Search NOVA Teachers

Back to Teachers Home

Aircraft Carrier!

Program Overview

This program takes you aboard the U.S.S. Independence, an aircraft carrier on patrol in the Persian Gulf. The carrier is one of the oldest such vessels in the U.S. naval fleet and will soon be retired from active duty, but it is still capable of traveling hundreds of miles in a single day and staying at sea for months at a time. Some 5,000 men—no women—call the Independence their home and workplace. Crew members' quarters are cramped, and privacy is practically nonexistent. Some of the men feel worlds apart from family and friends, to whom they have not spoken since they set out to sea.

The work aboard the Independence is difficult, stressful, and dangerous, with little room for error. Teamwork is critical for the crew performing the high-risk task of launching jet aircraft to patrol the Gulf. This cooperation, combined with the dangerous nature of carrier work, creates a profound sense of responsibility among crew members. Even minor errors can have disastrous outcomes.

Teacher's Guide
Aircraft Carrier!

Support provided by