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Why do Aircraft Carriers have the Island on the right ?

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Why do Aircraft Carriers have the Island on the right ?

Old 22nd Apr 2006, 14:47
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Why are aircraft carriers right handed?

The Island on aircraft carriers is always on the right hand side, or starboard.

My question is why?

Is is because aircraft are more likely to swing to the left if there is a problem on take off or landing?

Is it because the ships are easier to dock?

The first aircraft carrier which wasn't a "flat-top" was a British design so surely the French would have gone the other way and built it with the Island on the left.

I think that as the ship came first then the reason is more nautical than aeronautical - hence the post being in JB rather than in questions.

I await your responses...
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Old 22nd Apr 2006, 14:51
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Left hand down a bit.

(Navy Lark, Sub-Lieutenant Phillips)
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Old 22nd Apr 2006, 15:08
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A guess, but it's probably something to do with the fact that most pilots
prefer to fly left hand circuits, also they will automatically turn left to avoid
something. Don't ask me why they do though.
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Old 22nd Apr 2006, 15:16
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So do all pilots dress to the left as well?

Fos
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Old 22nd Apr 2006, 15:21
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How's about........it means the pilots always know which way to land.

Saves all that looking at the wind sock, wittering on the radio etc.
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Old 22nd Apr 2006, 15:21
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Maybe its to do with vessels traditionally berthing port side alongside (hence PORT side). So the operational side of the vessel is to seaward.

Only a possibility maybe?
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Old 22nd Apr 2006, 15:22
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Seems the most likely suggestion yet.


Though wouldn't they have preferred the steering gubbings (and leccie hook-up) to landward?
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Old 22nd Apr 2006, 15:37
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Todays aircraft carrier doesn't need a leccie hook up, it generates enough power to light up a medium sized city.. Interesting question, I was involved with the sea for most of my working life and it never occured to me to query the position, it seemed natural to put it there. Never sailed on one though..
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Old 22nd Apr 2006, 15:53
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Pretty obvious, surely. Tradition. Viking and other. The steering board has always been to, ahhh, starboard. That no doubt is where Lars or Leif or Snorri, being right-handed, wanted to stand, and Lars, Leif or Snorri was the heavy hitter. Maybe it was Sweyn.
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Old 22nd Apr 2006, 15:54
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Initially the island was placed on the starboard side because early propeller aircraft turned to the left more easily because of torque. Once the starboard side position was established it became difficult to change. Pilots used to landing with the island to their right would be confused on a ship with the island on the other side, there was nothing to be gained by changing the location, so it stayed in the same place.

There were, however, two carriers with their islands to port. The Japanese Akagi and Hiryu were fitted with port-side islands. Each was meant to work in a tactical formation with a starboard-island ship (Kaga and Soryu respectively); it was thought that putting the islands opposite sides would improve the flight patterns around the carriers, with aircraft marshalling in opposite directions in the circuit. The carriers with islands on the starboard would travel on the portside of the formation and their aircraft would circle to port. Those with islands on the port travelled on the starboard and their air groups circled to starboard. Wartime experience showed it to be an unnecessary complication with no advantages. The idea was scrapped after the first two ships of the class, the remaining 2, and all later carriers, having starboard islands.

Last edited by ORAC; 22nd Apr 2006 at 16:09.
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Old 22nd Apr 2006, 16:01
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What happens if you land from the opposite direction? Is the island not on the other side then?


(I know, I know all the arrester gear, and on British carriers a great big ramp does not allow for a landing in the opposite direction but why waste a good wind-up?)
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Old 22nd Apr 2006, 16:10
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Akagi, Kaga, Hiryu, and Soryu (the Imperial Navy's four finest carriers) were all sunk by the Yanks at the Battle of Midway (4-7 June, 1942) so in any event, it didn't do them any good....
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Old 22nd Apr 2006, 16:11
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What happens if you land from the opposite direction? Is the island not on the other side then?
MOST carrier ops are done with the ship SAILING (not stationary) into the wind. This gives a small advantage to aircraft taking-off and landing (WRT airspeed).
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Old 22nd Apr 2006, 16:24
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MOST carrier ops are done with the ship SAILING
Don't all those masts and sails get in the way of the aeroplanes?
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Old 22nd Apr 2006, 16:29
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We are sailing, we are sailing,
Home again 'cross the sea.
We are sailing stormy waters,
To be near you, to be free.

HMS Ark Royal
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Old 22nd Apr 2006, 16:58
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Why are aircraft carriers right handed?
Do they have hands?
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Old 22nd Apr 2006, 17:01
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Of course, they man the pumps.....
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Old 22nd Apr 2006, 18:06
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MOST carrier ops are done with the ship SAILING (not stationary) into the wind.
All carrier ops are done sailing into wind, assuming there is a surface wind. The 25 kts over the deck is pretty much a minimum req. I think you'll find for conventional launch/landing. The carrier would never be stationary, and I'd expect it to be making a minimum of 15-20 kts if launching/recovering. The sea state if the surface wind was 35 kts or more (Beaufort 8) may well preclude ops anyway.

The old man was in the penultimate HMS Ark Royal for her first commission in 1955, and I followed him into the Andrew in 1978, the year after she was paid off.
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Old 22nd Apr 2006, 18:19
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Originally Posted by airborne_artist
All carrier ops are done sailing into wind, assuming there is a surface wind. The 25 kts over the deck is pretty much a minimum req. I think you'll find for conventional launch/landing. The carrier would never be stationary, and I'd expect it to be making a minimum of 15-20 kts if launching/recovering. The sea state if the surface wind was 35 kts or more (Beaufort 8) may well preclude ops anyway.

The old man was in the penultimate HMS Ark Royal for her first commission in 1955, and I followed him into the Andrew in 1978, the year after she was paid off.

AA,

It has been done, more than once, for CV's to launch while at anchor. Not often and not pretty, but it has been done. Believe it was the USS Saratoga (but might have been another), that suffered an embarrassing grounding in Naples (?). She launched her air wing while at anchor. Admittedly, the a/c were light with no stores, so operationally not a player, I'd agree with you, but it has been done.
 
Old 22nd Apr 2006, 18:22
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I have read of its being done at anchor in the RN, certainly with Seafires (one went in and killed the pilot) and I believe with Seahawks.
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