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Navy pilots practice carrier landings ahead of next Ronald Reagan deployment

An F/A-18E Super Hornet from Strike Fighter Squadron 115 prepares to land last year aboard the USS Ronald Reagan in the Coral Sea.

KENNETH ABBATE/U.S. NAVY PHOTO

By JAMES BOLINGER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: May 3, 2018

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan — Navy pilots are honing carrier-landing skills ahead of their next deployment on the USS Ronald Reagan.

Carrier Air Wing 5, which is assigned to the Yokosuka, Japan-based aircraft carrier, kicked off training Thursday that aims to get the fixed-wing pilots to maximum proficiency for carrier operations.

“The most important aspect of this training is getting our pilots back in the mindset of operating off of a carrier over open ocean,” Lt. Cmdr. Matt Knight, a Task Force 70 spokesman, told Stars and Stripes in an email this week.

Aircraft involved include F/A-18E and F/A-18F Super Hornet strike jets, EA-18G Growler electronic warfare planes, E-2D Advanced Hawkeye early warning aircraft and C-2A Greyhound transports.

“The refresher training prior to deployment exercises the full spectrum of skills from the basics of carrier operations, to the more advanced aspects of landing on a carrier at sea,” Knight said.

Pilots will land day and night, with most of the action taking place on Iwo Jima, which is known by the Japanese as Iwo To, a Navy statement said.

After the land-based training, the pilots will conduct day and night landings on the Ronald Reagan, Knight said.

Backup sites for the training include Naval Air Facility Misawa, Yokota Air Base, Naval Air Facility Atsugi and MCAS Iwakuni, the Navy said.

The training will wrap up on May 13.

bolinger.james@stripes.com
Twitter: @bolingerj2004

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