Carrier's Namesake Tests Catapult

Monday, January 28, 2008
Former President George H.W. Bush, prepares to signal the launch of two "dead loads" off the flight deck of the Precommissioning Unit (PCU) George H. W. Bush's (CVN 77). "Dead Load" launches test the ship's catapult systems ability to launch aircraft. The ship is under construction at Northrop Grumman Newport News Shipyard. U.S. Navy photo By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Susan Caraballo (Released) From Pre-Commissioning Unit George H. W. Bush Public Affairs

Marking a milestone in the construction of the U.S. Navy's newest aircraft carrier, Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) George H. W. Bush (CVN 77), the ships namesake took part in the catapult system testing on the ship's flight deck, Jan. 25. Former United States President and World War II naval aviator, George H.W. Bush signaled the launch of two dead loads off the deck of the carrier, which is currently under construction at Northrop Grumman Newport News (NGNN) Shipyard. Dead loads are large, wheeled, steel vessels weighing up to 80,000 pounds, simulating the weight of actual aircraft.

Making brief remarks, Mr. Bush said he was pleased to attend the event and that it was hard to comprehend the honor of having the aircraft carrier named after him. The ceremony was attended by NGNN President Mike Petters, Bush's Commanding Officer, Capt. Kevin O'Flaherty, as well as several flag officers and commanding officers from local and regional commands. Also in attendance were Sailors from PCU Bush and NGNN Shipyard workers who were involved with the ship's construction. The event afforded PCU Bush Sailors the opportunity to meet Mr. Bush and share a few words. "It was a unique experience to meet our ship's namesake. I didn't think we would be able to meet him and shake his hand," said Ship's Serviceman Seaman Hakeem Henderson. "He thanked me for the work I was doing to get the ship ready, which meant a lot."

Bush was presented a yellow "shooter" jersey from O'Flaherty as well as a cowboy hat-shaped hard hat. A "shooter" is the Sailor who signals for the launch of the aircraft during flight operations. "His participation in the test launches is important because it gives Mr. Bush an opportunity to get an idea of all the construction and training that goes into testing the ship," said O'Flaherty. "It's the first time we're proving that this ship is on its way to performing its mission." "For the Sailors in Air Department, it's particularly exciting because our entire purpose is to launch and recover aircraft and this testing is a big milestone for us and the ship," said Cmdr. Michael Jensen, PCU Bush Air Department. Mr. Bush said that ships had changed since he last flew off the deck of a carrier, but what hadn't changed were the pride, patriotism and devotion to duty of their Sailors. Hyundai Heavy delivers most ships in January Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., the world’s largest shipbuilder, said Monday (Jan. 28) that it delivered 11 vessels in January, more than any other company in the global shipbuilding industry, and expects to deliver more vessels this year. The vessels delivered by Hyundai Heavy include six container vessels and two liquid natural gas (LNG) carriers. The shipbuilder delivered 81 vessels valued at $6.85 billion last year, compared with 73 worth $4.81 billion in 2006. This year, Hyundai Heavy plans to deliver 134 ships. Hyundai Heavy won orders valued at $24.6 billion to build 208 ships in the first eleven months of last year, the first time for a shipbuilder to acquire orders of such value in less than a year. The company expects to win $27.4 billion worth of orders this year. Shipyards in South Korea, the world’s largest shipbuilding nation, have received record orders in recent years as demand has surged for vessels to transport raw materials to China and goods to the rest of the world. The shipbuilders have enough orders to keep them busy for about four years. To meet rising shipbuilding orders, Hyundai Heavy is building two more docks. Shares of Hyundai Heavy were trading at 346,000 won as of 10:32 a.m., down 3.35 percent.

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