The catapult shot. The catapult is a long tube in which a piston is driven by steam upon command by a Launch Officer. It connects to a shuttle which rides on a track on the flight deck, and to which is attached the nose gear of the aircraft being launched (see graphic below). It takes about two seconds to accelerate the aircraft from zero to around 130 knots or so in only a few hundred feet of stroke or travel.

by Rod Peterson ©2005 All Rights Reserved

Last updated: 7 October 2005