Watch a Prop-Driven Plane Launch from an Aircraft Carrier Straight into a Massive Wave

A video on YouTube shows the terrifying moment from 1971 when an S-E2 Tracker anti-submarine aircraft, a prop-driven plane, launched from the USS Ticonderoga straight into a gigantic wave. At the time, the USS Ticonderoga was designated as an anti-submarine vessel, launching and recovering aircraft in its assigned region.

According to Popular Mechanics, the S-E2 Tracker shown in the footage, which was part of the VS-38 Red Griffins, was lined up on the deck of the USS Ticonderoga, awaiting clearance to take off.

Usually, Launch Officers time the catapult-based launches to take place between the waves as a means of ensuring the safety of the planes crew and the integrity of the plane.

During this launch, a rogue wave hammered against the USS Ticonderoga just as the S-E2 Tracker was taking flight.

The Tracker was inadvertently launched straight into a massive wall of water, causing it to disappear from the camera’s view for a moment, and suffers a loss of altitude before it is again visible in the footage.

The S-E2 manages to recover, carrying on towards its mission.

The plane was undamaged by the encounter with the wave, and the four-person crew was uninjured during the event. However, one could assume that the S-E2 likely needed a thorough cleaning upon its return to ensure the potentially corrosive seawater was washed away.