There is nothing like the smell of JP-5 and steel. And Luckily, neither is in short supply at Naval air station North Island, Where my friend Jessica aka Zonksdraws was kind enough to give an exclusive tour! I’ve had a pretty intense fascination with all things aerospace and defense engineering my whole life. And seeing it all come together and actually getting to visit a real Navy base was like a dream come true. I was like that kid in Evangelion who gets way to excited about the UN Fleet.
We got to see FacsFac! where Jessica works, but that is a top secret area where you cannot take pictures. so here is the a cool thing that I can show you, the tower!!!
It had an amazing view of Coronado and all the cool Seahawks (that’s the navy version of a Blackhawk UH-60!) And Zonks took a picture of me pretending to talk to the helicopters! and you could even see some F-35’s off in the distance!
Here is Jessica teaching me how to talk to Helicopters and say cool things like “Wind at Two Niner Zero at 10!”
We got to play with the signal lights and see some Blackhawks take off!
Then it was time to head over to the USS Abraham Lincoln! CVN-72! A real nuclear powered carrier with two reactors, catapults, and chocked to the teeth with classified technology. There were certain things were were not allowed to take pictures of and we were very respectful of that.
The Lincoln is back from a long voyage and is going under light maintenence, so basically that means that everything short of taking the hull out of the water is being repaired right now. The flight deck is HUGE! and these pictures don’t even quite do it justice because there are some temporary walls in place that sort of obstruct your view of just how far it extends.
We stopped by the Meatball which was folded up, and I got to see some real arresting wires. These huge wires catch the F-18s when they come in to land! The wires jump up and down quite a bit and gouge holes in replaceable sections of the flight deck.
Beware of Jet blast, Propellers, and Rotors. Words to live by, as the deck of an aircraft carrier is possibly the most dangerous work environment in the world.
There was a single F-18 on board. Its flying days are over, but now it serves to teach rescue teams how to save pilots and aircraft from deadly deadly fires.
Just look at that landing gear!
I got to pose with the jet and take some new tinder profile pics. I will report back if they are even remotely successful.
Here are some more cool shots from the flight deck!
Then we got to go INSIDE the hanger, which I am told is a dangerously loud environment!
Here is a view looking aft, Where our other tour guide works somewhere behind those big crates.
Here is our other tour guide Josh! who has an office on the carrier, and sleeps there! He was the one who had access to the carrier, so props to him for being ultra cool and giving a fantastic tour!
Here is good ol’ Abe and the Mess hall! The glare on that big portrait on top is obscuring a very important person, Commanding officer Amy Bauernschmidt, is the commanding officer of this fine vessel and she is the first woman to command a carrier, what a legend! she is a real life captain Janeway!
Here are so other views of the ship! including some fun drawings of sailors made by other sailors, and Jessica and Josh walking through the hanger!
So Jessica and I were not the only artists on this ship. We got to see some fun paintings by the sailors who lived aboard. I love that dragon painting that zonks is trying to light up with her phone.
We got to go visit the hazardous materials storage, and Josh gave me a very special pen to sign a print I gave him with. (I gave him and some of the other people here signed prints of my C-2 Greyhound)
After that, our tour was over, I got to see so much and it was all so overwhelming and cool! It was a very special privilege to get to see a real aircraft carrier, This one will most likely never be a museum ship because of its nuclear reactors. So it was truly an honor to visit this very spicy floating airport.
Speaking of Spicy, check out these Birds, Some F-35’s were chilling on the tarmac on our way out
Jessica showed me some cool challenge that she designed. I love the cool alligator one! So big thank you to Jess and Josh and all the cool people at NAS North Island who do all kinds of cool Navy stuff all day! You guys have such a different life than me and I find it all so fascinating! Thank you for your service!