Murphy's Law: The King of Traps

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March 19, 2007: 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.

 


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