Each airplane has its own peculiar features and needs to be handled differently while approaching the aircraft carrier for a trap landing. Because of its wingspan of 28 m (the largest among the aircraft that are assigned to an Air Wing), the E-2C Hawkeye is a particularly difficult aircraft to land on the flight deck. Even more so at night or in bad weather, as in the video you can find below.
The clip was filmed in December 2020, during USS Theodore Roosevelt’s SUSTEX (sustainment exercise) in preparation for deployment. SUSTEX is an integrated and comprehensive exercise designed to test the strike group’s ability to successfully carry out its mission, preserve freedom of the seas, deter aggression and, if needed, fight.
Last year, the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group consisted of Carrier Strike Group 9, USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11, the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), Destroyer Squadron 23, and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Russell (DDG 59) and USS John Finn (DDG 113).
Among the squadrons belonging to CVW-11 there were also the “Liberty Bells” of Airborne Command and Control Squadron (VAW) 115, equipped with the E-2C Hawkeye.
The footage gives an idea of the workload in the cockpit required to land the E-2 starting off “Clara” ship (unable to see glide slope, centerline, or the aircraft carrier itself) from the start (3/4 of a mile) until the in the middle (between 1/2 and 1/4 mile). At the end, as the Hawkeye approaches the fantail, below the cloud deck, the visibility improves and the flight deck becomes visible, despite some light rain.