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

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 British Navy counterparts...  Well almost never.  

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




  • Shaun Thompson

    Land enough aircraft and crap happens I guess

  • Andrew May

    That image of a Marine Phantom isn’t an example of any form of hazing or being on the wrong carrier. Instead it’s because the F-4B, tail code AA-207, operated from the Ark Royal from 23 February to 6 March 1973. During that time it carried the squadron markings of No. 892 Squadron on its tail.

  • Jon Gussler

    In 84’ VF-111 send 2 F-14A’s to Atsugi Japan while CAG-5 was a sea, their job was to certify the new hush house on base, their set personal came to the e-club and gave us some crap about CAG-5 flying over the hill F-4 phantom, on the day they flew out of Atsugi their VF-14’s sported VF-161 and VF-151 marking on their ventral fins and tails 😁

  • Alistair White

    The Word is “discreet”, not discrete…that is something else entirely !

  • Jeffrey Hennessee

    Just a little harmless fun involving grown men and women who can handle themselves. What you’re disconcerted with has nothing to do with this post.

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