USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, At Sea -- The aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) conducted its first helicopter recovery on a newly added flight deck precision landing site July 22.
The precision landing site is one of two that do not overlap the flight path for fixed-wing aircraft, adding enhanced flight operation capability to Truman's embarked helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft squadrons.
"These landing sites do not foul the flight path for fixed-wing aircraft," said Lt. Larry Tarver, Truman's aircraft handling officer. "The Navy has added these sites to other Nimitz-class aircraft carriers, but this is Truman's first landing on that site. It is a capability that makes Truman more versatile."
Truman recovered an MH-60S Sea Hawk assigned to the "Dusty Dogs" of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 7.
"Because of the new landing site, Truman won't have to stop fixed-wing flight operations to recover our helicopters," said Lt. Dan Didier, the HSC-7 pilot who completed the first precision site landing.
During flight operations on previous deployments and underways, HSC-7 waited for Truman to pause fixed-wing aircraft operations in order to land.
"Before, we would land, refuel, swap aircrew, and take off from a position on the flight deck that interrupted fixed-wing flight operations," said Didier. "It was necessary, but it interrupted the flow of the flight deck."
According to Didier, helicopter recovery and launch took up to 30 minutes to complete, interrupting fixed-wing flight operations for more than 40 minutes per helicopter landing.
"Now we can launch and recover fixed-wing aircraft while refueling or landing a helicopter," said Tarver.
The landing was successful, and HSC-7 plans to begin landing helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft in the future.
"This capability helps HSC-7, it helps Truman, and it makes us a more ready team," said Didier.