NAS LemoorePhotographers: Frank Grealish
/ Sonya Cooley
11th February 2008Location:
NAS Lemoore, USA - California
On Monday 11th February 2008 IrishAirPics paid a visit to NAS (Naval Air Station) Lemoore in California. NAS Lemoore is the US Navy's largest and newest master jet air station having been commissioned in 1961.
NAS Lemoore plays host to Strike Fighter Wing Pacific and four Carrier Air Wings, C / D / E / F model Hornets are in the majority here although a handful of T-34 Mentors are based here as well.
The weather on the morning of our visit didn't look very promising due to the very heavy fog in the city of Lemoore (where our hotel was). Lemoore city is approximate 10 miles from NAS Lemoore so our expectations of good weather were low. Fortunately the fog burned off by the time we arrived at NAS Lemoore although the sky did remain hazy for the day.
Once we met our escort, PAO Dennis McGrath, we drove onto base where our first port of call were the vast ramps housing rows upon rows of Hornets. Everywhere you looked on the ramp something was happening, aircraft were undergoing maintenance, canopies were being cleaned in preparation for the day's flying and aircraft were taxying in from a training mission or taxying to the runway to begin another mission.
Once we were finished on the ramp it was off to the LSO platform (LSO = Landing Signals Officer) to catch the 10 aircraft that the tower assured us were due to land. The LSO platform simulates the area on an aircraft carrier where an aircraft is monitored while on approach to "trap" and can be waved off if necessary, the platform is even equipped with a set of Fresnel lenses that show the pilot if his / her approach is good or bad.
Things started good when two Hornets landed but unfortunately after waiting for over an hour nothing else landed, the luck of the Irish definitely was taking a holiday that day! We left the platform to grab some lunch only to see the rest of the aircraft landing while sitting outside Subway.
After a brief trip to the control tower we went out to the runway to catch some departures, slim pickings again this time, 4 departures were scheduled although 2 extra aircraft took off during our stay beside the runway.
Slim pickings it may have been but nothing beats standing at the edge of a runway while fighters take off just feet away from you (see videos below).
IrishAirPics would like to take this opportunity to thank all the NAS Lemoore Public Affairs Officer, Dennis McGrath, for his patience, support and assistance. No request was too big or too small, thank you very much for having us on base.