1-1___The Marshal Stack
1-2___CV-1 Approach
___Hornet HUD Carrier Approach Indications
1-4___Case 3 Terminology Explained
___Entering the Break
___Missed Approach

1-1___The Marshal Stack
The Marshal Stack is the holding point where returning aircraft are stacked while waiting for their Expected Approach TIme (EAT).

The Marshal Stack is normally located on a radial from the Carrier that will place the aircraft near the heading they will be on when lined up with the angled landing deck centerline.
The heading to fly for the landing centerline is referred to as the ‘Final Bearing.’

Aircraft will be stacked at 1000 feet increments starting at Angels 6.
Aircraft will be at minimum 21 miles from Mother, each extra aircraft will be an extra mile out from the ship.
Aircraft will be also assigned EATs at increments of one minute.
Aircraft must orbit at 250 knots at their assigned altitude and commence their approach from their exact Marshal Fix at as close to EAT as possible.
302 marshal 170, 24, angels 9” / “Expected approach time 33” : 302 has been directed to Marshal on Mother’s 170 radial at 24 miles from the Carrier at 9000 feet.
At 33 minutes past the current hour, 302 should be at 24 NM on the 170 radial at 250 KTS and commence the CV-1 Approach.

1-2___CV-1 Approach
  • Aircraft depart the Marshal Stack and fly a straight in approach to the ship.
  • After descending from the Marshal altitude at and 4,000 feet per minute, aircraft level off at 1200 feet and fly the centerline at 250 KTS to the 10 NM point.
  • 10 NM aircraft ‘dirty up’ by extending Landing Gear, Full Flaps and Tailhook. Aircraft must also now slow to ON-SPEED angle of attack.
  • 3 NM the 3 degree glideslope reaches 1200 feet and your ELEVATION DEVIATION BAR will begin to fall towards the center of the AZIMUTH DEVIATION BAR. Aircraft will now begin descending at 700 feet per minute to remain on glideslope.
  • 3/4 NM aircraft will “Call the Ball” and fly the meatball to touchdown.


1-3___Hornet HUD Carrier Approach Indications

1-4___Case 3 Terminology Explained
Use the following illustration to refer back to as a guide to the radio comms example in section 1-5:

The following transcription is based on communications recorded from real CASE 3 OPERATIONS conducted aboard the USS Ronald Reagan off the California coast. Transcript has been abridged to focus on a single flight and to clarify the flow of comms.

Firstly is the announcement of conditions around the ship and information relevant to the recovery.
When Marshal says “99” it means that the transmission is ‘a broadcast of information of collective interest to all aircraft on the radio frequency’:

MARSHAL: 99, case 3 recovery, CV-1 approach. Expected final bearing 346.
Mother’s weather, few at 1000, few at 12000. Ceiling 20000 broken. Visibility 7, altimeter 30.01.
99, tanker overhead mother, angels 3.
99, Blue water ops, tank as follows:
Rhino tank 4.1
Hornet tank 3.5
Prowler tank 4.6
99, Standby for time hack.
99, Time in 30 seconds: 16.
99, Time in 15 seconds: 16.
99, 5,4,3,2,1, mark. Time:16.

Two VFA-113 Stinger F/A-18s check in with Mother and receive their landing instructions.
STING 1-1:
Marshal, 302 and 304 checking in, marking mothers 330 for 62, low state is 6.5.
MARSHAL: 302, Freedom Marshal, Case 3 recovery, CV1 approach, expected final bearing 346, altimeter 30.01. 302 marshal 170, 24, angels 9. Expected approach time 33, approach button 17, time 18.
STING 1-1: 302 marshalling 170, 24, angels 9. EAT 33, button 17.
MARSHAL: 301 read-back correct, squawk 7144.
STING 1-1: 7144.

Sting 1-2 then receives his Marshal instructions.
MARSHAL: 304 marshal 170, 25, angels 10. Expected approach time 34, approach button 15.
STING 1-2: 304 marshalling 170, 25, angels 10. Push time 34, button 15.
MARSHAL: 304 read-back correct, squawk 7145.
STING 1-2: 7145

Time reaches 33 minutes past the hour, Sting 1-1’s Expected Approach Time, he departs Marshal and begins his approach to the Carrier.
STING 1-1: 302, commencing, 6.4, 30.01.
MARSHAL: 302, radar contact 25 miles. Final bearing 346, check in button 17.

As Sting 1-1 passes 5000 feet he checks in with APPROACH on radio channel 17.
STING 1-1: Approach, 302, platform, 18 miles, 6.2
APPROACH: 302, Freedom approach, final bearing 346. Take speed 225.
STING 1-1: 302.
APPROACH: 302, 10 miles, dirty-up.
STING 1-1: 302.
APPROACH: 302, lock-on 6 miles, say needles.
STING 1-1: Fly right and up.
APPROACH: 302 concur, fly mode 2.
STING 1-1: 302.

APPROACH: 302, approaching glide path, begin descent.

Sting 1-1 approaches 1 NM of the Carrier and is now in view of the LSO.
LSO: 302, you’re paddles contact. Lined-up right, come left.
Approaching centerline.
You’re on centerline, call the ball.

STING 1-1: 302, Hornet, Ball, 6.2
LSO: Roger ball.
Little power.