Field carrier landing practice continues at NAS JRBSep 5th, 2013 | By Terri Sercovich | Category: news
Westbank residents have noted the increase in air traffic in and around the Naval Air Station in Belle Chasse as pilots are currently preparing for aircraft carrier landing qualifications.
The day and night flights began Aug. 26 and are slated to end Sept. 12 as pilots conduct Field Carrier Landing Practice (FCLP).
“Right now, pilots are conducting their training around the base in the FCLP pattern,” said Cmdr. Kurt McClung, NAS JRB New Orleans operations officer. “That is why they are conducting multiple approaches. Due to the difficult nature of landing an aircraft on an aircraft carrier, especially at night, several weeks of practice flights must be completed.”
Normally, aircraft depart the air station; fly over the Gulf of Mexico to conduct their training missions, return to the installation and practice, aircraft fly in a definitive, repetitive pattern that mimics landing aboard an aircraft carrier.
“When able, we will modify the night pattern altitude to reduce the noise, but if the pattern at the airfield is different than the pattern at the ship the training loses its value,”McClung said. He added that without this training the odds of a mishap at sea are greatly increased.
Carrier practice landings will stop during the long Labor Day weekend and start again Sept. 3 until Sept. 12.
“Our neighbors are some of the most patriotic people I have encountered in my 25-year Naval career,” Mc- Clung said. “Even when we receive noise complaints, folks express their support for the military and our mission. We are grateful, because this training is invaluable.”
NAS is the first military air facility in the United States planned and built as a joint service air reserve training center. The base is home to more than 40 commands and more than 60 aircraft from all branches installation also serves as a platform for assistance with homeland security air defense through the Louisiana Air National Guard as well as search and rescue efforts for much of the Gulf Coast by the U.S.Coast Guard Air Station.
The annual economic impact of NAS is estimated to be $340 million.