Signed and numbered by the artist
The solo student is preparing to qualify as a “Tailhooker” by landing on the USS Lexington.
“Hitting the Boat” – solo student in the Rockwell T-2C Buckeye goes aboard AVT-16, the USS Lexington, for the first time to qualify as a “Tailhooker”. The Lexington served as an attack carrier from its commissioning on 17 February 1943 until becoming the Navy’s training carrier in 1962. Lexington served to train Naval aviators until her retirement in 1991. The T-2 Buckeye has introduced fledgling Naval aviators to jet aviation since its single engine debut in 1959 and in its twin engine form since 1965. The Buckeye is being replaced by the T-45 Goshawk.
The artist experienced a trap and catapult takeoff from Lady Lex in 1982 while flying with Commander Ken Carlton, USN, Squadron Commander of VT-26 at Beeville, Texas. The painting conveys the feeling of being too high and too close, which accentuates this stage in the landing evolution.