Naval Aviation News
May–June 2002 (There are other stories out there - easy for me to find in my PDF - but none really describe what the LSO does at all.)http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/2000s/2002/mj02/harrier.pdf
(0.5Mb)MARINE CORPS HARRIERS: EXPEDITIONARY FIREPOWER FROM THE SEA
Story and photos by Rick Llinares
"...In a typical daytime approach and landing in the AV-8B, Harrier pilots follow a sequence during the landing process that is not unlike that of their Navy brethren on the carrier. The primary difference is that there is one additional control lever, and the intent is to “stop and land” rather than “land and stop.” The ability to stop and land provides first-pass boarding rates near 100 percent and allows the routine use of night-vision goggles for night recoveries.
Former VMA-542 skipper Lt. Col. Eric VanCamp described the steps a Harrier pilot goes through to land aboard ship: “The AV-8B pilot approaches the ship at 800 feet and 350 knots. Passing close up the right side of the ship, the pilot extends roughly 10 seconds and snaps the stick to the left, rolling the jet into a 4- to 6-G turn. Simultaneously, the pilot pulls the throttle to idle with the left hand and then moves the exhaust nozzle lever to the 60-degree position while easing off the turn.
“Rolling wings level on the downwind leg (opposite direction of initial heading), the pilot descends to 600 feet above ground level. As the aircraft decelerates through 300 knots, the pilot moves the flap switch to the short-takeoff-and-landing position, which causes the flaps to automatically program with nozzle position once the airspeed goes below 165 knots. The pilot extends the landing gear at 250 knots or less, and adds power sufficient to maintain on-speed flight at about 110 knots.
“The engine water injection switch is then moved to the landing position allowing for added thrust if needed. During takeoffs and landings, water can be injected into the turbine section of the AV-8B’s engine to provide an additional 1,500 pounds of thrust if required.
“Continuing the turn, the pilot descends to 450 to 500 feet above ground level behind the ship—referred to as ‘rolling into the groove’—on a line running up the left side of the ship until the jet is at 300 feet above the water. The pilot makes a ‘hover-stop’ call to the landing signal officer [LSO], who helps talk the pilot down to a safe landing. At this point, the pilot smoothly slides the nozzle lever to hover-stop. This moves the nozzles 90 degrees pointing downward. The pilot then adds power as necessary to maintain glideslope position as indicated on the tower’s optical landing system. The pilot controls the deceleration rate by slightly adjusting the attitude of the Harrier’s nose. The jet is now alongside the intended point of landing, a mere 120 feet over the water and just 60 feet above the deck of the ship. The LSO says ‘clear to cross’ and the pilot moves the jet sideways to a hover over the designated spot. Once stabilized in the hover, the LSO clears the pilot to land and the pilot eases gently down and chops the throttles to idle. From this point the nozzles are moved to aft and the jet taxies as directed by the flight director.”
Sounds easy, right!..."