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Watch Amazing Slo-Mo Footage Carrier Qualifications Aboard the USS Eisenhower

These Student Naval Aviators Precariously Close To Earning Their Wings of Gold

Official US Navy photograph

Before a Student Naval Aviator (SNA) earns those coveted Wings of Gold, he or she will fly Beechcraft T-6B Texan II (JPATS) trainers with Training Air Wing FOUR (TRAWING 4) at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi or with TRAWING 5 at NAS Whiting Field near Pensacola. If the SNA is destined to fly either strike fighters in the Navy or the Marine Corps or the Grumman E-2 Hawkeye or C-2 Greyhound in the Navy, the SNA will be required to complete carrier qualification (CQ) flying the McDonnell Douglas (Boeing) T-45C Goshawk jet trainer. This HD video, uploaded to YouTube by The Joint Forces Channel, follows a group of SNAs through their CQ syllabus.

Official US Navy photograph

At NAS Corpus Christi, Training Squadron TWO SEVEN (VT-27) Boomers and VT-28 Rangers provide primary flight training for TRAWING 4. At NAS Whiting Field, VT-2 Doerbirds, VT-3 Red Knights, and VT-6 Shooters handle primary for TRAWING 5. In the video clip T-45Cs from both NAS Meridian-based TRAWING 1 (tail code A) and NAS Kingsville-based TRAWING 2 (tail code B) can be seen bagging their first traps aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69).

Official US Navy photograph

TRAWING 1 consists of VT-7 Eagles and VT-9 Tigers. VT-21 Red Hawks and VT-22 Golden Eagles are assigned to TRAWING 2. Both TRAWING 1 and TRAWING 2 count about 250 SNAs, 75 instructor pilots, 80 civilian contract personnel, and 100 T-45Cs on their books. Student jet pilots from France, Italy, Spain, India, and Great Britain have all graduated from the advanced training syllabus. Of course after SNAs become Naval Aviators they still have to train in the specific aircraft type they have chosen, usually accomplished at the Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS)- informally known as the RAG (for Replacement Air Group).

Official US Navy photograph

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Written by Bill Walton

Bill Walton is a life-long aviation enthusiast and expert in aircraft recognition. As a teenager Bill helped his engineer father build an award-winning T-18 homebuilt airplane in their Wisconsin basement. Bill is a freelance writer, an avid sailor, engineer, announcer, husband, father, uncle, mentor, coach, and Navy veteran. Bill lives north of Houston TX with his wife and son under the approach path to KDWH runway 17R, which means they get to look up at a lot of airplanes. A very good thing.