Transcript: Impossible Engineering S 4- Ep 3 - Ford Class Aircraft | Jul 07, 2021

[dramatic music]

Fast clips show images of massive modern engineering structures around the world.

The narrator says FROM THE PLANET'S
MOST STUNNING STATE-OF-THE-ART
STRUCTURES...

An engineer on top of a structure says BELOW YOU RIGHT NOW ARE
ABOUT FIVE JET ENGINES.

At a construction site, another engineer says NO ONE HAS EVER BUILT
ANYTHING LIKE THIS BEFORE,

The narrator says TO ITS
MIGHTIEST MODERN MACHINES.

A clip shows two men jetpack flying.

A man says THIS IS THE ULTIMATE
INTEGRATION OF MAN, MIND,
AND MACHINE.
WE'RE DEFINING THE APPROACH TO
HUMAN FLIGHT.

The narrator says NONE WOULD HAVE BEEN
POSSIBLE WITHOUT THE
GROUND-BREAKING INNOVATORS OF
THE PAST.

A man on a helicopter flies over New York and says THIS REALLY COOL ICONIC
BUILDING IS THE CHRYSLER
BUILDING.

A man riding an old race car says IT'S INCREDIBLE TO THINK
THIS WAS ONCE THE FASTEST CAR
IN THE WORLD.

A woman says THESE ARE CONCRETE BOATS.
CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT?

The narrator says IN THIS EPISODE...
THE WORLD'S LARGEST WARSHIP.

A military man on the boat says THE AIRCRAFT CARRIER IS
A MOVING CITY WITH ALL OF THE
CAPABILITIES OF ANY AIRFIELD.
AND IT CAN BE MOVED ANYWHERE IN
THE WORLD.

The narrator says FOUR AND A HALF ACRES OF
CUTTING-EDGE MILITARY MUSCLE.

A man in a hard hat says THE FORD CLASS HAS TAKEN
A 40-YEAR LEAP IN THE
DEVELOPMENT OF AIRCRAFT CARRIER
TECHNOLOGY.

The narrator says AND THE PIONEERING HISTORIC
INNOVATIONS...

A man points at jet and says MAN, I LOVE THE SMELL OF
JET FUEL IN THE MORNING.
YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN?

A woman at a model airplane runway says LET'S GO AHEAD AND LAUNCH
THE SECOND.
AND YOU CAN SEE THAT THOSE TWO
FLIGHT PATHS ARE NATURALLY
DE-CONFLICTED.

The narrator says THAT MADE THE IMPOSSIBLE
POSSIBLE.

The title slate appears. It looks like a piece of graphing paper full of equations and sketches of an airplane, skyscraper, and monorail. The title reads "Impossible Engineering."

The narrator says THE UNITED STATES IS RENOWNED
FOR ITS NAVAL MIGHT.
IT HAS SOME OF THE FASTEST AND
MOST HEAVILY ARMED SHIPS ON THE
PLANET.
BUT PATROLLING THE 360 MILLION
SQUARE KILOMETRES OF OCEANS
REQUIRES MORE.
VITAL TO THE NAVY'S SUCCESS IS
ITS AIR ARM.
AND BASING AN AIR FORCE AT SEA
PRESENTS A UNIQUE ENGINEERING
CHALLENGE, ONE THAT CHIEF PETTY
OFFICER JEREMY STOECKLEIN IS
FAMILIAR WITH.

A caption reads "Jeremy Stoecklein. Chief Aviation Boatswain's mate."

Jeremy is in his thirties, with very short brown hair and wears a military uniform.

On a boat, Jeremy says THOSE WATERS NEED TO
BE PATROLLED, AND THEY NEED TO
BE PROTECTED FOR AMERICAN
INTERESTS.
THE FOREFRONT OF MILITARY MIGHT
HAS REALLY BECOME NAVAL
AVIATION.
AND IT'S VERY, VERY IMPORTANT
TO TRANSFER THAT POWER ANYWHERE
IN THE WORLD.

The narrator says THE US NAVY REQUIRES A NEW
BREED OF SHIP, CAPABLE OF
TRANSPORTING MORE PLANES THAN
EVER BEFORE.

Jeremy says AS WE MOVE INTO THE 21ST
CENTURY, THERE BECOMES A NEW
NEED, THE NEW NEED FOR
TECHNOLOGY.
A NEW WAY TO COMBAT THE FORCES
AROUND THE WORLD AND TO HELP
OUT WITH HUMANITARIAN EFFORTS
AROUND THE WORLD.
THE UNITED STATES NAVY NEEDS
SOMETHING BRAND NEW IN
TECHNOLOGY TO HELP THOSE AIDS.

The narrator says THE SOLUTION...
THE FORD-CLASS AIRCRAFT
CARRIER.

The caption changes to "Mike Butler. Program director, CVN 79."

Mike is in his late fifties, with short white hair and a goatee. He wears jeans, a blue shirt, protective glasses and a hard hat.

He says THE FORD-CLASS CARRIER
IS THE LARGEST WARSHIP EVER
BUILT.
IT'S ABOUT 1,100 FEET LONG,
WEIGHS ABOUT 100,000 TONNES.
IT'S ABOUT 24 STOREYS TALL.

The narrator says ITS SCALE IS UNHEARD OF.
ITS 35-KNOT TOP SPEED MAKES IT,
POUND FOR POUND, THE FASTEST
CARRIER EVER BUILT.
AND IT'S ON THE BRINK OF MAKING
HISTORY.
THE FIRST OF THIS COLOSSAL
CLASS, THE
GERALD R. FORD,
HAS
JUST BEEN DELIVERED TO THE US
NAVY AND IS UNDERGOING VITAL
SEA TRIALS TO FIND OUT JUST
WHAT IT'S CAPABLE OF.

Jeremy says THIS SHIP CAN CARRY AIRCRAFT
AND TECHNOLOGIES THAT ARE OUT
TODAY AS WELL AS THAT WE
HAVEN'T EVEN DREAMT OF YET.
THIS IS THE MOST IMPRESSIVE SHIP
I'VE EVER SERVED ABOARD.

The narrator says IN DRY DOCK IN NEWPORT NEWS,
VIRGINIA, GEOFF HUMMEL AND A
TEAM OF ENGINEERS ARE BUILDING
THE SECOND OF THIS 10-STRONG
FLEET OF CARRIERS, THE
JOHN F.
KENNEDY.

The caption changes to "Geoff Hummel. Director of General Manufacturing."

Geoff is in his early fifties, wears a blue shirt, protective glasses and a hard hat.

Geoff says WE'VE BEEN WORKING ON
IT FOR ABOUT THREE YEARS.
AND WE GOT ABOUT ANOTHER YEAR
AND A HALF IN THE DRY DOCK.
AND THEN AFTER THAT, WE'LL
SPEND ABOUT TWO YEARS OF TESTING
IT BEFORE WE DELIVER HER.

The narrator says MIKE BUTLER HEADS UP
CONSTRUCTION OF THESE
TRAILBLAZING SHIPS.

Mike says NOW, A AIRCRAFT CARRIER
HAS TO SATISFY TWO MAJOR ROLES.
ONE IS THE HUMANITARIAN ROLE,
AND ONE IS A DEFENSIVE/OFFENSIVE
MILITARY ROLE.
THIS SHIP DOES BOTH AND DOES IT
VERY WELL.

The narrator says THE LARGEST WARSHIP EVER
BUILT, THE FORD-CLASS CARRIER
IS ALMOST AS LONG THE EMPIRE
STATE BUILDING IS TALL.
THIRTY-FIVE AIRCRAFT ARE STORED
IN A GIANT HANGER.
THREE SUPERSIZED ELEVATORS
DELIVER THE PLANES TO A
337-METRE-LONG FLIGHT DECK.
EQUIPPED WITH AN
ELECTROMAGNETIC CATAPULT SYSTEM
CAPABLE OF LAUNCHING PLANES
QUICKER THAN EVER BEFORE.

The caption changes to "Gabriel Sava. Engineering Manager."

Gabriel is in his forties, with short graying hair and a beard. He wears a pale blue T-shirt and a hard hat.

He says THE AMOUNT OF TECHNOLOGY
THAT'S BEEN INFUSED INTO THIS
SHIP IS GOING TO PUT THE NAVY
IN A POSITION TO FIGHT THE WARS
OF THE 21ST CENTURY.
IT'S GOING TO BE THE MOST
CAPABLE SHIP OUT THERE IN THE
FLEET.

The narrator says BUT CREATING THE WORLD'S
LARGEST MOBILE AIRBASE POSES
MANY CHALLENGES.
HOW DO YOU POWER A
100,000-TONNE VESSEL WITH
4,500 CREW?

Jeremy says WHAT WE DO IS LIVE
EVERYDAY LIVES.
SO WASHING LAUNDRY, SERVING
20,000 MEALS A DAY.
SO IT'S LIKE POWERING,
ESSENTIALLY, A SMALL CITY.

The narrator says HOW IS IT POSSIBLE TO GET
JETS AIRBORNE IN JUST A
FRACTION OF A NORMAL RUNWAY?

Gabriel says THE GREATEST
CHALLENGE IS TO BE ABLE TO GET
THE AIRCRAFT TO THE SPEED THAT
IT NEEDS IN ORDER TO TAKE OFF.

The narrator says AND HOW CAN YOU BRING THEM
HOME SAFELY?

Gabriel says LANDING ON A CARRIER
REQUIRES AN EXTERNAL MEANS OF
STOPPING THE AIRCRAFT.

The narrator says BUT THE ENGINEERS FACE AN
EVEN BIGGER PROBLEM.
THE FORD CLASS HOLDS MORE
PLANES THAN ANY CARRIER
BEFORE IT.
THEY MUST BE ABLE TO LAUNCH AND
RECOVER AN ASTONISHING 200
MISSIONS A DAY.
SO, HOW DO YOU ACHIEVE THAT ON
A SHIP?
ENGINEER MARCO ESTRADA IS
FACING THAT CHALLENGE.

The caption changes to "Marco Estrada. Platform concept of Operations Aviation Ship Integration."

Marco is in his early fifties and wears a pale blue shirt, gray trousers, protective glasses and a hard hat.

Marco says TYPICALLY, AN
AIRCRAFT CARRIER OF THE FORD
CLASS WILL HOLD APPROXIMATELY
78, 79 AIRCRAFT.
THE JOB OF MANAGING THE FLIGHT
DECK IS AN ORGANIZED CHAOS.
YOU HAVE LAUNCHES.
YOU GOT RECOVERIES.
YOU GOT FUELLING.
YOU GOT WEAPONS AT THE SAME
TIME, SO IT'S A VERY CHALLENGING
OPERATION.

The narrator says TO ACHIEVE THEIR
UNPRECEDENTED MISSION RATE,
SOME AIRCRAFT MUST BE ABLE TO
LAND AT THE SAME TIME AS OTHERS
ARE TAKING OFF.
IT'S AN IMPOSSIBLE PROBLEM THAT
WAS FACED BY THE INNOVATORS OF
THE PAST.
(TICKING)
US NAVY PILOT LIEUTENANT LESLIE
GARCIA IS A FAST JET
SPECIALIST, WELL AWARE OF THE
HUGE PROBLEMS OF LAUNCHING AND
LANDING ON AN AIRCRAFT CARRIER.

Leslie is in her thirties, with long straight brown hair in an updo and wears an Air Force uniform.

She says IT IS NOT UNCOMMON TO HAVE
OVER 20 AIRCRAFT LAUNCH RIGHT
BEFORE 20 AIRCRAFT ARE
RECOVERING DURING THE SAME OPEN
DECK TIME.

The narrator says PILOTS AND ENGINEERS HAVE
FACED THESE CHALLENGES FOR
DECADES.
IN THE WAKE OF THE SECOND WORLD
WAR, AIRCRAFT CARRIERS GOT
BIGGER TO TAKE ON MORE
AIRCRAFT.
BUT AS PROP PLANES GAVE WAY TO
JETS...
THE CARRIERS' STRAIGHT RUNWAYS
WERE HAMPERING OPERATIONS.
LANDING AND LAUNCHING THESE
FAST, HEAVY JETS AT THE SAME
TIME ON A SINGLE RUNWAY WAS
IMPOSSIBLE.
TO SIMULATE THE STRAIGHT DECK'S
LIMITATIONS, LIEUTENANT GARCIA
IS HANDING OVER THE FLYING TO A
MODEL PLANE CLUB.

Leslie says SO, RIGHT NOW, WE'RE
PUTTING DOWN THE CENTRE LINE OF
THE STRAIGHT DECK CARRIER.
I DIDN'T KNOW I WAS GOING TO
GET A WORKOUT WHILE I WAS OUT
HERE, TOO.

The narrator says THE HISTORIC STRAIGHT DECK
DESIGN IS READY FOR TAKE-OFF.
BUT HOW WILL IT COPE?

Leslie says THEY'RE GOING TO GO
AIRBORNE, EXECUTE THEIR
MISSION, AND THEN LOOK TO COME
IN AND LAND.

The narrator says AS THE MISSION GATHERS PACE,
LANDING SIMULTANEOUSLY IS
IMPOSSIBLE.

A series of model planes go off the runway.

Leslie says NOW, WE'VE GOT THE
NEXT CYCLE OF PILOTS GETTING
READY TO TAKE OFF.
WHILE THE FIRST CYCLE THAT WE
LAUNCHED ARE STILL AIRBORNE AND
WAITING FOR THEIR OPPORTUNITY TO
COME LAND.
SO, AS YOU CAN SEE, THEY'RE
BASICALLY FOULING THE WHOLE
FLIGHT DECK.
IT'S A VERY INEFFICIENT PROCESS.

The narrator says BUT IN THE 1950S, AIRCRAFT
CARRIER DESIGN WAS TURNED ON
ITS HEAD.
NOW A FLOATING MUSEUM IN SAN
DIEGO, THE
USS MIDWAY
WAS ONE
OF THE FIRST AMERICAN CARRIERS
TO BE FITTED WITH A
GAME-CHANGING SOLUTION: THE
ANGLED DECK.
IT WAS THE BRAINCHILD OF
BRITISH ROYAL NAVY CAPTAIN
DENNIS CAMBELL AND ENGINEER
LEWIS BODDINGTON.
THEY SUPPLEMENTED THE
TRADITIONAL STRAIGHT DECK WITH
A SECOND RUNWAY.
THE PLANES' LANDING AREA WAS
NOW SEPARATED AT THE SHIP'S
WAIST.
WHILST LAUNCH CATAPULTS WERE
SAFELY POSITIONED AT THE FRONT
OF THE SHIP.

Leslie says WHEN THIS WAS A
STRAIGHT DECK, YOU WOULD
BASICALLY JUST SEE ONE LANDING
AREA STRAIGHT UP AND DOWN THE
SHIP WITH TAXIING AND LAUNCHING
AIRCRAFT TOWARDS THE BOW OF THE
SHIP, LANDING AIRCRAFT TOWARDS
THE BACK.
REALLY, THE GAME WAS CHANGED
WHEN WE WENT OVER TO THE ANGLED
FLIGHT DECK.
IT BECAME SO MUCH MORE
EFFICIENT AND, MORE IMPORTANTLY,
SO MUCH SAFER.

The narrator says THE
MIDWAY'S
REMARKABLE REFIT
ALLOWED HER PLANES TO TAKE OFF
AND LAND AT THE SAME TIME.

Leslie says THE LANDING AIRCRAFT
ARE GOING TO BE OFFSET SO THAT
IF THEY NEED TO TAKE BACK OFF,
IF THEY MISSED A WIRE, THEY
WILL HAVE THE ANGLED DECK.
THAT IS GOING TO KEEP THEM AWAY
FROM THE LAUNCHING AIRCRAFT THAT
ARE LAUNCHING STRAIGHT AHEAD.

The narrator says SO, WILL ADDING AN ANGLED
DECK BRING SOME ORDER TO
TODAY'S MISSION?

On the runway, Leslie says AS YOU CAN SEE, WE'VE
GOT ONE TAKING OFF.
HE'S GOING TO COME AROUND AND
START EXECUTING TOUCH AND GOS
WHILE WE LAUNCH THE OTHER
AIRCRAFT.

The narrator says AS ON THE
MIDWAY,
CAMBELL
AND BODDINGTON'S ADDITION
TRANSFORMS THIS AIRSTRIP INTO
A WELL-OILED MACHINE.

Leslie says HE'S APPROACHING ON
HIS LANDING.
LET'S GO AHEAD AND LAUNCH THE
SECOND.
AND YOU CAN SEE THAT THOSE TWO
FLIGHT PATHS ARE NATURALLY
DE-CONFLICTED BECAUSE OF THE
ANGLE THE LANDING AIRCRAFT IS
COMING IN ON.
WE'RE BASICALLY GETTING TWO
LANDING STRIPS FOR THE PRICE
OF ONE.

(music plays)

The narrator says THE US NAVY'S ULTRA-MODERN
FORD CLASS IS ALSO EQUIPPED
WITH AN ANGLED DECK.
BUT WHEREAS THE
MIDWAY
LAUNCHED
JUST 89 SORTIES A DAY, THE FORD
CLASS CAN COMPLETE OVER 200.

Jeremy says WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE
FLIGHT DECK AS A WHOLE, FOUR AND
A HALF ACRES SEEMS LARGE.
BUT AS YOU ADD 50 FIGHTER
AIRCRAFT AND AROUND 100 TO 150
PERSONNEL AT ALL TIMES
PERFORMING THE VARIOUS TASKS, IT
GETS VERY, VERY SMALL VERY
QUICKLY.
THE BALLET OF US DOING OUR JOB
THEY CALL CONTROLLED CHAOS, AND
THAT'S REALLY WHAT IT IS.

A man at the control room says FOUR HUNDRED YARDS!

The narrator says THE CAMBELL- AND
BODDINGTON-INSPIRED ANGLED DECK
ENABLES THE FORD CLASS TO
COMPLETE 25 PERCENT MORE
SORTIES A DAY THAN THE US
NAVY'S PREVIOUS CARRIER CLASS.

Jeremy says THE ANGLED FLIGHT
DECK IS A MAJOR FEAT IN
ENGINEERING IN ITSELF.
WITH THAT ANGLED FLIGHT DECK, WE
HAVE A LIVING AIRPORT THAT IS
RECEIVING AIRCRAFT AT THE SAME
TIME IT IS LAUNCHING AIRCRAFT
SIMULTANEOUSLY.

The narrator says WITH THE SECOND IN CLASS,
THE
JOHN F. KENNEDY,
UNDER
CONSTRUCTION, IT'S UP TO
ENGINEER MARCO TO DELIVER THE
FORD CLASS'S NEXT AWESOME
ANGLED DECK.

Marco says CURRENTLY, WE ARE AT
THE OH-ONE LEVEL OF THE SHIP.
SO THERE'S GOING TO BE A COUPLE
MORE LEVELS GOING UP WHERE THE
FLIGHT DECK'S GOING TO BE.
SO, CURRENTLY, WE'RE A LITTLE
LOWER THAN THE FLIGHT DECK.
BUT ONCE THE FLIGHT DECK IS
INSTALLED, WE SHOULD SEE THE
ANGLED DECK IN THIS DIRECTION.
THE ISLAND STRUCTURE SHOULD BE
IN THAT DIRECTION.

The narrator says THE POSITION OF THE ISLAND
IS RADICALLY DIFFERENT FROM ALL
PREVIOUS DESIGNS OF US AIRCRAFT
CARRIERS.
THIS IS ONE OF THE KEYS TO THE
CLASS'S EXTRAORDINARY CAPACITY
TO LAUNCH AND RECOVER AIRCRAFT
AT THE SAME TIME.

Marco says ON FORD CLASS, THE
ISLAND STRUCTURE WAS MOVED FROM
THIS AREA TO AREA CLOSER TO THE
STERN OF THE SHIP.
THAT ALLOWS MORE OF THE PARKING
OF THE AIRCRAFT FORE OF THE
ISLAND STRUCTURE.
WHICH ALLOWS THE NAVY OPERATORS
TO TURN AROUND THE AIRCRAFT
FASTER-- FUEL, SERVICE, WEAPONS
LOADING.
AND IN TURN GENERATES MORE
SORTIES.
AT THIS POINT IN TIME, THIS
AIRCRAFT CARRIER DESIGN IS THE
PINNACLE OF FLIGHT OPERATIONS
SUPPORT FOR THE US NAVY.

The narrator says THE RELOCATED ISLAND ALSO
HAS A SMALLER FOOTPRINT THAN
ITS PREDECESSORS, CREATING
EXTRA USABLE DECK SPACE.
BENEATH THE RUNWAYS, AIRCRAFT
ARE STORED IN A CAVERNOUS
HANGER AND DELIVERED TO THE
FLIGHT DECK BY 25-METRE-LONG
ELECTROMECHANICAL ELEVATORS.
POSITIONED ON THE SIDES OF THE
SHIP, ANY CRAFT CAN BE
MANOEUVRED WITHOUT DISRUPTING
LAUNCH OR RECOVERY.

Jeremy says WHAT YOU'RE LOOKING
AT IS WHAT WE CALL ACE-3 OR
AIRCRAFT ELEVATOR NUMBER THREE,
WHICH IS RIGHT HERE ON THE PORT
SIDE OF THE SHIP.
AND THE ELEVATOR IS UP RIGHT
NOW, AS YOU CAN SEE.
BUT AS YOU LOOK ON THESE SLOTS,
THIS IS WHAT ACTUALLY SLIDE
OUR AIRCRAFT ELEVATORS DOWN TO
THE HANGER BAY.
AND HOW WE MOVE OUR AIRCRAFT IN
AND OUT FOR MAINTENANCE AND
OPERATIONS AND THEN MOVE IT BACK
UP TO THE FLIGHT DECK AND
TAXI THEM OFF.

The narrator says THE FORD CLASS IS
UNDOUBTEDLY TAKING AIRCRAFT
DEPLOYMENT TO A WHOLE NEW
LEVEL.
BUT THE ENGINEERS FACE ANOTHER
ALMIGHTY PROBLEM: POWERING
THIS GIANT CARRIER.

Jeremy says THE LAST TWO SHIPS IN
NAVAL SERVICE WERE UNDER DIESEL
POWER.
BUT THERE ARE MAJOR, MAJOR
DRAWBACKS.

The narrator says DURING LENGTHY MISSIONS, A
TRADITIONAL, FUEL-GUZZLING
DIESEL ENGINE COULD SPELL
DISASTER FOR THE FORD CLASS.

Jeremy says WE HAVE TO EITHER
DOCK AT PORT AND REFUEL OR BE
TIED UP ACROSS ANOTHER SHIP.
AND THAT'LL LEAVE YOU
VULNERABLE.

A crowd cheers as a vessel gets baptized.

(CROWD CHEERING)

The narrator says IN NEWPORT NEWS, VIRGINIA,
THE WORLD'S LARGEST-EVER
WARSHIP HAS BEEN UNVEILED.
THE FIRST OF THE
STATE-OF-THE-ART FORD-CLASS
CARRIERS IS NOW UNDERGOING SEA
TRIALS.
VITAL TESTING TO ENSURE IT WILL
BE CAPABLE OF LAUNCHING
AIRCRAFT MORE QUICKLY THAN EVER
BEFORE.

Jeremy says THE AIRCRAFT CARRIER
IS A MOVING BASE.
IT IS A MOVING CITY.
SO WE HAVE A MOBILE CITY, A
MOBILE AIRSTRIP WITH ALL OF THE
CAPABILITIES OF ANY AIRFIELD.
AND IT CAN BE MOVED ANYWHERE IN
THE WORLD.

The narrator says TALLER THAN LONDON'S NELSON'S
COLUMN, LONGER THAN 60 NEW YORK
CABS, AND ALMOST THE WIDTH OF
AN
AIRBUS A380.
IT CAN HOLD UP TO 75 AIRCRAFT
AND ACCOMMODATE 4,500 CREW.
IN DRY DOCK, THE SECOND OF THIS
BRAND-NEW CLASS, THE
JOHN F.
KENNEDY,
IS CURRENTLY BEING
ASSEMBLED.
CONSTRUCTION DIRECTOR GEOFF
HUMMEL IS SUPERVISING PART OF
THE MAMMOTH BUILD.

Geoff says WHEN WE'RE DONE
BUILDING IT, WE'LL DELIVER A
SHIP OF A LITTLE OVER 80,000
TONNES OF DISPLACEMENT.
WHEN THE NAVY ACTUALLY LOADS IT
UP WITH CREW AND PLANES AND
SUPPLIES, IT'LL BE CLOSE TO
100,000 TONNES GOING TO SEA.

The narrator says IT WILL TAKE MORE THAN
1.8 MILLION KILOGRAMS OF WELDED
METAL TO COMPLETE THIS SHIP.
CONSTRUCTION ON THIS SCALE
CREATES HUGE LOGISTICAL
CHALLENGES.
THE SOLUTION IS TO BUILD THE
KENNEDY
IN A SERIES OF MASSIVE
SECTIONS KNOWN AS SUPER LIFTS.

Geoff says RIGHT BEHIND US IS
WHAT WE CALL THE LOWER BOW
SUPER LIFT.
IT'S ABOUT 60 FEET TALL AND A
LITTLE OVER 100 FEET LONG.
IT'S MADE UP OF SEVEN UNITS
THAT WERE BUILT IN OUR STEEL
SHOPS, BOUGHT OVER HERE AND
JOINED INTO ONE GIANT SUPER
LIFT.
AND THEN IF YOU LOOK OVER HERE,
JUST AFT OF IT, WHAT YOU'LL SEE
IS THE BEGINNINGS OF WHAT WE
CALL THE UPPER BOW.
YOU CAN ACTUALLY SEE THE
LEADING EDGE OF FLIGHT DECK
THERE WITH THAT ROLLED SHAPE.
THAT'S ACTUALLY GOING TO BE THE
VERY BOW OF THE SHIP.

The narrator says THESE MEGASTRUCTURES ARE
ONLY POSSIBLE BECAUSE OF A
STAGGERING PIECE OF
ENGINEERING...
ONE OF THE LARGEST CRANES IN
THE WORLD.

Geoff says BEHIND ME HERE IS
WHAT WE CALL OUR 1,050-TONNE
CRANE.
OTHER PEOPLE AFFECTIONATELY
KNOW IT AS BIG BLUE.
THIS CRANE IS RATED FOR 1,050
METRIC TONNES.
IT'S A VERY CAPABLE CRANE.
THE CRANE HAS TWO RAILS RUNNING
WHAT WE CALL EAST AND WEST,
TOWARDS AND AWAY FROM THE RIVER.
IT SPANS ABOUT 540 FEET BETWEEN
THE RAILS, AND IT'S ABOUT 230
FEET TALL.

The narrator says WHEN YOU'RE MANOEUVRING
1,000-TONNE STEEL SECTIONS,
THERE'S NO ROOM FOR ERROR.
BIG BLUE'S THREE HOISTS ALLOW
PINPOINT PERFECTION.

Geoff says WITH THIS CRANE,
YOU'RE ACTUALLY MAKING ONE MOVE
WITH ALL THREE HOISTS BEING
SYNCHRONISED.
IT'S GOT SOME PRETTY GOOD
PRECISION AS FAR AS HOW
ACCURATELY WE CAN PLACE THE UNIT
OR MOVE THE UNIT TO GET IT
WITHIN AN INCH OR LESS.
AND THEN WE CAN ACTUALLY USE
SOME JACKS TO POSITION THE UNIT
EXACTLY WHERE WE WANT IT.
IT'S JUST COOL, MAN!
(LAUGHING)

(music plays)

The narrator says BUT ONCE AT SEA, THE FORD
CLASS'S SHEER SCALE POSES
ANOTHER ENORMOUS PROBLEM.
AS THEIR MISSIONS WILL LAST FOR
MONTHS AT A TIME, PROPELLING A
SHIP OF THIS SIZE WITH
TRADITIONAL THIRSTY COMBUSTION
ENGINES IS OUT OF THE QUESTION.

Jeremy says THERE ARE MAJOR,
MAJOR DRAWBACKS TO BEING A
DIESEL-POWERED PLATFORM.
EVERY ONE WEEK OR TWO WEEKS, YOU
HAVE TO EITHER DOCK AT PORT AND
REFUEL OR BE TIED UP ACROSS
ANOTHER SHIP TO REFUEL.
AND THAT'LL LEAVE YOU
VULNERABLE.

The narrator says NOT ONLY THAT.
THE POWER NEEDS TO SATISFY THE
DEMANDS OF OVER 4,500 CREW.

Geoff says WE HAVE ALL THE GALLEY
AND FOOD SERVICES, STORES,
PERSONNEL ACCOMMODATIONS.
THERE'S A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF
DIFFERENT SYSTEMS UNDERNEATH
THAT FLIGHT DECK, MAKING THE
SHIP GO AND ALLOWING IT TO
PERFORM ITS MISSION.

The narrator says A NEW POWER SOURCE IS NEEDED.
CAN THE INNOVATORS OF THE PAST
SHED ANY LIGHT ON THE PROBLEM?
(TICKING)

(music plays)

The narrator says CARTAGENA IN SOUTHEAST SPAIN
COULD HARBOUR A SOLUTION FOR
THE FORD CLASS.
FORMER SPANISH SUBMARINER DIEGO
QUEVEDO IS VISITING THE
HISTORIC NAVAL BASE OF A NATION
THAT ONCE RULED THE WAVES.

Diego is in his fifties, with short wavy gray hair and a goatee. He wears cream trousers and a royal blue T-shirt.

Diego says "This was the very navy that carried famous explorers across the Atlantic to discover the new world."

The narrator says BY THE 1800S, THE MIGHT OF
THE SPANISH NAVY MAY HAVE FADED
AWAY.
BUT IN 1888, A NEW BREED OF
MARITIME ENGINEERING SURFACED.

Diego says "This is the Peral submarine."

The narrator says THE WORLD'S FIRST
FULLY-FUNCTIONING MILITARY
SUBMERSIBLE, THE 22-METRE-LONG
PERAL
CHANGED THE FACE OF
WARFARE.

Diego says "This was the first submarine that made navigation absolutely submerged. Sailing at ten metres deep. That's incredible.2

The narrator says BUT THE SPANISH ENGINEERS
HAD THE SAME PROBLEM AS THE ONE
FACING THE FORD CLASS: HOW TO
POWER THE
PERAL
ON LONG
MISSIONS THROUGH THE WORLD'S
OCEANS.

Diego says "Propelling the submarine was very difficult, it was a big problem. The obvious choice was to use combustion engine."

The narrator says HOWEVER, A COMBUSTION
ENGINE'S TOXIC FUMES WOULD BE
DEADLY IN THIS AIRTIGHT STEEL
TUBE.

Diego says "The air is necessary for sailors. Engineers need a solution to this problem."

The narrator says THE SUBMARINE'S DESIGNER,
NAVAL ENGINEER ISAAC PERAL, HAD
AN INGENIOUS ANSWER.
TO CREATE SUSTAINABLE POWER
BENEATH THE WAVES, HE TURNED TO
ELECTRICITY.
AND TODAY, DIEGO HAS SPECIAL
ACCESS TO THE HEART OF THE
SOLUTION.

Diego gets inside the submarine and says "The submarine holds 613 batteries. This side and this side. Each one is this size, OK."

He makes a hand gesture bigger than a square foot.

The narrator says THE
PERAL
WAS LINED WITH 30
TONNES' WORTH OF RECHARGEABLE
LEAD ACID BATTERIES.
THEIR FIRST JOB: TO PROPEL ITS
SLEEK STRUCTURE THROUGH THE
DEPTHS.

Diego says "Here, this side and this side were two electric motors, and this one and this one, the two propellers. Of the 613 batteries 400 of them were only for motors."

The narrator says VIRTUALLY EVERY SYSTEM ON
BOARD WAS ALSO BATTERY-POWERED,
MAKING THIS THE WORLD'S FIRST
TRULY SELF-SUFFICIENT SUB.
THE
PERAL
PAVED THE WAY FOR
ELECTRIC SUBMARINES THROUGHOUT
THE WORLD.
AND ALTHOUGH NUCLEAR EVENTUALLY
TOOK OVER, ISAAC PERAL'S
CONTRIBUTION TO MARINE POWER IS
BEYOND DOUBT.

Diego says "Peral was not a normal engineer. An excellent engineer. On top of the engineers."

(TICKING)

(music plays)

The narrator says THE
PERAL'S
BATTERIES
ALLOWED IT TO CRUISE UNDERWATER
FOR A FEW HOURS WITH A RANGE
OF 132 NAUTICAL MILES.
BUT THE FORD-CLASS POWER
SOURCE CAN KEEP IT AT SEA FOR
MONTHS AT A TIME WITHOUT
REFUELLING.
BUILDING ON MODERN SUBMARINE
TECHNOLOGY, THE SOLUTION IS A
PAIR OF NUCLEAR REACTORS.

Jeremy says ONE OF THE MAJOR
ADVANTAGES TO HAVING NUCLEAR
POWER IS THE ENGINEERING FEAT OF
ACTUALLY GETTING 100,000 TONNES
OF DISPLACEMENT WITH THE
AIRCRAFT CARRIER THROUGH THE
WATER AT ABOUT 35-PLUS KNOTS.
WE ARE ABLE TO HAVE FOUR AND A
HALF ACRES OF SOVEREIGN AMERICAN
SOIL ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD FOR
UP TO 25 YEARS AT A TIME UNDER
NUCLEAR POWER.

The narrator says THE NUCLEAR REACTORS SPLIT
URANIUM, PRODUCING HEAT, WHICH
CONVERTS WATER TO STEAM,
DRIVING FOUR TURBINES.
THESE ROTATE FOUR PROPELLER
SHAFTS TO PROPEL THE
337-METRE-LONG CARRIER.
BUT THE REACTORS' OUTPUT IS SO
IMMENSE THEY CAN ALSO PRODUCE
HUGE AMOUNTS OF ELECTRICITY.
UNLIKE ANY CARRIER BEFORE IT,
VIRTUALLY EVERYTHING ON THE
TRAILBLAZING FORD CLASS IS
POWERED BY ELECTRICITY.

Jeremy says ESSENTIALLY, WHAT YOU
ARE LOOKING AT IS AN ELECTRICAL
SHIP.
IT'S LIKE AN ELECTRIC CAR,
ONLY THINK OF THAT ABOUT
100,000 TIMES THAT SIZE.
USS GERALD R. FORD
CARRIES A
LOAD OF 13,800 KILOVOLTS OF
AMPERAGE.
SO YOU'RE LOOKING AT THREE TIMES
THE AMOUNT OF ELECTRICAL LOAD
THAT THE AIRCRAFT CARRIERS
BEFORE US HAVE EVER HAD.
AND THAT ALLOWS US FOR SOME OF
THE NEW TECHNOLOGY THAT WE HAVE
ON BOARD.

The narrator says AND OVER THREE MILLION
METRES OF ELECTRICAL CABLING
ALSO PROVIDE ENERGY FOR
4,500 CREW ON BOARD.

Jeremy says THE USS
GERALD R.
FORD
IS A FLOATING CITY.
SO WE HAVE EVERY SERVICE THAT A
CIVILIAN COUNTERPART OR AN
ACTUAL TOWNSHIP THAT YOU MIGHT
LIVE IN MIGHT HAVE.
WE HAVE A POST OFFICE.
WE HAVE GYMS.
WE HAVE A COFFEE SHOP.
WE HAVE LAUNDRY SERVICE.
WE HAVE THAT ON BOARD SO THAT WE
CAN SUSTAIN OURSELVES OUT FOR
LONG PERIODS OF TIME AND REALLY
BE EFFECTIVE.

The narrator says THIS GIANT OF THE SEA IS
BUILT FOR THE FUTURE.
BUT TODAY, THE ENGINEERS FACE
ANOTHER SEEMINGLY IMPOSSIBLE
CHALLENGE.

Gabriel says YOU ONLY HAVE A
FRACTION OF THE RUNWAY THAT AN
AIRCRAFT TYPICALLY WOULD NEED IN
ORDER TO TAKE OFF.

A military man says IF THE AIRCRAFT DIDN'T
HAVE ENOUGH POWER, IT COULD BE
VERY CATASTROPHIC, BECAUSE THE
AIRCRAFT COULD END UP GOING
INTO THE WATER AND NOT TAKING
OFF AT ALL.

(music plays)

The narrator says IN NEWPORT NEWS, VIRGINIA,
AN ARMY OF ENGINEERS ARE
CONSTRUCTING THE SEEMINGLY
IMPOSSIBLE: THE FORD-CLASS
AIRCRAFT CARRIER.
THE LARGEST WARSHIP EVER BUILT.
THIS BRAND-NEW CLASS HAS 17
DECKS.
ITS COLOSSAL FLIGHT DECK
STRETCHES TO FIVE ACRES.
SUPERSIZED ENGINEERING DESIGNED
TO DEPLOY MORE AIRCRAFT
MISSIONS THAN EVER BEFORE, IN
ANY PART OF THE WORLD.
THE FIRST OF THIS GAME-CHANGING
FLEET HAS JUST BEEN
COMMISSIONED INTO THE US NAVY.

Jeremy says USS
GERALD R. FORD
IS SETTING THE STANDARD AND IS
SETTING THE BAR ON THE WAY THAT
AIRCRAFT CARRIERS AROUND THE
WORLD AND THE WAY NAVAL
OPERATIONS ARE GOING TO BE
DEALT WITH AND SUSTAINED.

The narrator says TEN RECORD-BREAKING CARRIERS
WILL EVENTUALLY MAKE UP THE
CLASS... THE SECOND OF WHICH,
THE
JOHN F. KENNEDY,
IS
CURRENTLY BEING ASSEMBLED.
WHEN COMPLETED, IT WILL BE WELL
OVER 300 METRES LONG.
BUT ITS RUNWAY WILL ONLY BE
AROUND A SEVENTH OF A NORMAL
RUNWAY'S LENGTH.
LAUNCHING AIRCRAFT IN THIS
DISTANCE POSES A HUGE PROBLEM
FOR ENGINEER GABE SAVA.

Gabriel says THE RUNWAY ON THIS
CARRIER IS GOING TO BE JUST
UNDER 350 FEET.
SO, THE GREATEST CHALLENGE
INVOLVED IN LAUNCHING AN
AIRCRAFT FROM A CARRIER IS THAT
YOU ONLY HAVE A FRACTION OF THE
RUNWAY THAT AN AIRCRAFT
TYPICALLY WOULD NEED IN ORDER TO
TAKE OFF.
TO GET THE AIRCRAFT TO THE
ADEQUATE SPEED, WE HAVE TO USE A
SYSTEM OF LAUNCHING, WHICH IS A
CATAPULT SYSTEM THAT PROPELS AND
ACCELERATES THE AIRCRAFT SO THAT
IT CAN TAKE OFF.

The narrator says TO DATE, LAUNCH CATAPULTS
HAVE BEEN STEAM-DRIVEN.
BUT THESE SYSTEMS LACK
ACCELERATION CONTROL AND WOULD
RIP APART THE FORD CLASS'S
LIGHTER AIRCRAFT, SUCH AS
UNMANNED DRONES.

Gabriel says STEAM-POWERED
CATAPULTS, BY THEIR VERY NATURE,
CAN PUT A LOT OF LOADS OR
STRESS ON THE AIRCRAFT.
IN ADDITION, STEAM CATAPULTS
REQUIRE A LOT OF MAINTENANCE.
THERE'S A LOT OF CORROSION
WITHIN THE TROUGHS, BECAUSE
THERE'S A LOT OF MOISTURE.

The narrator says THE FORD CLASS ENGINEERS
PROPOSED A NEW SOLUTION:
CATAPULT POWER GENERATED BY
ELECTROMAGNETICS.
PETTY OFFICER DANIEL RIVERA IS
PART OF THE LAUNCH TEAM
INVOLVED IN THE INITIAL
TESTING.

The caption changes to "Daniel Rivera. Aviation Boatswain's Mate First Class."

Daniel is in his thirties, with very short brown hair and a moustache. He wears a military uniform.

Daniel says WE HAVE TO PERFORM
WHAT'S CALLED DEAD LOAD TESTING.
A DEAD LOAD IS ESSENTIALLY A
BIG PIECE OF METAL ON WHEELS
THAT REPRESENTS DIFFERENT
AIRCRAFT WEIGHTS.
AND PRETTY MUCH, WE WERE ON THE
FLIGHT DECK, AND WE LAUNCHED
EACH DEAD LOAD.
THE DEAD LOADS WOULD GO
ACTUALLY OFF THE BOAT.
THEY WOULD TAKE OFF AND FLY
OVER TO THE JAMES RIVER.

The dead load is launched and it falls in the water.

The narrator says CONCEALED BELOW THE
CATAPULT'S SHUTTLE AND RAILS,
THE ELECTROMAGNETIC AIRCRAFT
LAUNCH SYSTEM, KNOWN AS EMALS,
USES THE SHIP'S POWER TO CREATE
AN ENORMOUS ELECTRICAL CHARGE.

Daniel says THE SYSTEM USES
13,800 KILOVOLTS THAT IS BEING
GENERATED FROM THE SHIP IN ORDER
TO POWER THE EQUIPMENT.
AND WITH THAT ENERGY, WE'RE
ABLE TO LAUNCH AN AIRCRAFT ZERO
TO ABOUT 150 MILES PER HOUR IN
JUST UNDER THREE SECONDS.

The narrator says WITH THE PLANE ON 100 PERCENT
THROTTLE, THIS HUGE SHOT OF
ELECTRICITY IS RELEASED INTO A
SERIES OF ELECTROMAGNETS
POSITIONED DOWN TWO LAUNCH
RAILS.
A POWERFUL MAGNETIC WAVE
PROPELS THE ATTACHED PLANE OFF
THE RUNWAY.

Daniel says WITH EMALS, THE POWER
THAT WE PRODUCE DURING EACH
AIRCRAFT LAUNCH IS A LOT MORE
CONTROLLED.
SO FOR THAT REASON, WE CAN BE
ABLE TO LAUNCH A WIDER RANGE OF
AIRCRAFT.
USING COMPUTER SOFTWARE, WHILE
THE CATAPULT IS GOING DOWN THE
TRACK, IT KNOWS HOW MUCH POWER
IS NEEDED IN ORDER TO GET THAT
AIRCRAFT OFF THE DECK.

The narrator says BUT SOMETIMES, EVEN THE
MIGHTY EMALS CATAPULT ISN'T
ENOUGH TO GET THE JETS OFF THE
DECK.
CHIEF PETTY OFFICER JEREMY
STOECKLEIN HAS EXPERIENCED THIS
POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS SITUATION
FIRST-HAND.

Jeremy says THERE ARE TIMES THAT
WE'RE OUT IN THE MIDDLE OF
THE OCEAN.
DEPENDING ON WEATHER, DEPENDING
ON WHAT THE AIRCRAFT NEEDS TO
BE LOADED DOWN WITH, SOMETIMES
THAT AIRCRAFT DOESN'T HAVE
ENOUGH POWER ON 100 PERCENT
THROTTLE TO REACH THAT MINIMUM
AIRSPEED.
AND SOMETIMES, WE NEED JUST A
LITTLE BIT EXTRA.

The narrator says FOR THE ENGINEERS, THIS IS A
PROBLEM THAT COULD END IN
DISASTER.

Daniel says IF THE AIRCRAFT
DIDN'T HAVE ENOUGH POWER, IT
COULD BE VERY CATASTROPHIC,
BECAUSE THE AIRCRAFT COULD END
UP GOING INTO THE WATER AND NOT
TAKING OFF AT ALL.

The narrator says SO, HOW CAN THESE PHENOMENAL
JETS PRODUCE MORE POWER?
IT'S A CHALLENGE THAT'S BEEN
FACED IN THE PAST.
(TICKING)

(music plays)

The narrator says ENGINEER DAN DICKRELL IS AT THE
PATUXENT RIVER NAVAL AIRBASE
IN MARYLAND, THE SITE OF AN
EXTRAORDINARY INNOVATION THAT
COULD PROVIDE A SOLUTION FOR
THE FORD CLASS.

Dan is in his thirties, with short light brown hair and a graying beard. He wears jeans, a dark gray blazer, and a blue shirt.

Dan says THIS IS A
T38 TALON.
IT'S A TWO-SEAT TRAINER.
IT'S POWERED BY TWO GENERAL
ELECTRIC J85 ENGINES.
TOP SPEED IS OVER 1,200 MILES
PER HOUR, WHICH IS SUPERSONIC,
FASTER THAN THE SPEED OF SOUND.

The narrator says TODAY, THE
T38
IS ENTERING
THE HUSH HOUSE, A SECRETIVE
TEST FACILITY WHERE ENGINEERS
CAN SEE HOW JET ENGINES PERFORM
UP CLOSE.

Dan says ALRIGHT, SO THE
T38
IS
TIED DOWN.
THE TEST IS ABOUT TO BEGIN.
LET'S DO IT.

The narrator says WITH SPECIAL CLEARANCE TO BE
JUST METRES FROM THE ENGINE,
DAN IS WITNESSING A TEST THAT
WILL REVEAL ONE OF THE KEYS TO
A SUCCESSFUL AIRCRAFT CARRIER
LAUNCH.
(ENGINE STARTING)

Dan says HERE WE GO.
THE TEST IS BEGINNING.
(ENGINE GROWING LOUDER)
IT'S PRETTY EXCITING.
YOU CAN HEAR IT SPOOLING UP.
(ENGINE GROWING LOUDER)

He wears noise cancelling ear muffs and says "But when it goes on we'll know. Alright here we go."

Dan points at the fire trail and says "I love this, I love this! It's so cool it's so amazing."

The narrator says THIS INCREDIBLE SIGHT IS
CREATED BY WHAT'S KNOWN AS AN
AFTERBURNER.
(ENGINE SOUND DECREASING)

Dan says "That was intense, that was certainly an intense experience."

Dan says MAN, I LOVE THE SMELL OF JET
FUEL IN THE MORNING.
YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN?
IT'S REALLY GOOD STUFF.
WHEW!

The narrator says THE AFTERBURNER IS THE SECRET
TO PRODUCING THRUST, THE
EXPLOSIVE POWER REQUIRED BY
THE FORD CLASS'S JETS.
IT WAS INVENTED OVER 85 YEARS
AGO BY SIR FRANK WHITTLE, ONE
OF THE FOREFATHERS OF THE
TURBOJET ENGINE.

A black and white clip shows Whittle climbing in a plane cockpit.

A newscaster sats A
METEOR
JET PLANE IS
READY FOR AN UNOFFICIAL APPROACH
TO THE SOUND BARRIER.

The narrator says DURING THE 1940S, THE RACE
WAS ON TO BREAK THE SOUND
BARRIER.
JET ENGINES NEEDED MORE POWER,
BUT MAKING THEM BIGGER WAS OUT
OF THE QUESTION.
SO WHITTLE DEVISED HIS RADICAL
SOLUTION: THE AFTERBURNER.

Dan says SEE, IT'S RIGHT HERE ON THE
BACK OF THE ENGINE.
IT VASTLY INCREASES THE AMOUNT
OF THRUST THAT'S AVAILABLE TO
THE ENGINE WITHOUT ADDING MUCH
WEIGHT OR COMPLEXITY TO THE
ENGINE ITSELF.

The narrator says A STANDARD JET ENGINE TAKES
AIR IN, ADDS FUEL, AND IGNITES
THE MIXTURE, PROPELLING THE
AIRCRAFT FORWARD.
WHITTLE REALIZED MUCH OF THE
OXYGEN WAS UNUSED.
SO HE ADDED MORE FUEL AT THE
REAR OF THE ENGINE TO
UTILIZE IT.
THIS CREATES A MASSIVE AMOUNT
OF EXTRA THRUST.

Dan says WHEN YOU'RE DESIGNING
SOMETHING, THE SIMPLER IS
USUALLY THE BETTER.
AND WHITTLE'S SOLUTION IS
AMAZINGLY SIMPLE.
YET ITS PERFORMANCE INCREASE IS
BRILLIANT.

The narrator says TO FULLY APPRECIATE THE
AFTERBURN EXPERIENCE, AIR
FORCE VETERAN BUDD GREEN IS
REACQUAINTING HIMSELF WITH THE
F100,
THE FIRST US JET TO FLY
SUPERSONIC.

Budd is in his sixties, with short receding gray hair and a short beard. He wears an army green Air Force overall.

He says THE LAST TIME I LOOKED INTO
THE BACK END OF AN
F100
WAS 52
YEARS AGO.
(CHUCKLING)
I'M A LITTLE NERVOUS.
NOT NERVOUS BUT A LITTLE ANTSY.

The narrator says EQUIPPED WITH WHITTLE'S
AWESOME AFTERBURNER SYSTEM,
NAUGHT TO 100 KILOMETRES AN
HOUR TAKES JUST SECONDS.

Budd rides the jet and says HOLY (BLEEP).

The narrator says AT TOP SPEED, IT SMASHES
THROUGH THE SOUND BARRIER...

Budd says "Man it's been a long time. Holey moley!"

The narrator says COURTESY OF A STAGGERING
PIECE OF ENGINEERING.

Over the radio, a man says "Very nice."

Budd says "Thank you, sir. Wow! I felt that one!"

(PILOT LAUGHING)

Budd says WE WERE GOING ABOUT 320
OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT WHEN HE
LIT IT.
AND YOU COULD REALLY FEEL THE
KICK, BECAUSE ALL OF A SUDDEN,
YOU GOT A WHOLE BUNCH OF
ADDITIONAL THRUST.
AND IT JUST KNOCKS YOU IN THE
REAR END.
IT WAS FUN.
IT DOES REALLY KICK.
UNBELIEVABLE.
(TICKING)

The narrator says THE FORD CLASS JETS ARE ALSO
EQUIPPED WITH AFTERBURNERS.
THIS WHITTLE-INSPIRED
INNOVATION ENABLES THEM TO TAKE
ON THE BROADEST SET OF
MISSIONS EVER LAUNCHED FROM A
CARRIER.

Jeremy says THE ABILITY OF THE
AIRCRAFT TO HAVE THIS
AFTERBURNER OPTION INCREASES
OUR FLEXIBILITY.
IT ALLOWS US TO GO UP IN WEIGHT
WITH THAT EXTRA BOOST OF ENERGY
THAT WILL ALLOW US TO REACH THAT
MINIMUM AIRSPEED.
SO WE CAN CARRY MORE ORDNANCE,
MORE FUEL, ANYTHING THAT WE
NEED TO COMPLETE OUR MISSION.

The narrator says TO SUCCESSFULLY LAUNCH, THE
JETS MUST REACH OVER 200
KILOMETRES AN HOUR IN JUST 100
METRES.
IT'S UP TO THE FLIGHT CREW TO
DECIDE WHETHER THE PLANE WILL
NEED ANY ADDITIONAL THRUST.

Jeremy says AS AN AIRCRAFT IS
COMING TO THE CATAPULT, WE'RE
GOING TO PREDETERMINE WHETHER OR
NOT THAT NEEDS TO HAVE AN
AFTERBURNER SHOT.
DEPENDING ON HEADWIND,
DEPENDING ON ARMAMENT OF THE
AIRCRAFT ITSELF, DEPENDING ON
HOW MUCH SHE WEIGHS.
SO, WE'LL SIGNAL THE PILOT AND
WE'LL SIGNAL THE CREW ON DECK,
LETTING EVERYBODY KNOW THAT
THIS WILL BE AN AFTERBURNER SHOT
SO SAFETY CONCERNS ARE MET.
AND THEN WE'LL SAFELY LAUNCH
THAT AIRCRAFT INTO THE SKY.
THE AFTERBURNER IS ANOTHER TOOL
THAT WE HAVE IN OUR NAVY
TOOLBOX TO BE ABLE TO GET THESE
SORTIES AND TO GET OUR AIRCRAFT
OFF SITE AND ON TARGET FASTER
AND ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD.

The narrator says LAUNCHING OVER 200 JETS A
DAY IS AN INCREDIBLE FEAT OF
ENGINEERING.
BUT IT'S ONLY HALF THE STORY.
BRINGING THEM HOME IS EVEN
HARDER.

Gabriel says LANDING AN AIRCRAFT
IS DEFINITELY ONE OF THE MOST
DANGEROUS ACTIVITIES THAT YOU DO
ON THE FLIGHT DECK.

(music plays)

The narrator says THE FORD-CLASS AIRCRAFT
CARRIERS ARE THE LARGEST
WARSHIPS IN THE WORLD.
THEY DWARF ALL OF THEIR
PREDECESSORS.
AT 337 METRES LONG AND WEIGHING
IN AT 100,000 TONNES, THIS
CLASS OF SHIP IS STILL CAPABLE
OF AT LEAST 30 KNOTS, COURTESY
OF FOUR PROPS DRIVEN BY TWO
NUCLEAR REACTORS.
THE SECOND IN CLASS, THE
JOHN
F. KENNEDY,
IS JUST MONTHS FROM
LAUNCH.
ENGINEER GEOFF HUMMEL
SUPERVISES CONSTRUCTION OF THIS
GROUND-BREAKING MARITIME
MARVEL.

Geoff says THE FORD CLASS HAS
REALLY TAKEN ABOUT A 40-YEAR
LEAP IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF
AIRCRAFT CARRIER TECHNOLOGY.
SO, WE EXPECT THIS SHIP TO LAST
50 YEARS.
WE REALLY DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY
NEED TO BE CAPABLE OF IN THE
FUTURE.
RIGHT NOW, WE KNOW THEY NEED TO
BE CAPABLE OF LAUNCHING AND
RECOVERING AIRPLANES AND
SERVING THE DIFFERENT
HUMANITARIAN MISSIONS THAT
THEY'LL DO FOR THE NAVY.

The narrator says SEA TRIALS ARE CURRENTLY
UNDERWAY FOR THE CLASS'S FIRST
COMPLETED SHIP, THE
GERALD R.
FORD.
TO SATISFY ITS MULTI-MISSION
REMIT, IT'S BUILT TO TRANSPORT
AN ASSORTMENT OF AIRCRAFT.

Jeremy says WE CARRY HELICOPTERS.
WE CARRY AIRCRAFT.
WE CARRY OTHER SHIPS ON BOARD
THE AIRCRAFT CARRIER.
SO WE HAVE AN ARMAMENT OF WAYS
THAT WE CAN HELP OUT THAT'S NOT
JUST ON A WAR EFFORT.

The narrator says BUT THE PILOTS AND CREW FACE
A MAMMOTH PROBLEM EVERY TIME
THEIR AIRCRAFT RETURN FROM A
MISSION.

Gabriel says LANDING AN AIRCRAFT
IS DEFINITELY ONE OF THE MOST
DANGEROUS ACTIVITIES THAT YOU
DO ON THE FLIGHT DECK.
THIS IS BECAUSE OF THE SHORT
RUNWAY AND THE PRECISION THAT'S
REQUIRED.

The narrator says SOMEHOW, THE JETS HAVE TO
STOP IN JUST A SEVENTH OF A
NORMAL RUNWAY'S LENGTH.
OR THEY'LL END UP IN THE DRINK.
CAN A BOLD PIONEER FROM THE
PAST PROVIDE A SOLUTION TO THIS
SEEMINGLY IMPOSSIBLE CHALLENGE?

(TICKING)

A clip shows a pilot riding a biplane.

(ENGINE RUNNING)

The narrator says IT MAY BE HARD TO BELIEVE, BUT
THIS BEAUTIFUL BIPLANE COULD
HOLD THE KEY TO LANDING ON THE
FORD-CLASS CARRIERS.
ENGINEER DAN DICKRELL IS IN
VIRGINIA, DISCOVERING HOW.

Dan says SO, THAT MARVELLOUS AIRPLANE
THAT JUST TOOK OFF IS THE
ELY
CURTIS PUSHER.
EVEN THOUGH THAT'S A REPLICA, IT
WAS BUILT IN 1910, AND IT FIRST
FLEW IN 1911.
OH, IT'S BEAUTIFUL TO WATCH IN
THE AIR.
TODAY, IT LOOKS LIKE A VERY
SIMPLE MACHINE.
BUT AT THE TIME, IT WAS A
CUTTING-EDGE FLYING MACHINE.

The narrator says THE
CURTIS PUSHER
WAS THE
FIRST-EVER PLANE TO TAKE OFF
FROM A WARSHIP.
BUT AMERICAN PILOT EUGENE ELY
WASN'T SATISFIED.
HE ALSO WANTED TO LAND HIS
PLANE ON A SHIP.
HOWEVER, HE ONLY HAD 120 FEET
TO WORK WITH.
A PROBLEM DEMONSTRATED AS
TODAY'S FLIGHT DRAWS TO A
CLOSE.

Dan says THE BIPLANE'S LANDED.
IT FIRST TOUCHED DOWN RIGHT
ABOUT HERE, AND IT'S COASTED TO
A STOP.
I'M GOING TO PACE IT OFF AND SEE
HOW FAR IT TOOK TO COME TO A
COMPLETE STOP.

The narrator says IF THIS PLANE WAS LANDING ON
ELY'S SHIP, ANYTHING OVER 120
FEET WOULD HAVE ENDED IN
DISASTER.

Dan uses a measuring device and says ALRIGHT, HERE...
HEY, BOO, HOW'S IT GOING?

The pilot says HOW YOU DOING?

Dan says TERRIFIC.

The pilot says HOW MUCH WAS IT?

Dan says IT WAS 275 FEET.

The pilot says AH!
IT WOULD HAVE SMACKED PROBABLY
RIGHT INTO THE SUPERSTRUCTURE
OF THE SHIP IN THAT CASE OR
OVER THE SIDE IF IT WASN'T A
SUPERSTRUCTURE.

The narrator says BUT ELY HAD THE HELP OF
ENGINEER HUGH ROBINSON, WHO
CAME UP WITH AN IDEA TO BRING
HIS AIRCRAFT SAFELY TO A HALT.
IT'S A SOLUTION THAT COULD HELP
THE FORD CLASS.

Dan says ROBINSON CAME UP WITH
ARRESTING GEAR.
THIS WAS A SYSTEM THAT WAS
DESIGNED TO BRING THE PLANE TO
A STOP.
IT WAS LITTLE MORE THAN ROPE AND
SANDBAGS.

The narrator says ROBINSON TIED THE ROPE
BETWEEN THE SANDBAGS ACROSS THE
SHIP'S DECK.
THE PLAN WAS TO TRANSFER THE
LANDING PLANE'S MOMENTUM INTO
THE HEAVY BAGS.

Dan says HERE WE HAVE A TRICYCLE.
THIS IS GOING TO MIMIC THE
FRAME OF THE BIPLANE.
NOW, ROBINSON TOOK A TAIL HOOK
AND ATTACHED IT TO THE BOTTOM OF
THE BIPLANE, SOMETHING SIMILAR
TO THIS.
THE PURPOSE OF THIS HOOK WAS TO
CATCH THE ROPES THAT WOULD
ARREST THE PLANE, TAKING ITS
FORWARD MOMENTUM, BRINGING IT
TO A STOP.
NOW, WHAT I'M GOING TO ATTEMPT
TO DO IS RECREATE HOW THIS TAIL
HOOK WORKS.
SO, IF I BUILD UP A LITTLE
FORWARD MOMENTUM, WE CAN SEE
WHAT HAPPENS.
I'M GOING TO WANT TO STOP BEFORE
I CRASH INTO THIS WALL.
DROP THE HOOK.

The hook catches the rope with the sandbags and they stop the tricycle.

Dan says OH, YEAH!
SO, THE FORWARD MOMENTUM THAT MY
TRICYCLE HAD WAS COMPLETELY
CONSUMED BY THE SANDBAGS.
THE TAIL HOOK DRUG THE SANDBAGS
ALONG THE GROUND.
FRICTION WAS CONSUMING ALL OF
THAT ENERGY.
IT WORKS REALLY, REALLY WELL.
WHAT A REALLY BRILLIANT CONCEPT
IT IS.

The narrator says AND IN 1911, THIS
UNCOMPLICATED SOLUTION BROUGHT
ELY'S PLANE TO A STANDSTILL IN
JUST 30 FEET ON BOARD A
CONVERTED WARSHIP.

Dan says THAT PARTICULAR
INNOVATION WAS EXAMPLE THAT
LANDING AIRCRAFT ON SHIPS WAS
POSSIBLE.
IT REALLY PAVED THE WAY FOR
WHAT WE SEE TODAY.
(TICKING)

The narrator says THE FORD CLASS ENGINEERS ARE
ADAPTING ROBINSON'S INGENIOUS
CONCEPT.
BUT WHEREAS ELY LANDED HIS
BIPLANE AT 64 KILOMETRES PER
HOUR, THESE JETS ARE
APPROACHING AT FOUR TIMES THAT
SPEED.
AND THEY ARE 65 TIMES HEAVIER
THAN THE VINTAGE AIRCRAFT.
THE SOLUTION IS A CUTTING-EDGE
SYSTEM KNOWN AS ADVANCED
ARRESTING GEAR.

Gabriel says THE CURRENT ADVANCED
ARRESTING GEAR SYSTEM ON THE
FORD
CAN ARREST AIRCRAFT UP TO
50,000 POUNDS.
IN ORDER TO DO THIS, IT HAS TO
HAVE PRECISE CONTROLS SO THAT
YOU DON'T OVERSTRESS THE
AIRCRAFT.
AS THE AIRCRAFT APPROACHES,
IT PICKS UP THE PENDANT OFF
THE DECK.
THE CABLE TENSION THEN GOES
THROUGH A CABLE SHOCK ABSORBER.
THE SHOCK ABSORBER TAKES OUT THE
WAVE IN THE CABLE.
IT'S KIND OF LIKE CAR SHOCKS.
THEN THE BRAKING POWER IS
PROVIDED BY A WATER TWISTER.

The narrator says SITUATED BELOW DECK, THE
WATER TWISTER IS A PADDLE WHEEL
SUBMERGED IN FLUID.
ITS ROTATION PROVIDES
FRICTIONAL RESISTANCE,
ABSORBING AROUND TWO THIRDS OF
THE LANDING'S ENERGY.

Gabriel says THE REMAINDER OF THE
ARRESTMENT IS CONTROLLED
PRECISELY BY A MOTOR GENERATOR
THAT TAKES THAT KINETIC ENERGY
AND TURNS IT INTO ELECTRICAL
ENERGY THAT IS THEN STORED FOR
LATER USES ON AAG.

The narrator says THE ADVANCED ARRESTING GEAR
IS ALSO INCREDIBLY ADAPTABLE.
DURING A TWO-SECOND LANDING,
COMPUTER CONTROLS CONTINUALLY
ADJUST THE GEAR ACCORDING TO
THE AIRCRAFT'S WEIGHT.

Gabriel says IN ORDER WORDS, I CAN ARREST
LIGHTER AIRCRAFT THAN I
WOULD'VE BEEN ABLE TO WITH MY
OLD SYSTEM, OR HEAVIER AIRCRAFT,
BECAUSE I HAVE THE ABILITY TO
ACTIVELY CONTROL THE ARRESTMENT.
THIS SYSTEM ALSO ACTIVELY
COMPENSATES FOR THE AIRCRAFT
BEING POTENTIALLY OFF-CENTRE OR
OFF-TARGET.
AND IT IS ABLE TO CONTROL THE
PAYOUT OF CABLE IN ORDER TO
REDUCE THE AMOUNT OF STRESS ON
THE AIRCRAFT AND LAND IT SAFELY.

The narrator says BRILLIANT ENGINEERING IS
TAKING ANOTHER OF HISTORY'S
INGENIOUS INNOVATIONS INTO THE
21ST CENTURY.

(music plays)

The narrator says FOR THOSE WHO SERVE ON BOARD,
THE FORD CLASS IS UNDOUBTEDLY
TAKING AIRCRAFT CARRIER DESIGN
TO NEW HEIGHTS.

Jeremy says THE FACT THAT A
17-DECK, FOUR-AND-A-HALF-ACRE,
100,000-TONNE-IN-WEIGHT SHIP
CAN BE IN SERVICE FOR 50 YEARS
IS JUST AN INCREDIBLE THOUGHT.

The narrator says THROUGH THE EFFORTS OF ITS
ENGINEERS AND CREW, THIS
AMBITIOUS CLASS IS CHANGING
THE FACE OF MARINE ENGINEERING.

Geoff says FOR ME, IT'S A
TREMENDOUS HONOUR TO BE PART OF
THE TEAM COMING TOGETHER TO PUT
TOGETHER THIS GREAT NAVY SHIP.

The narrator says BY BUILDING ON THE WORK OF
THE PIONEERS OF THE PAST,
UPSCALING, AND MAKING THEIR OWN
DISCOVERIES, THE ENGINEERS ARE
SUCCEEDING IN MAKING THE
IMPOSSIBLE... POSSIBLE.

Jeremy says WHERE WE GO FROM
HERE, REALLY, THE SKY'S THE
LIMIT.
AND I THINK USS
GERALD R. FORD
SHOWS THAT IMPOSSIBLE
ENGINEERING IS NOT SO
IMPOSSIBLE.

Music plays as the end credits roll.

Narrated by Matthew Skilton.

Producer and directors, Timothy Clarkson, Matt Litchfield, and Doug Camberis.

Executive producer, Neil Edwards.

Series Producers, Gill Hennessey and Jonney Steven.

Two Four Rights. Produced in association with Yesterday.

Copyright 2018, Two-four.

Watch: Impossible Engineering S 4- Ep 3 - Ford Class Aircraft