Naval Aviation fulfills an essential part of the Navy/Marine Corps mission. Mobile and quick to respond, Naval Aviation provides a wide range of offensive and defensive assets to deploy around the world wherever they are needed. Those who wear the coveted "Wings of Gold" are grouped into two major career paths: Navy/Marine Corps Pilots and Naval Flight Officers.
As a student naval aviator you'll study air navigation, flight planning and meteorology before beginning basic flight training in a high performance turboprop aircraft. You'll master solo flight, instrument flying, night flying and basic air combat tactics. Advanced pilot training occurs in one of four naval air communities or "pipelines" --jet, helicopter, turboprop (propeller) or carrier turboprop. When you successfully finish advanced training you'll receive the coveted "wings of gold" and join the most respected aviators in the world-Navy Pilots.
One of your greatest challenges will come with your first carrier landing. This is what naval aviation is all about. You'll bank your plane into a sharp left turn, lining up with the carrier deck while you drop just the right amount of speed and altitude. It's "hook down, wheels down" as the deck approaches at well over 120 miles an hour. You throttle forward to full power as your wheels touch down and your tailhook reaches for the arresting cable. There's no feeling in the world to match it, until you taxi your plane to the catapult for your first carrier launch.
Ultimately, you will be entrusted with responsibility for the most advanced multi-million dollar aircraft in the U.S. Navy's inventory, including F-14 "Tomcats", F/A-18 "Hornets", S-3 "Vikings", P-3 "Orions", E-2 "Hawkeyes" SH-60 "Seahawks", EA-6B "Prowlers", CH-53, CH 46, AV-8B "Harriers", or Cobra Gunships. For today's junior officer, the challenges of Naval aviation are unequalled. Ultimately, every Navy/Marine Corp pilot should set his/her sights on command of one of the Naval Service's operational squadrons.