By Journalist Seaman Apprentice
Nicholas C. Kaylor, USS Enterprise Public Affairs
USS Enterprise (CVN 65) (Big E) is currently undergoing one of its most visible rehabilitation efforts during its current extended yard period at the Northrop Grumman Shipyards in Newport News, Va.
The crew, as well as civilian contractors, teamed up in September to give Big E's flight deck a face lift. From installing new catapults to completely refacing the surface of the deck with non-skid, which began March 13, the crew is working diligently to complete the evolution.
“Non-skid is a non-slipping material that will assure planes won’t slip on the flight deck when they land or take off,” said Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handler) (ABH) 1st Class (AW/SW) Hector M. Arroyo
, Crash and Salvage leading petty officer. “We have to make sure the non-skid gets done right so that all of the ABHs can do their jobs; directing aircraft, driving tractors, and moving and parking aircrafts.”
The last time the deck was completely re-surfaced with non-skid was in 2002 when the Big E was in the Portsmouth Shipyards for and extended yard period.
“We’ve already finished the aft portion of the ship and we’re working our way forward,” said Arroyo.
Non-skid is not the only thing that is currently under construction on the flight deck. Crews are fixing the Big E’s four catapults to assist aircraft aboard Enterprise with
safe and efficient take-offs.
“We completely overhauled catapult one, meaning that we put in a new set of launch valves,” said Lt. j.g. Jaime Roman, aircraft launch recovery maintenance officer.
In addition to the work on catapult one, catapult two now has new deck plates and the jet blast deflectors were overhauled (rebuilt).
Catapult three is getting new deck plates, and Air Department is putting catapult four back together. Along with Commander, Naval Air Forces, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, they will test catapult four in upcoming weeks to make sure the Big “E” will be ready and on schedule.