Aircraft Launch and Recovery Officer ... (Military - Officer)  What They Do

Just the Facts


Plans and directs the operation and maintenance of catapults, arresting gear, and associated mechanical, hydraulic, and control systems involved primarily in aircraft carrier takeoff and landing operations. Duties include supervision of readiness and safety of arresting gear, launching equipment, barricades, and visual landing aid systems; planning and coordinating the design, development, and testing of launch and recovery systems; preparing specifications for catapult and arresting gear installations; evaluating design proposals; determining handling equipment needed for new aircraft; preparing technical data and instructions for operation of landing aids; and training personnel in carrier takeoff and landing procedures.

This career is part of the Government and Public Administration cluster National Security pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Directs the operation of consoles to control launch and recovery equipment, including catapults and arresting gear.
  • Supervises the operation of elevators to transfer aircraft between flight and storage decks.
  • Manages and directs the installation and maintenance of visual landing aids.
  • Supervises the testing and adjusting of launch and recovery equipment.
  • Supervises installation of airfield crash barriers and barricades.
  • Directs aircraft launch and recovery operations.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation requires being outside most of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Identifying color and seeing differences in color, including shades and brightness
  • Judging how far away an object is, or which of several objects is closer or farther away
  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Seeing clearly in low light conditions
  • Seeing objects or movement to one's side when looking forward
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others

Work Hours and Travel

  • Irregular hours
  • Overnight travel
  • Overtime work
  • Rotating shift work
  • Weekend work