Friday, November 6, 2009

Navy Tech – Rigging the Barricade

Whenever an aircraft has suffered a causality (a substantial system malfunction or battle damage) that necessitates recovery of the aircraft or when conditions exist that deem the ejection from the aircraft more risky than landing the Jet then we rig the Barricade. The Barricade is a huge kind of a net that is erected in the landing zone, on top of and connected to one of the arresting gear engines that serves to grapple the aircraft by the wings and the slows and stops the aircraft. It is a last resort. We practice installing the Barricade all the time while at sea and it must be pulled out of its stowage locker and connected to the arresting gear engine in 4 minutes or less.

The Barricade is made of nylon straps that are woven together at the top and bottom to form a kind of net. It is unlike a net in that the straps only go vertically, there are no connections laterally except at the very top and very bottom. This allows the aircraft nose and forward fuselage to drive through the straps with the wing actually taking the brunt of the stopping force applied using the arresting gear engine. The Barricade is held up with stations built into the flight deck that are deployed only when the barricade is deployed.

Also as part of setting the Barricade a steel ramp is set up that causes the aircraft to drive up and over the lower portion of the Barricade. This keeps the nose wheel from pushing the strapping up and over the aircraft or from tangling into the nose gear assembly and causing the aircraft to tumble. The ramp is built using steel panels that interlock into each other and lock into the flight deck. The panels are carried from storage and laid in place at the same time the Barricade is being hauled out of storage by tow tractor.
Above. Hauled out of a below deck locker, the Barricade is laid out for connecting into the AG Engine and the stanchion. (USN Photo)

4 minutes seems like plenty of time but a lot happens, the Barricade must be connected to the Arresting Gear engine at the bottom and at the top of the two stanchions, once the stations are raised, they are placed in tension pulling the slack out of the Barricade. It is usually an all hands evolution.

Below. Pulling the Barricade into position, this is the top of the Barricade and you can see how big the combination of the webb strapping is accross the top. Same size at the bottom. (USN Photo)

Below: Up goes the stanchion. The wire at the top is pulled tight with using an air ratchet. (USN Photo)

Below. Good Rig? You can see the area in between the straps, sized to allow the forward fuselage of the aircraft to drive through and the straps to actually "foul" on the wings. (USN Photo)

Below. Time to put the greasy monster back into its hold. (USN Photo)

BT: Jimmy T sends.


Buck said...

Heh. Deploying the barricade looks like Big Fun. Landing into it would be quite something else... but would beat going swimming, eh?

JimmyT said...

Buck, yeah it was different than hauling hoses out which we did a couple of times a week. But it was something that we did for real maybe once every 2 or 3 months.

BT: Jimmy T sends.

Anonymous said...

Do you have any home video or PLAT footage from your time in the navy? I am an ex Aussie carrier sailor and have been collecting films for a long time.
My email is jkaposi at