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Nose Strut Extension Prior to Cat Shot

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Marc Remhof
Nose Strut Extension Prior to Cat Shot

Today I snooped in the left wheel well of the F-4N at Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola looking for the switch that that extened the nose strut prior to cat shot. Not there. Good grief.

Is there such a switch? If so, where was it located on the F-4 A/B and J models? 

I worked with a staff member in the resource library at the museum today, and in one publication the switch is listed as located in the cockpit (where?) and another publication lists the switch as located in the left wheel well.

Beginning to believe there is no such switch and that the aircraft majically knew when to extend the strut. I was with VA-94 (A-7E mechanic) on board USS Coral Sea for the '71-'72 and '73 WesPac's and just can't remember how that strut extension was triggered. 

Nose Strut Extension

Hallo Marc,

as I noticed your request, I remember reading about the switch in the absolute formidable book of Danny Coremans "US NAVY Q/F-4B/J/N/S PHANTOM". On page 52 he gives the information that the switch is located in the left main landing gear well - no differences between the navy models. On pages 68 and 72 he shows pictures of the position of the switch panel and important, that some of the B and N models the check switches where covered by a fiberglass box - to protect them. He states that the switch is named "Catapult Extension Switch". No info about a switch in the cockpit is given. Wouldn´t it be to dangerous for all ground personal if the aircrew had a possibility to extend the NLG??? Not that the nose lifts by 50cm but the tail is dropping an may cause some scratches in their helmets.....

As I have no clearance to publish pictures out of the book, ISBN is: 978-90-806747-9-0 DACO Publications

Hope it helps a bit


Cat nose-wheel extension switch question.

Mr. Remhof,

Before I address your questions I will adress my qualifications and knowlege on this subject. I was an Aviation Electricians Mate Second Class (AE2) with about 3 1/2 years at NAS Oceana, VA Beach, VA. I was stationed at VF-101 Grim Reapers in the Aviation Electrical (AE) shop working on organizational maintanance on McDonald Douglas Phantom II models B, J & N. As a RAG squadron I made 2 week TAD carrier qualification trips as a F4 flight deck trouble shooter (green shirt) on various carriers on east & west coasts. To varify your understanding the switch activating the F4 nose-wheel extention (to achieve better angle of attack for aircraft launch) is located in the LH main wheelwell. It has dual purpose on this AC. 1st for extention of the nose-wheel for catapult launch of the AC on a carrier flight deck. As it extends the inner strut inside the nose-wheel outer strut it also locks the nose-wheel in a strait forward position. It does this to avoid any accidental pulling L/R error or deviation by the pilot during a cat shot. 2nd because of this nose-wheel locking feature it was part of our AE proceedures to center/adjust nose wheel steering as it could sometimes get out of alignment (dead-straight) due to landing/takeoff. A typical pilot's gripe might come to the AE shop as: nose-wheel steering pulling to the left. Ultimatly then as part of the correction process we would activate 'Cat-extend' check to see if nose-wheel is aligned straight and then adjust the nose -wheel potentiometer to zero out and/or correct the discrepancy. Now for a sea-story: (Early 70s) A Marine CO & XO once pulled a well worn Marine F4 temporarily into a flightline I was TAD at. They were obviously returning from 'FUN' in SE Asia and were ahead of the rest of their squadron still with the returning carrier. The CO told us he tought the nose-wheel was 'shimmying' and if we had the time to check it out as he would be back in about an hour.Then he and the XO departed for the O-Club, To our suprise we discovered a rusted hole with two tapes off wires in the LH wheel-well where there is normally a switch! When he returned we reported what we found to our Maint. Chief and that CO. That CO only asked if the tape was still on each wire? We all told that Marine CO: "YES SIR!" He and his XO said "Thanks!" and taxied that F4 for takeoff. The Maint. Chief only said: "Marines!?!" and as far as I know we all never mentioned it again... True story.

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