Capstone Project: Carrier Vessel Crash Crane

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Carrier Vessel Crash Crane


United States Navy training system approves A/S 32A-35 standards of aircraft carriers crash plane and A/S 32A-36 amphibious assault crash crane a mandatory requirement to remove a disabled aircraft from a landing zone in under ten minutes. Ignorance of these requirements can cause financial and biological losses in the aircraft carrier. The A/S32A-35A Carrier Vessel Crash Crane requires performance analysis as required by NAEC DESIGN DATA 92-515 revision C. This system was designed and integrated in the early 1990s and it is approaching its twenty-year life cycle. CVCC set standards in this study are partially considered following high costs, the factor which is a big impediment to the rather expected comprehensive report. This is due to the fact that CVCC is under numerous obsolescence problems, performance deficiencies, maintainability, and reliability issues costing taxpayers over $40,000 per year per unit, increased footprint, and poor restructuring in engineering and efforts to raise funds to solve existing deficiencies and problems. The aim of this capstone project is the need for evaluation of whether the United States Navy should keep the current system, restructure it, or invest in a completely new method to fulfill requirements of NAEC DESIGN DATA 92-515 based on the available limited resources.

ASCI 691 Graduate Capstone Project

The need for A/S32A-35A (CVCC) aircraft crash handling and salvage crane in an aircraft carrier is to enable expeditious removal of a disabled aircraft from a landing zone (LZ) or anywhere close to it to reduce chances of accidents. The crane can perform under inclement weather conditions when stowed on the flight deck of an air carrier. This makes it withstand extreme weather conditions while lifting damaged aircraft from various locations and attitudes on a rolling and pitching ship to a safe location-parking zone in the flight deck. This system designed for a twenty-year life cycle is experiencing numerous deficiencies in maintainability, supportability, obsolesce, and structure degradation. This hence provides my capstone project with a purpose to evaluate whether it is economically viable for the United States Navy to keep the current system, modify it, or invest in a completely new method to fulfill this requirement for the next generation of aircraft flight deck configurations.

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Background of the Problem

The Carrier Vessel Crash Crane (CVCC) was a first thought of following the American dream to dominate air supremacy over its enemies. United States Naval Aviation saw the need to address PEMP updates on the importance of aircraft crash handling and salvage crane (s). The CVCC and A/S32A-35A were then designed specifically for amphibious assault ships to handle this predicament of stabilizing use of AACC on seven Iwo Jima Class LPH amphibious assault ships (Lakehurst N.J, 1991). The current system has been serving the fleet since the early 1990’s and it is approaching its twenty year life cycle fast. The cranes have served well the purposes for which they were invented. However, obsolete technology, declined performance, poor reliability and maintainability, lack of spare parts, and equipment degradation have raised concerns that a new form of technology or improved CVCC will be needed for the fulfillment of this requirement and safe accomplishment of the Navy’s mission. Over the years and as the CVCC approaches its life cycle expiration the system has increased its logistical footprint and demand for maintenance. As a result, an increased deficiency of safety in operations while at sea is tangible and threatening to eventually cause human and material loss. This project hence has called for considerations to amend these loopholes [NAVAIR, 1998).

The CVCC is a self-propelled, , six-cylinder, four-wheel drive, liquid cooled and turbo charged vehicle, possessing six pneumatic rubber tires. It has an AC generator connected directly to an engine, providing power to motor control systems, drive motors, winch motor and counter weight motor. It uses hydraulic fluids for steering and braking control, accompanied by hydraulic cylinders that connect the main frame and the rear axle. Its static lift capacity is 75,000 pounds and a 10,000 pounds crane auxiliary capacity (Chapter 9, n.d). It has a clear outreach of 25 feet and a hook lifting height of 25 feet. Its maximum gross vehicle unloaded operation weight is 125, 000 lbs. It is developed to bestow on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier where it is exposed to open sea conditions and the corrosive effects of salt water. The unit is so robust that it can make a ship list up to 1.5 degrees when it crosses the centerline causing the ship to readjust its center of gravity every time the unit travels on the flight deck. (Commander, Naval Air Systems Command [NAVAIR, 1998)

Researcher’s Work Setting and Role

The researcher has fifteen years of experience in aviation maintenance management. As an Aviation Support Equipment Technician Sailor, his assignments ranged from hands-on experience with hydraulic, electrical, cryogenic and internal combustion engine systems, diesel and gasoline. He held leadership positions in Quality Assurance, Production Control, Departmental Safety, etc.

The researcher is equipped with extensive knowledge and experience in aircraft aviation support equipment maintenance and troubleshooting. He is currently an Assistant Common Support Equipment Program Manager for Logistics with the Aviation Support Equipment Program Office (PMA-260) at the Naval Air Welfare Centre Aircraft Division (NAWCAD conducted at Development Test (DT), Patuxent River, Maryland.

The researcher holds a Bachelor’s degree in Professional Aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and he received an Aeronautical Safety Certificate upon completion. Currently, he is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Aeronautical Science at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He also has an Associate’s degree in Electronics Technology from LaGuardia Community College, Queens, NY.

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Statement of the Problem

While the requirements driving the existence of the current flight deck system is vital to the successful mission accomplishment of United States Navy forward-deployed forces, it is important to analyze whether it is economically feasible for the United States Navy to keep the current system, modify it through the incorporation of Engineering Change Proposals, to procure a completely new system to fulfill this requirement for the next generation of aircraft flight deck configurations or to remove the capability completely and find additional methods to fulfill the requirement.

Statement of the Hypothesis

First Hypothesis: The integration of a completely new flight deck system will not have a significant impact on the ability to meet current US Navy mission requirements. This holds that the flight deck scrubber designed to spray a cleaning solution onto the hangar and flight decks, scrub the deck and recover residual solution and debris for disposal will be replaced (chapter 9, n.d).

Second Hypothesis: The effects on the life cycle of the current system by the modification of the CONOPS will be significant. The life cycle corrective maintenance plan of the CVCC and AACC can be overhauled at discretion of an individual activity. This is because there is not even a single scheduled overhaul plan for these cranes (N88-NTSP-A-50-8110C/A, 1998).

Third Hypothesis: The life cycle cost of modifying the current flight deck system will be significant. The modified A/S 32A-35 CVCC and A/S 32A-36 AACC commonly referred to as CVCC and AACC respectively will increase the speed of removing a damaged plane that crashed from the flight deck to allow the plane to land safely. The modifications will seek to cause minimal damage to either the ship or the aircraft (N88-NTSP-A-50-8110C/A, 1998).

Fourth Hypothesis: The impact of modifying the current flight deck system will be significant to a maintenance technician. The workload will be reduced and his proficiency will be evident as the system will allow him the opportunity to reflect on his professional career (N88-NTSP-A-50-8110C/A, 1998).


Monopoly exists in this industry. This is because all data belong to the Aviation Support Equipment Program Office PMA-260 in the United States. Most materials are strictly military and hardly found on the Internet, in journals, libraries or information databases. Although there are many commercial firms that produce heavy duty cranes, there are no other units that can provide data to compare performance against the current aircraft carrier system since 17 CVCC were manufactured strictly for the U.S. Navy use. There is a current working group paid by NAVAIR to analyze the possibility of a new procurement but the access to such information is limited and restricted to public.


For the purpose of this project it is assumed that all documentation archived in the offices of NAVAIR, PMA-260 is accurate and complete. There is no classified or company specific proprietary information to be accessed or disclosed from this study. The NATOPS manual and the NAVAIR 19-1-193 specific for the CVCC is assumed to be the latest version and all its incorporation and changes real-time. It is also assumed that information regarding any other type of support equipment cited will have technical documentation manuals up to date. It is assumed that the current CVCC meets the requirements originally demanded by its Capability Development Document (CDD), Program Element Master Plan (PEMP) and Purchase Description. Finally, it is assumed that documents required to conduct literature research will be physically available for consultation.


ASHE – Aircraft Salvage Handling Equipment

CDD – Capability Development Document

CONOPS – Concept of Operations

CVCC – Carrier Vessel Crash Crane

DOD – Department of Defense

DT – Development Test

IOT&E – Independent Operational Testing and Evaluation Report

KPP – Key Performance Parameters

LZ – Landing Zone

MDA – Milestone Decision Authority

NATOPS – Naval Air Training and Operating Procedures Standardization

NAWCAD- Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division

OPEVAL – Operational Evaluation

PEMP – Program Element Master Plan

PMA – Program Office Aviation

SE – Support Equipment

Literature Search Strategy

The researcher will review documentation found in the archives of the NAVAIR Support Equipment Program Office (PMA-260) relating to the early acquisition of Carrier Vessel Crash Crane dating as far back as 1985. In addition, a search for possible white papers developed commercially, addressing this requirement, will be conducted. The CVCC performance and capability data will be evaluated from the Naval Air Training and Operations Procedures Standardization (NATOPS) manuals as they pertain to the standard operating procedures of aircraft carrier air operations. Utilization data and mission requirements for the CVCC will be evaluated using the requirement documents such as the Naval Engineering Center Purchase Description, Aircraft Salvage Handling Equipment (ASHE) Program Element Master Plan (PEMP), and existing information regarding the CVCC Operational Evaluation. Library texts and online sources will be looked through in order to find government and industrial supporting data. Also, a survey will be conducted to address Fleet’s view on the impact of possible modifications to the CVCC Concept of Operations (CONOPS).

Also according to NAEC DESIGN DATA 92-515, there is a need for alternative comparison to resolve support equipment deficiencies (SE). The SE deficiencies compared ought to consider safe, efficient and reliable aircraft salvage accomplishment and handling tasks. Comparison of these alternatives in a matrix table will provide the possible combinations to be adopted. The possible choice will be evaluated, taking into consideration that support equipment has offset costs of substantial operating effectiveness. Durability factor and effects on general operating expenses will be considered (NAEC DESIGN DATA 92-515).

Program Outcomes 1 – 4 are the MAS Core Competency Outcomes

1. Students will be able to apply the fundamentals of air transportation as part of a global, multimodal transportation system, including the technological, social, environmental, and political aspects of the system to examine, compare, analyze and recommend a strong conclusion. This will be facilitated by implementation of fail-safe CV cranes which will have capability to interlock, comprising of safety devices and protective devices which cannot be affected by the power source failure jeopardizing safety of the personnel involved, load being handled or system itself (specification for the crane of aircraft and boats, 2003).

2. Students will be able to identify and apply appropriate statistical analysis, to include techniques in data collection, review, critique, interpretation and inference in the aviation and aerospace industry. This will be influenced by knowledge on where quality, reliable information can be obtained especially for US aviation.

3. Students will be able to use the basics of human factors in the sphere of aviation and aerospace industry, including human behavior, unsafe acts, errors, attitudes and human limitations as they relate to the aviators adaption to the aviation environment to reach conclusions. This will be enhanced by knowledge on different types of common errors and comprehensive investigative knowledge studies of human factors they acquired during training and practice (Adjunto 2, 2011).

4. Students will be able to develop and/or apply current aviation and industry related research methods, including problem identification, hypothesis formulation, and interpretation of findings to present as solutions in the investigation of aviation / aerospace related topics. With help of new technology, the researcher will test and develop solutions to resolve equipment challenges (RCM analysis, 2011).

Program Outcomes – MAS Specialization Outcome

5 Aviation Aerospace Management

Students will investigate, compare, contrast, analyze and form conclusions to current aviation, aerospace, and industry-related topics in management, including aircraft maintenance, industrial safety, production and procurement, international policy, research and development, logistics, airport operations, and airline operations. This enhances accountability and smooth running of organization operations.

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A: Program Outcomes: A statistical analysis of data collected through proposed interviewing of experienced working flight engineers will help in evaluating response to the hypothesis number four, leading to significant cost savings of CONOPS modified principle. The goal of this project is to redefine the current problem that exists on board of aircraft carriers while using poor 1990s obsolescent expensive technology to satisfy crash and salvage requirements. The project proposal appeals to find better and more solid cost-effective ways to deal with the demanding requirements.

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