Catapult Shooter

Catapult Shooter poster art.

Modern aircraft carrier air operations include the operation of fixed wing and rotary aircraft on and around an aircraft carrier for performance of combat or non-combat missions. Modern aircraft carrier flight operations are highly evolved, based on experiences dating back to 1922 with the USS LangleyYellow shirts are worn by aircraft Handlers and aircraft Directors that shuttle aircraft around the carrier’s tight and chaotic deck. Catapult Officers and Arresting Gear Officers also wear yellow shirts. 

Catapult Officer: Also known as “Shooters”, catapult officers are Naval Aviators or Naval Flight Officers and are responsible for all aspects of catapult maintenance and operation. They ensure that there is sufficient wind (direction and speed) over the deck and that the steam settings for the catapults will ensure that aircraft have sufficient flying speed at the end of the stroke.

Aircraft Handling Officer: Also known as the aircraft handler (or just “Handler”), the ACHO is responsible for arrangement of aircraft about the flight and hangar decks. The handler is charged with avoiding a “locked deck,” where there are too many misplaced aircraft such that no more can land prior to a rearrangement. The handler works in Flight Deck Control, where scale model aircraft on a flight deck representation are used to represent actual aircraft status on the flight deck.

Aircraft directors: As their name implies, are responsible for directing all aircraft movement on the hangar and flight decks. They are enlisted Aviation Boatswain’s Mates. They are colloquially known as “Bears” and those who work in the hangar go by the term “Hangar Rat”. On some carriers, commissioned officers known as flight deck officers also serve as aircraft directors.

During flight operations or during a flight deck “re-spot”, there are typically about 12-15 “Yellowshirts” on the flight deck, and they report directly to the “Handler”. Although aircraft “Directors” are often used at airports ashore, their function is particularly crucial in the confined flight deck environment where aircraft are routinely taxied within inches of one another, often with the ship rolling and pitching beneath. Directors wear yellow and use a complex set of hand signals (lighted yellow wands at night) to direct aircraft.


Shhh! You’ve found a secret coupon. Use coupon code "secretcanvascoupon" at checkout for 10% off all canvas prints. Dismiss