From The Cockpit: C-2A COD Pilot Performs His First ‘Shit Hot Break’


Shit Hot Break
Main photo: file image of a C-2A Greyhound (U.S. Navy photo); in the boxes: three screenshots of the video by Rob Roy.

Did you know even C-2 Greyhound aircraft perform the famous “Shit Hot Break”?

The “break” is the tight turn performed by aircraft recovering aboard a carrier to enter the downwind leg of the traffic pattern. Generally speaking, based on CV NATOPS Manual, a standard approach would see the aircraft entering the traffic pattern at the initial (3 miles astern, 800 feet) wings level, paralleling the BRC (Base Recovery Course) – the magnetic heading of the ship (it’s worth noticing that the final approach heading is not the same as the BRC because of the angled deck.

The break is usually performed as the aircraft overflies the flight deck or further upwind. But, if the turn is carried out with extra speed and right at or slightly aft (behind) the ship, then it is called a Shit Hot Break (SHB). A SHB adds more stress on the pilot, as the landing becomes much more difficult: there’s little room to fix anything during the approach as this becomes a continuous 360-degree turn to landing.

SHBs are regularly carried out by fast jets, that can bleed airspeed with an aggressive turn, but also slower and bigger E-2 Hawkeye and C-2 Greyhound aircraft can perform the difficult maneuver.

A C-2A Greyhound, assigned to the “Providers” of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 30, flies above the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), May 12, 2021, during at-sea operations in support of flight operations above the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex and Gulf of Alaska during Exercise Northern Edge 2021 (NE21). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Casey Scoular)

Here’s an interesting example, shared by our friend Rob Roy when he was flying the C-2 Greyhound: Rob is a former Naval Aviator who flew the Greyhound with the “Rawhides” of VRC-40 and has filmed lots of cool videos during his career. This clip, produced once again as a split screen footage, shows Rob’s first attempt at an SHB and also includes audio from the “Paddles” (the LSOs – Landing Signal Officers).

In fact, after the base turn, from the last three quarters of a nautical mile all the way to touchdown the pilot approaching the carrier can rely on talkdown provided by LSOs who are skilled and experienced pilots whose job is to watch the deck-landing of all the airplanes and provide the pilots with radio guidelines to adjust the final phase of the approach, and complement IFLOLS (Improved Fresnel Lens Optical Landing System) and ICLS (Instrumental Carrier Landing System) visual information.

David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


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