When You Land On The Wrong Carrier!

US Naval tradition dictates that when a pilot mistakenly lands on the wrong aircraft carrier... fellow crew members do their absolute best to remain discreet so as not to embarrass the pilot.

Yet It has been rumoured that in some extremely rare and unusual circumstances, some sailors took it upon themselves to take advantage of the poor pilot's misfortunate navigational error, and make sure their mistake did not go unnoticed.  Imagine the embarrassment and horrors in having to return to your Boat with all the markings of your misadventure on display for all to see.  

How did they they accomplish this...well, even though many spent nights attempting to guard their aircraft...eventually those dastardly shipmates would find any means possible in making sure the visiting aircraft was properly branded before any attempted departure.  The following pictures taken over many decades speak volumes about their efforts to be discreet, and the abysmal failure of the pilots in keeping their aircraft safe overnight.   

This Bent Wing Bastard Corsair failed to escape the dishonourable markings of a wrongful carrier trap.  

"Must Be Air Force" A U.S. Navy McDonnell F2H-2 Banshee (BuNo 125019) of Fighter Squadron 62 (VF-62) "Gladiators" from the aircraft carrier USS Coral Sea (CVB-43) after it had landed aboard USS Wasp (CV-18) in 1952.


Poor Gus...

F2H-2 USN Banshee Non Standard markings  

The expression of this F2H-2 Banshee Pilot from VF-34 is worth a thousand words...no question he appreciates the subtle humour at his misfortune.  

This Coral Sea "Sandy" bird from VA-25 had seen better days.

F9F-5 Panther "Dopey" of VF-111

This VA-195 Corsair II suffered a dose of humility thanks to the crew of the Coral Sea -1972

Even the legendary Double Ugly, AKA; St. Louis Slugger, Flying Brick, Old Smokey, and "World's Leading Distributor of MiG Parts" did not escape the carnage unscathed...

USS Bon Homme Richard -1  USS Constellation - 0

Pretty sure the tail markings of that Phantom are not USMC

Of course the USN and USMC would never stoop as low as their Colonial British Navy counterparts...  Well almost never.  

This poor US Navy Double Ugly F-4 Phantom from the USS Coral Sea, seemed to have inadvertently strayed onto the deck of the USS Intrepid.  Looks like the Intrepid's locals wanted ensure the Phantom's crew felt welcome.

This stray Tomcat from the Pukin Dog Squadron had a little tail work in honor of their misadventure.  




  • Mark Blocksom

    Anyone know where the Corsair “F” 412 (Bent Wing Bastard Corsair) came from and exactly when this occurred? I saw it pictured in the Naval Aviation News February 1952, but there were few details.



  • Mike

    405 banshee pilot was Lieutenant Junior Grade Gerald Witvoet he passed away in the catapult explosion on the uss bennington

  • Eloy Fix

    To the sierrahotel.net administrator, Your posts are always on point.

  • Edwin C. Habel

    Charlie, you’re definitely right; An aircraft carrier is a ship. But naval aviators do call an aircraft carrier a ‘boat’ as Michael Smith said above. That’s just part of their jargon.

  • Michael Smith

    I must cordially disagree with Charlie. Naval aviators, in fact, do call their aircraft carriers “boats”.

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