The Air Boss is responsible for all aspects of operations involving aircraft including the hangar deck, the flight deck, and airborne aircraft out to 5 nautical miles from the carrier.
From his perch in Primary Flight Control (Pri-Fly), he maintains visual control of all aircraft operating in the carrier control zone (CCZ: surface to and including 2,500 feet, within a circular limit defined by 5 nautical miles horizontal radius from the carrier.)
The normal working jersey color of an air boss is yellow, but an Air Boss may wear any color jersey, as he represents everyone working on the flight deck and hangar bay.
During Case 1 and Case 3 carrier landing patterns, the Air Boss is making sure all aircraft are flying at the correct airspeeds and altitudes to ensure flight safety for all the aircraft in his airspace.
Q and A with the Virtual Air Boss Questions were submitted anonymously to the CVN 77 Virtual Air Boss, here are his responses:
‘Why do you yell at me for being too fast in the downwind?’
If you are flying faster than onspeed angle of attack in the downwind then you will catch up to aircraft ahead of you. This will mess up the intervals and result in you being too close to the guy in front when you roll into the groove. We aim for 45 second intervals at the ramp and this isn’t possible if you are flying too fast. Do you really want to be waived off when you are on approach just because they guy in front was slow getting out of the wires?
‘Why do you yell at me for being high?’
The carrier airspace is a dangerous environment with aircraft in Port Holding at angels 2, aircraft breaking at 800 feet and guys in the pattern at 600 feet. Correct pattern altitude is very important for safety around the boat.
‘Why does the LSO say ‘POWER’ when I’m below glideslope even though my airspeed is way too fast? Shouldn’t I just pull up?’
[Sigh] What you should do is hand me those wings young man.
‘Why do you kick me out of the pattern just for being a little bit long in the groove?’
If you are long in the groove then the guy behind you that’s flying the pattern correctly is going to cut you off at the approach. Going long in the groove is something guys do because they think it makes Carrier landing easier. It won’t because I will boot you out every time. Learn to start your final turn when you hear the vLSO say ‘Paddles Contact’ and we won’t have a problem.
‘I don’t agree with a landing grade I got from an LSO, how do I register an official complaint?’
That’s easy, send me an email. Just make sure the subject is “I don’t want to be a Stinger anymore” so I can action it appropriately.