What happens when you park a derelict Kitty Hawk Class supercarrier a couple miles off the coast of where an adventurous flight instructor plies his trade? This awesome and unlikely photo of a Piper Cherokee lining up for a “trap” aboard the USS Constellation.
According to the photographer, the story goes like this (paraphrased):
The former USS Constellation “Connie” was sent some time ago to be scrapped, the government sold it and the buyer needed it towed over to Texas, traveling around the entire continent of South America in the process.
One of the tow boats stops for resupply was Valparaiso, Chile.
My flight club, which I work as a Flight Instructor is nearby, I mean it is very close to the shore, like two and a half miles close. So, when we knew about the ship coming for a stop in our bay we thought: why not give a few flybys for a photo and stuff?
That’s when I decide to pull a “buzz the tower” kind of a low pass over the Connie in a way to say goodbye to such famous ship. It was perfectly legal at the time because according to the law it was not a ship but a “piece of floating metal.”
To me, it will be always the Connie, even in it’s last moments before disappearing into thousands of knifes and spoons.
I did the same to the former USS Ranger, that ship passed our coast a few months ago..same story. So some day I will tell to my grandchildren (in a distance future...) about how their grandpa made two low passes over two different carriers...lol.
The USS Constellation arrived in Brownsville, Texas for scrapping on January 16th, 2015. There’s a good chance that the instructor’s low approaches may have been the last time an aircraft made an approach over the historic ship’s stern.
Contact the author at Tyler@jalopnik.com.