I would've thought that "Push Button, Accomplish Mission" was best.

Re:The Button May Need Some Work (1)

jlebrech (810586) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599550)

Yeah there's already a button that does that.

looked rather pleasant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12599261)

The weather looked quite ideal for a flawless landing. Since the whole idea is for a craft to land in adverse weather conditions, I don't see how this means much of anything. And how about when the automated landing system gets destroyed by say a midair collision, ground fire, etc. They are quite far away from a system that could be deployed in everyday carrier operation, let alone a combat situation.

Re:looked rather pleasant (3, Insightful)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599398)

The weather looked quite ideal for a flawless landing. Since the whole idea is for a craft to land in adverse weather conditions, I don't see how this means much of anything.

It's the first test of an automated landing system. Get it to work in easy conditions first, then refine the process. Or would you rather they the first test with their one and only prototype aircraft be with an aircraft critically short on fuel, trying to land on the deck of a torpedo damaged ship, in the north atlantic during a hurricane?

And how about when the automated landing system gets destroyed by say a midair collision, ground fire, etc.

How about when it isn't shot out? This is a system to reduce pilot workload at the end of a stressful flight. If its damaged, maybe then the pilot reverts back to trying to land it manually. What's the big deal? You think they'll completely remove any possibility of a backup system? Just like with fly-by-wire controls. OMFG!! What happens when the wire breaks??!!?? STOOPID IDEA!! STOOPID IDEA!!
No, then the other 2 reduntant systems take over.

They are quite far away from a system that could be deployed in everyday carrier operation, let alone a combat situation.

Yeah. Just like every other prototype system in existence. Give it time to be developed. It just might work.
"QinetiQ has achieved the world's first automatic landing of a short take-off vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft on a ship."

REAL Pilots.... (1)

ecko3437 (802386) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599267)

Pilots probably wont use this. Pilots dont use the autoland available to them now for STOLs, so why would they for VTOLs (Vertical Take-off and Landing)? Some pride thing.

It is pretty neat though. /reads Tom Clancy books too much //got above info from a non-fiction one, back off

What the hell...it's only karma... (3, Funny)

Robber Baron (112304) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599273)

"Today," you takee kamikaze airprane far up into sky, over Yankee aircraft carrier, then takee kamikaze prane...down fast! crashing on the deck, killing yourself and all aboard!
Before we have a ceremonial sake toast, are there any questions?"

"Honorable general-san!"
"Hai?"
"Are you out of your fucking mind?"

Re:What the hell...it's only karma... (1)

metlin (258108) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599300)

Ouch!

The sad part is, they probably were too brainwashed to even say something like that. If they had, the war would have ended a long time ago.

Re:What the hell...it's only karma... (1)

hanssprudel (323035) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599314)

If they had, the war would have ended a long time ago.

Umm, det war did end a long time ago...

Re:What the hell...it's only karma... (1)

metlin (258108) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599336)

Okay, a longer time ago?

Longer than the long time ago.

Re:What the hell...it's only karma... (1)

mikael (484) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599387)

The whole population was brainwashed. That's the sad part - even after two nuked cities, they still wanted to keep the war going, all to please the Emperor.

It won't be long now... (0, Offtopic)

MattW (97290) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599282)

until those 'smart' aircraft start taking over [yahoo.com] . Be afraid!

Re:It won't be long now... (0, Offtopic)

johnamus (872886) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599315)

And even when the movie does come out, continue to be afraid.

Canadians can already land on pitching decks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12599287)

land on a pitching deck of a smaller ship is a different matter.

Or do it the Canadian Way. Hover just above the ship and slap a haul-down winch onto the aircraft, and pull it onto the ship ....

RAST (2, Interesting)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599487)

US Navy Spruance[1], Ticonderoga, and Perry class ships have a Recovery Assist, Securing, and Traversal system that reels in an SH60B, locks it in place on the deck, and then can pull it into the hangar, once the origami is done.
Sometimes, a good ol' fashioned electro-hydraulic system is OK.

[1]Didn't fact-check to discover if any remain in commission.

What about the Bear Trap? Re:Canadians can already (1)

Freshly Exhumed (105597) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599554)

Glad you mentioned it the Canadian electromechanical invention, four decades old now, that is nicknamed the "Bear Trap" and has been working just fine all that time:

http://www.readyayeready.com/timeline/1960s/beartr ap/ [readyayeready.com]

So the question becomes: Why reinvent what works great already?

What is old is new...

Yuo fail i7... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12599288)

Great line recited by Frederick March (2, Interesting)

vudufixit (581911) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599293)

In the underrated, underappreciated film Bridges at Toko-Ri: "Where do we get such men? They leave this ship and they do their job; then they must find this speck, lost somewhere on the sea, and when they have found it they have to land on its pitching deck. Where do we get such men?"

Prediction: JSF will not be purchased in bulk (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12599312)

You can already see the military placing a side bet in unmanned drones. What would you rather have? 100 drones or one F22? The dogfight is no longer a central aspect of warfare, ground-to-air missile technology is adequately cheap and effective enough to remove any threat from the air...and by cheap I mean you can fire ten missiles at a target (rest assured one will hit it) for the cost of one manned sortie.

Re:Prediction: JSF will not be purchased in bulk (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599483)

I think it will be a combination. 4 drones slaved to 1 F-22 or AC-130 until they get to the target area. Then the mother ship assess the situation, and lets loose the drones at specific targets, or uses them as decoys for SAMs.

Re:Prediction: JSF will not be purchased in bulk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12599513)

Those assessments can all be made with remote-sensing, the way it is already done. Sorties are not lunched anymore on a lark, they already have satellite imagery of what they want to achieve before they take off.

Re:Prediction: JSF will not be purchased in bulk (2, Insightful)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599559)

True, but conditions can change from when the mission is planned to arrival at the target area. What I was speaking was far more AI in the drone aircraft, rather than a pilot flying it from a trailer on the ground. And from what I've heard, flying a Predator is harder than flying a regular aircraft. No seat of the pants feel, and a narrower view on the monitor as opposed to being able to swivel your head around.

We already have fully automated 'drones', that will follow a preset route to a preset point and hit it. Cruise missiles. Next, there needs to be a system to change that route or target after launch.

Re:Prediction: JSF will not be purchased in bulk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12599551)

"by cheap I mean you can fire ten missiles at a target (rest assured one will hit it) for the cost of one manned sortie."

During Desert Storm, Iraqi forces shot tons of anti-aircraft missiles in the air in order to shoot down incoming F-117 Nighthawk stealth planes [globalaircraft.org] , but none of them were scratched -- all jets returned safely after striking their respective targets.

Although I'll agree that the air force is putting more emphasis on unmanned drones, I would't call fighter jets obsolete, by any stretch of the imagination. If there was a target that had to be destroyed in a time-critical fashion (say an enemy early-defense radar station), I'd rather prefer to have a stealth fighter take it out, instead of a drone swarm.

Bottom line: Fighter jets are good for mission-critical objectives, Drones are good for suppression.

Re:Prediction: JSF will not be purchased in bulk (1)

DJDutcher (823189) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599686)

Actually TFA isn't talking about F22s. When I first read the head line, I thought they meant F22s as well, but they are talking about the F35.

Lockheed Martin's supersonic F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is a family of stealthy, next-generation replacement strike fighter aircraft for the US Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, the UK Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, and allied nations worldwide.

Prior Art - They will get sued! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12599368)

One-click carrier landings are currently covered under a Jeff Bezos patent.

Canadians got it right (again) (3, Interesting)

y2imm (700704) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599370)

Since the 60s we've been winching down our SeaKings, that is, when they're weren't falling out of the sky on their own...

http://www.readyayeready.com/timeline/1960s/beartr ap/ [readyayeready.com]

Re:Canadians got it right (again) (1)

Spodlink05 (850651) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599413)

One helicopter crashes in Canada and suddenly every SeaKing is unsafe?

Re:Canadians got it right (again) (1)

xfmr_expert (853170) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599617)

I remember seeing a Canadian Sea King crash in front of me at the air show in Schenectady, NY 10 or 12 years ago. There's video footage of it floating around somewhere on the internet. They were supposed to be just moving it prior to the show when they were showing off for the crowd. They lost oil pressure or something like that and were forced to autorotate. Hit the right side, main blades caught, spun around and broke in half. Not something you see every day.

Re:Canadians got it right (again) (1)

Xochil (542406) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599537)

The Sea King (aka "Sea Pig") is probably the safest maritime helo ever built.

--Mike

Um... (2, Interesting)

ctr2sprt (574731) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599372)

Automated systems for conventional aircraft and big carriers has been done for a while, but getting a hovering Harrier, helicopter, or future JSF to land on a pitching deck of a smaller ship is a different matter.
I'm not sure I follow how this is supposed to be harder than landing a jet on a carrier. I have no doubts whatsoever that it's a difficult process no matter what your vehicle, don't get me wrong. But with a VTOL aircraft you primarily worry about adjustments in one dimension (altitude). With a traditional aircraft you have to worry about two (forward velocity plus altitude). With a helicopter, for instance, as long as you "float" over the deck without hitting anything, you can land anywhere. With a jet, you have to hit a very small patch of deck to catch the tailhooks and arrest your forward motion.

Hmm. Now that I think about it, I may be wrong. An aircraft's altitude is controlled significantly by its forward speed. (Go faster, you go higher; go slower, you go lower.) Perhaps it is mainly a one-dimensional problem. Still, I don't see how landing a jet is markedly easier than landing a helicopter.

I guess I can summarize this post by saying, "I'm ignorant. Someone with more than a handful of hours of flight time, please enlighten me." (Yes, I have flown single-engine Cessnas, but only the aforementioned handful of hours. Takeoff but not landing, and certainly not on an aircraft carrier. My "knowledge" there is mainly from my father, who was a Navy fighter pilot in the late 1940s, so that "knowledge" doesn't even extend to jets.)

Re:Um... (4, Interesting)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599458)

With a traditional jet, you have to hit a small specific area on the deck. The ship is moving forward, possibly pitching or rolling at the same time. But the ships forward speed is a small fraction of the aircrafts forward speed.

Landing vertically, helicopter or Harrier, you have to match the forward speed of the ship (maybe 10-20 knots), compensate for pitch and roll so the deck doesn't come up and slap your landing gear off, and adjust for your own ground effect as you near the surface of the deck. Also, depending on space and where you're supposed to set down, you may be coming down not in line with the ship, but maybe trying to fly sideways at 15 knots.

It's not necessarily easier or harder, just a different set of conditions that need to be met and compensated for.

Re:Um... (1)

omb (759389) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599489)

Carrier landings in heavy jets eg F14, F15 are hard
since the time of approach must be matched to the
deck motion, you dont want to meet a rising stern,
the vertical descent needs to me higher than on land to break aqua-plane and the hook should catach the three wire

It is made harder yet by the large lag between making power adjustments and them taking and by
the need to be in full takeoff power at touchdown
so you can 'bolt' a broken wire or hook

Finally there is the everpresent consideration that, if you do have to eject, you want to be at least 200 yards off track to avoid being hamburgered by the screws.

Re:Um... (2, Informative)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599518)

Carrier landings in heavy jets eg F14, F15 are hard

F-15's don't fly off carriers.

so you can 'bolt' a broken wire or hook

bolter

Re:Um... (5, Interesting)

Xochil (542406) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599499)

I can't speak for VTOL, as US aircraft carriers (CVs and CVNs) do not normally carry them. Having been helo aircrew for hundreds of shipboard landings (mostly CV, but quite a few small boy decks as well), I can say you don't just float over the deck and put her down.

On a carrier, you're directed to land on one of 5-6 circles called "spots" Spots 1-2 are generally at near the bow, 3-4 (where most HS [the type of squadron deployed on carriers] landings occur are port side aft of the angled deck, and 5-6 are near the stern.

If you miss your spot, the air boss will personally check in to whether your wings should be pulled. ; )

No question about it, it's easier to land a helo on a CV/CVN than a fixed winger. However, I took the comment about smaller ships to imply frigates, destroyers, crusiers, and the like. It is definitely not easy to land on one of those when the deck is pitching all over the place. The RAST systems in use by much of the HSL community helps, but send a non RAST-equipped helo to a small boy in high seas...and the pucker factor is high.

--Mike

The helos are always the first to take off and last to land.

Re:Um... (4, Interesting)

HardCase (14757) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599623)

No question about it, it's easier to land a helo on a CV/CVN than a fixed winger. However, I took the comment about smaller ships to imply frigates, destroyers, crusiers, and the like. It is definitely not easy to land on one of those when the deck is pitching all over the place. The RAST systems in use by much of the HSL community helps, but send a non RAST-equipped helo to a small boy in high seas...and the pucker factor is high.

After spending five years aboard a US Navy FFG, I have a lot of respect for the helo crew. Landing on a deck that's pitching up and down over a range of five to ten feet, plus rolling a total of 30 degrees is tough enough - but right in front of the aircraft is a solid wall of metal that would cheerfully shred the rotors. Plus, the ship is moving.

When the SH-60B that we carried landed, the tail extended over the end of the flight deck. It's a big helicopter landing in a very small spot. And I've got to say that the five or six times that I flew, the landing was absolutely terrifying. And these guys were flying several missions a day whenever we were at sea.

Oh, and RAST was broken half of the time, too.

-h-

Re:Um... (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599522)

With a helicopter, for instance, as long as you "float" over the deck without hitting anything, you can land anywhere.

I'm guessing that if the deck is going up and down by 20 feet every few seconds then "floating" over the deck without hitting it gets somewhat tricky. I know nothing of actually landing choppers in such conditions, but I understand that being lowered from a chopper onto the deck can be very dangerous, leading to broken bones or even death (large waves really do lift ships reasonable distances at quite a speed).

I AM KING OF THREADS (-1, Redundant)

Esteban Buttez (885813) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599380)

Yo MC We Gonna ROCK Dis Place Out Nigga Yo Yo Yo Yo Yo Yo Yo Yo Yo Yo Yo Yo Yo

Re:I AM KING OF THREADS (0, Flamebait)

Esteban Buttez (885813) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599434)

hay which NERD gave me a bad score dis was the best post EVAR i call yo pUNK ass out for a FIGHT if ya aint scared

Consumer product (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12599381)

I'm sure I'm not the only one who got a wife who can't navigate the car into a driveway. Having an automatic parking for women would save the grass and garage from further damage.

-1, Flamebait, but I guess you're not married.

Re:Consumer product (0, Flamebait)

Esteban Buttez (885813) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599401)

Yeah, leik a greasy misogynic NERD like you would have a wife. I bet women would rather be lesbian than go anywhere near your two-inch light sabre!!!

Re:Consumer product (1)

jlebrech (810586) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599470)

Re:Consumer product (0, Troll)

Esteban Buttez (885813) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599480)

what kind of FAGGOIT BUTT PIRATE goes to da newgrounds.com i'd rather have lunix on my computer than watch that shiznit

huh? (5, Funny)

ms1234 (211056) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599418)

The technology could also be used on helicopters, frigates and destroyers.

When are we going to see frigates and destroyes landing on carriers?-)

Re:huh? (1)

kclittle (625128) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599545)

LOL! Beat me to it. I read it the same way. What an image!

-k

Re:huh? (1)

david duncan scott (206421) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599662)

Well, it's been done the other way a few times, so it seems only fair...

My thoughts on Mil Tech (4, Insightful)

CHESTER COPPERPOT (864371) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599471)

The ability to land an aircraft automatically onto a ship will enable pilots of JSF to conduct missions by day or night and in weather conditions that would previously have not been possible.

I've worked with the triumvirate of engineers, officers, and soldiers/airmen/sailors during trials of new military technology and I can say it'd be pretty good odds that this automatic ship landing on the STOVL aircraft wasn't tested under extreme conditions such as enemy and weather. I wonder if it was tested on high seas, massive winds or snow?

I know /. likes to think about the "oooh wow gosh!" factor of shiny technology but a lot of the time new military technology gets tested under the easiest of conditions by risk fearing engineers. It then gets pumped up by career minded military officers (who resemble business marketers) and then left for the end users in combat to deal with the bullshit. Try repost the article when this new automatic button has been tested under extreme conditions, seen numerous deployments and used by actual end users not in a sterile environment.

Re:My thoughts on Mil Tech (1)

kclittle (625128) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599564)

MOD THIS UP! So true, so true....

My Jock (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12599473)

As swashbuckling as fighter jocks can be (I've known a few) if an automated landing system proved near perfect there would be quite a few who would be happy to sign up for it.

Even the most self assured pilots hate landing (read: controlled crash-landing) on carriers at night in adverse conditions. Scares the crap out of them.

But there would be some resistance. As there are people who are better coders than others there are pilots who are better at landing on an aircraft carrier than others. As a matter of fact naval pilots on a carrier are constantly graded and ranked according to their landing performance. And I can't see the good ones wanting to give up control over the aircraft or wanting to give up their status as a top naval pilot.

Automated system huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12599492)

I would love to stress this system when they are done. I can just about guarantee they will not properly test this system (come on, it's English) and the computer will go haywire under the right circumstances (a la Harrier mishaps and that awful turbo prop VTOL plane).

For example, they should start the landing sequence then hit the side of the aircraft with a large object and see how the computer handles a sudden jolt in one direction. Or how about simulating air turbulence where the aircraft suddenly rises or drop 10 or 20 feet.

You would think that kind of testing is common sense and in fact they often test the hardware under these circumstances but the software is rarely tested properly.

Hopefully they will test that sort of stuff, but I know engineers all to well. Hopefully they have actual computer programmers working on this and not just the typical engineer wannabe programmers. Unfortunately that is usually the way it works though. Hardware engineers have no business writing software.

Re:Automated system huh (1)

Esteban Buttez (885813) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599502)

more like stress ur dick to shemalez lol

mod 3own (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12599510)

provide sod4s,

Re:mod 3own (1)

Esteban Buttez (885813) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599524)

HAY NIGGA i challenge yo ass to a FIGHT if u dare

breakthrough (3, Funny)

moviepig.com (745183) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599533)

...getting a hovering Harrier, helicopter, or future JSF to land on a pitching deck...

A major aid to this advance was the recent development of industrial-strength flypaper...

Girlfriend (1)

MarkRose (820682) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599572)

What so exciting about this? If I push my girlfriend's wrong button, I land on an aircraft carrier, too!

Melodramatic? (1)

Mike Schiraldi (18296) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599577)

Don't use big words if you don't know what they mean [answers.com] .

When do we get "Push button, install democracy"? (1, Insightful)

bazmail (764941) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599582)

When do we get "Push button, install democracy"?

First automated V/STOL landing (4, Informative)

Phaid (938) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599622)

Despite all the skepticism being bandied about military technology on this site, automated carrier landings are not new. The first fully automated landing on an aircraft carrier took place on Aug. 12, 1957, when an F3D Skyknight was landed on USS Antietam (CVA 36) at sea off Pensacola, Fla., by the Automatic Carrier Landing System (ACLS). That's right, over 40 years ago. That system is still in wide use today, and is only now slowly being replaced by the JPALS (Joint Precision Approach and Landing System) system which uses GPS instead of the radar used by ACLS.

The QinetiQ system described in the article (which is itself a component of JPALS) is remarkable in that it automates vertical landings. I'm kind of uncertain as to why that had never been done before, though I think it has more to do with the much lower level of interest, and therefore funding, than because of any technical challenge.

Impressive - but... (1, Troll)

nozzo (851371) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599635)

If only so much money and effort could be directed at improving peoples lives in the third world. What a skewed perspective we have.

Simulink (1)

dspacemonkey (776615) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599660)

Even better (for you Matlab geeks out there), is that the VAAC harrier flight law can be programmed using Simulink.

You can play around with Simulink blocks in the morning, hit Ctrl+B to compile it, load it onto the harrier and fly it in the afternoon. Fast protoyping takes on a whole new dimension...(the vertical?)

BTW, they're allowed to do this because the second pilot has a 'kill-switch' thingy and can take over with the normal controls at any time. Not that that would do him any good if it all goes tits up anywhere under 500ft AGL.

Photoshopped logo? (4, Interesting)

KFury (19522) | more than 9 years ago | (#12599673)

Did anyone else notice that the QinetiQ logo 'painted' on the body of the fighter appears to be just a poor photoshop job? Looks like their logo wasn't on the aircraft (or at least visible in this shot) so they decided to slap one on after the fact.

High-res photo [qinetiq.com] and a zoomed close-up [fury.com]
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>