A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Antoine Couëtte
Date: 2017 Sep 29, 18:49 -0700
Memories about Time hack ...
When flying back to USN aircraft carriers during daylight, we generally managed to "settle" in the overhead holding pattern for a few minutes before our recovery times, i.e. before the scheduled times at which we were supposed to hit the deck. Each pilot knew his own recovery time before getting launched and there was a +/- 10 second tolerance for crossing the ramp.
Most of your holding time was - sometimes painstakingly - spent adjusting your own pattern so that your last overflight abeam the carrier starboard side would take place exactly one minute before your expected recovery time. That would normally put you over the ramp just 60 seconds later provided that from subsequent downwind leg you would turn into final exactly abeam the ramp.
Day recoveries were generally scheduled one minute apart at round minutes, with one "empty" minute every 5 minutes to account for "wave offs" and "bolters".
However, it sometimes happened that some pilots (especially the F14's ones ***) had missed the time check[s] blind broadcasted by the aircraft carrier.
What to do then ... simply request for "time hack" ... and the Aircraft carrier reluctantly broadcasted a time check again. The trick was not asking for it until the very last moment. Chances were that maybe another fellow pilot might ask meanwhile.
During "zip-lips" recoveries, no way to ask anything on the radio, except in Emergency. Then if you had lost track of the actual time used onboard, you had to "spot guess" the aircraft scheduled one minute ahead of you, and adjust your holding pattern accordingly.
" Time hack ... "
*** I flew the A7 :-)