Another U.S. Navy aviator (Captain
Richard "Rhett" Butler) entered the
"Thousand Traps" club, when he made his
thousandth carrier landing on March 15th. Butler is the CAG (commander of the
Carrier Air Group) on the USS Ronald Regan. Butler joined the navy in 1983.
Only about a thousand carrier aviators have made a thousand traps (as carrier
landings are called). The all time record holder is a World War II British
Royal Navy test pilot, Captain "Winkle" Brown, who has 2,407 traps to
his credit (mainly because would often spend day after day taking off and
landing on a carrier to test new equipment or procedures). The American record
holder is U.S. Navy Captain "Lites" Leenhouts, with 1,645 traps.
Leenhouts retired in 2000.
Most of the "1,000 Traps Club" members are
American, simply because most aircraft carriers ever built were American.
Typically, a carrier aviator does about a hundred traps a year. However,
because of the war on terror, and more work for carriers, many aviators are
getting nearly twice as many traps. So it's possible that Leenhouts record may
be in danger, but it's unlikely that anyone will ever match Browns.