1-1___vLSO Introduction
___LSO Communication
___LSO Shorthand

The PLAT cam crosshair mod for DCS World is now part of our Hornet mod. When in th ecockpit select ESCAPE then MANUAL and look for the pages with PLAT cam crosshairs on them.


All aircrew are encouraged to become a grading LSO and guidance ‘Paddles’ for pilots on approach.
To ensure all LSOs have the same parameters you must align the yellow “ALIGN RAMP” arrow with the edge of the carrier flight deck.

PLAT cam keystrokes are:
LEFT ALT + F9 - Selects LSO view
R CTRL + Numpad * - Zooms view in (use to ramp align yellow arrow)
R CTRL + Numpad / - Zooms view out
Numpad 5 - Centers PLAT view
ESCAPE > MANUAL > Page 2 - will bring up the standard PLAT crosshair you see on our videos.

The VFA-113 PLAT camera crosshair gives you all the information you need to make deviation calls to the approaching pilot and grade his approach.
The grading rules are very simple and are designed to create a very black and white system of scoring.


The upper right box of the overlay steps out the approach scoring.
The lower right box of the overlay gives you a rough guide to the correct attitude for an onspeed approach. When onspeed the aircraft canopy should be level with the vertical stabiliser tops.
The onspeed image also has a green cross demonstrating the reference point on the aircraft for box grading. When the aircraft is nearing in close parts of the of the under-carriage or wings make start to go outside the BLACK BOX. Ignore these and concentrate on the Aircraft reference points location.

The amplified explanation of the grading system is as follows:

1. If the Pilot fails to make a ‘ball call’ when directed to by the Virtual LSO the pass becomes a
NO GRADE (2 points)

2. LSO Box Grading period begins when the Virtual LSO finishes saying “ROGER BALL” and ends when he says “IN CLOSE!”
3. If aircraft stays inside the BLACK BOX it’s a perfect OK pass (4 pts).

4. If the aircraft goes outside the BLACK BOX it’s a FAIR pass (3 pts).

5. If the aircraft goes outside the RED BOX it’s a NO GRADE (2 pts).

6. If the aircraft is outside the RED BOX at the vLSO “IN CLOSE”, the Human LSO will call “Wave-Off!” and its a CUT pass (1 pt).

7. If the aircraft lands but misses all the wires the pass is a BOLTER NO GRADE (2.5 pts).

8. If the aircraft is too long in the groove and is kicked out of the pattern by the Virtual Air Boss that pass is a No Count.

9. All Bolters and Wave-Off approach grades are added up with the final landing and averaged to a single grade for that recovery.

1-4___LSO Communication

Aircrew should only transmit to the LSOs on guard channel.

Apart from an emergency, Aircrew are only to transmit their ball call (when prompted) to the LSOs.

‘304 Hornet Ball 4.5’

The ball call is broken down as follows:
304 ___- aircraft side number.
Hornet - aircraft type. (Note: Super Hornet pilots use ‘Rhino’)
Ball ___- Meatball visually acquired. (Note: CLARA indicates meatball not acquired)
4.5 ____- Fuel State

During the approach the Human LSO will watch your approach and call corrections.
This image shows the phrases you will hear from both the Virtual and Human LSOs and the responses they expect to see from you.
VFA-113 LSO directions are non-negotiable, you are expected to respond immediately to an LSO directive without hesitation, they are trying to help you get an OK pass.
The only communication expected from the pilot is the ball call in green.


All landings aboard the USS George H W Bush are graded by our LSOs and the grades from CQ and cruise missions are posted on our Greenie Board for all to see.

The possible grades are:



LSOs use a universal short hand writing technique to make fast and accurate notes on every pass.

General Symbols indicate the severity of the error and where it occured in the approach:

( )_______Parenthesis indicates “a little”.
_________Underline indicates “a lot”.
.________Period indicates “on”.
-_______PDash indicates “to”.
[ ]_______Box indicates any signal that was not acknowledged.
[ ]_______[right for line-up] call given but pilot did not react.

O_______Circle indicates any signal that was acknowledged too slowly.
BC______Missed Ball call or incorrect ball call.

IM_______In the Middle.
IC_______In Close.
AR______At the Ramp.
AW______All the Way down the glideslope.

Comments describe the error and are abbreviated as follows:

______Angling Approach. Pilot had to reduce angle of bank
AA______significantly to get on centerline.

AFU_____All F#cked Up.
CO_____Come-on. Touched glideslope but did not fly through it.

DL_____Drift Left.
LIG____Long In the Groove. > 21 seconds in groove.

LL_____Landed Left of centerline.
LR______Landed Right of centerline.
ND______Nose Down.

NEP______Not Enough Power.
NESA_____Not Enough Straight Away.
NH_______No Hook.
OS_______Over Shoot.

PNU______Pulled Nose Up.
S________Settled. Drifted below glideslope.
TMP______Too Much Power.

WU______Wrapped Up. Too much angle of bank during approach turn.
_/_______Fly through up. Went from below glideslope to above glideslope.
_\_______Fly through down. Went from above glideslope to below glideslope.

Here are some examples of how General Symbols are combined with Comments to indicate when a specific deviation occurred:
HX = High start.
NEP.COIM = Not enough power on come-on in the middle.
(LOX) = Little low at the start.
DLIM [RFLU] LL = Drifted Left In the Middle, ignored ‘Right for line-up’ call, Landed Left of centerline.


AA, NESA and WU are the exceptions since they deal specifically with the approach turn and should be at the beginning of the comments section.
Groove length timing should begin when the pilot levels wings initially on approach turn or crosses the extended centerline of the Landing Area, whichever occurs first, and should stop upon touchdown.

These comments are really compiled in order to develop a “Trend Analysis.” Looking at passes over time to see if there are any specific things a pilot should concentrate on in order to improve his landings.
If a pilot has many comments on the “start” then maybe that pilot needs to focus on the approach turn more.
If a pilot consistently begins high but ends up below glideslope than power addition in the middle is an important factor.
If a pilot consistently has “pulled nose up” or “fast” or “slow” comments than he probably is not using power to control glideslope.
The goal as always is to build safe and consistent passes and keep people off the ramp.


1. Pilots must complete 6 arrested landings in a single flight with a 2.0 average to Carrier Qualify.

2. All Greenie board landings flights must be graded by a human LSO.

3. AUTOPILOT and AUTOTHROTTLE use is NOT permitted.

4. A Carrier Qual flight is re-started from PASS #1 if the pilot crashes into the sea or the ship.

5. The 6 Carrier Qual passes are averaged and posted in the first column on the Greenie Board.

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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 in the Stingers anymore” so I can action it appropriately.