A tailhook, also arresting hook or arrestor hook, is a device attached to the
empennage(rear) of an aircraft. It is used to achieve rapid decelerationafter landing, usually aboard an aircraft carrier.
The tailhook is a strong metal bar, with its free end flattened out, thickened somewhat, and fashioned into a claw-like hook. The pilot is capable of raising this bar to its inflight position or lowering it ("Hook Down") for landing.
Helicopters and other aircraft that are able to land vertically are not equipped with tailhooks.
Aircraft land on the
flight deckof an aircraft carrier on a short "landing area", towards the aft end of the ship. A number (usually four) of very greasy and very strong thick flexible cables called arrestor cables, "arresting wires" or "cross deck pendandts" are stretched across the landing area. When an aircraft lands properly, the tailhook should catch one of the cables and the cable will transfer the energy of the aircraft, through a "purchase cable," to the belowdecks arresting gearengines, stopping the aircraft. Both the hook and cables have to be very strong: aircraft land on carriers at full throttle, so as to have enough power to go aroundif the hook misses all the cables.
The term "hooked" is sometimes used to describe aircraft fitted with a tailhook. An aircraft which misses a landing by failing to catch the arresting cables is said to have "boltered." Occasionally, the tailhook bounces over one or more of the wires, resulting in a "hook skip bolter."
Most land-based fighters also have tailhooks. In case of a brake malfunction, an aborted takeoff, a tire explosion, or a related problem, a tailhook can stop the aircraft in a "departure-end or approach-end cable arrestment". Since it is an emergency equipment, the tailhook is deployed with nitrogen pressure instead of using the aircraft's hydraulic system. Additionally the tailhook can only be repositioned by ground crew.
The presence of a tailhook is not evidence of an aircraft's suitability for carrier operations. Typical carrier aircraft are built to withstand the tremendous stresses endured during launch and recovery operations.
* United States Air Force. [http://www.e-publishing.af.mil/shared/media/epubs/afh10-222v8.pdf] . "Guide To Mobile Aircraft Arresting System Installation". Retrieved on
3 November, 2007.
* [http://www.chinfo.navy.mil/navpalib/ships/carriers/ Aircraft carriers of the USA Navy]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
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