Lewis Griswold

Navy pilots train for carrier landings using the Magic Carpet and praise the ride

Am F/A-18 Super Hornet jet fighter comes in for a carrier practice landing at Lemoore Naval Air Station.
Am F/A-18 Super Hornet jet fighter comes in for a carrier practice landing at Lemoore Naval Air Station. Lemoore Naval Air Station

Super Hornet jet pilots at Lemoore Naval Air Station have a new flight simulator that trains them to use a new flight guidance system for landing on aircraft carriers.

The Navy calls the new guidance system Precision Landing Mode.

But it was originally dubbed the “Magic Carpet,” short for (take a deep breath) Maritime Augmented Guidance with Integrated Controls for Carrier Approach and Recovery Precision Enabling Technologies, according to Naval Aviation News.

The media likes Magic Carpet because it has a nice ring to it.

Whatever it’s called, it will be the norm for carrier landings by 2019.

Pilots must train and get qualified. Lemoore has a trainer, as do the naval air stations at Whidbey Island in Washington and Oceana in Virginia.

Using software on each aircraft that controls flight control surfaces, including flaps, pilots can more easily adjust their landing approach, or glidepath, onto the moving aircraft carrier.

It works well, especially for night landings, said Lt. Brant Schmall, a pilot and landing signal officer at Lemoore. When onboard, he communicates with pilots as they land.

“I would say a large percentage of pilots are happy using it,” he said. “It is absolutely appreciated – the task level is reduced, and that’s helpful  the biggest thing is when you make an adjustment, there’s a near-instantaneous correction.”

Previously, pilots would also increase or decrease power, but now that’s set to be nearly constant.

To be clear, the pilot still flies the plane. It’s not automated flying, he said.

The new system promises safe, predictable landings and so far, the number of successful landings with no need for a second pass is going up, he said.

Precision Landing Mode was rolled out for all aircraft carriers in September, and Lemoore pilots in Carrier Wing 9 started using it on the USS John C. Stennis in November in the Pacific Ocean.

It’s also used by the EA-18 Growler, a Super Hornet version for electronic warfare. The new F-35C aircraft also has a similar system.

Judge Fred Jacobus

Retired judge Fred Jacobus of Visalia has died. He was 94.

A number of lawyers from Fresno were at his funeral Friday, a sign of how highly he was regarded by the legal community.

He was beloved as “a wonderful man” and for his superior skills as a civil mediator, said Gary Paden, a Tulare County Superior Court judge.

“He was one of the pre-eminent civil mediators for years in the Central Valley,” Paden said. “He’d get past all the huff and puff and get right to the issue. He was good, he was very good.”

Jacobus served in World War II as a second lieutenant and was wounded, graduated from Boalt Hall, the University of California at Berkeley, School of Law, where he served on the law review board of editors, and eventually settled in Visalia with his family and opened a law practice.

He served on the Superior Court bench (appointed by Ronald Reagan), and later was the federal magistrate for Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks. He was a Fresno panel member of Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services, Inc., and an independent arbitrator and mediator.

Paralegal Lindy O’Hara worked for Jacobus as a typist and scheduler for 24 years and made sure he didn’t skip lunch.

“He was always there for advice,” she said. “He was humble and thoughtful. He was extraordinary.”

Lewis Griswold cover news of the South Valley for The Bee: 559-441-6104, @fb_LewGriswold