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Our Monthly Stories from the Flight Deck & TH HQ

Waving the Whale

In the A-3 Skywarrior RAG our LSO instructor was Max Otto. During FCLPs we practiced both MOVLAS [Manually Operated Visual Landing Aid System] and his Paddles. At the boat our first two passes were touch and goes. As I remember it, the first pass was paddles and the second was MOVLAS. During the approaches, Max talked us in. I think Max was also training other LSOs at the time.

Best part of it is that I didn't know enough to be deathly afraid, Max made it seem all so normal and routine. It was a different story when we got to the fleet. The LSOs we're definitely deathly afraid of the Whale. Not a real confidence builder! Today I see Whale stuff on TV and think “I did that?” Well, it could have been worse — I could have been a Viggie pilot. Bud Southworth, 2014

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