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ABOARD USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (priziv.org) -- President shrub made a landing aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln Thursday, getting here in the co-pilot"s chair of a navy S-3B Viking after ~ making two fly-bys that the carrier.

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It to be the an initial time a sit president has actually arrived ~ above the deck of an aircraft carrier by plane. The jet do what is well-known as a "tailhook" landing, with the plane, traveling about 150 mph, hooking top top the last of 4 steel wires throughout the trip deck and also coming come a finish stop in much less than 400 feet.

The exterior the the four-seat navy S-3B Viking was significant with "Navy 1" in the ago and "George W. Bush Commander-in-Chief" just listed below the cockpit window. On the plane"s tail was the insignia of the squadron, the "Blue Wolves."

Moments after the landing, the president, put on a green trip suit and holding a white helmet, obtained off the plane, saluted those top top the trip deck and also shook hands with them. Over him, the tower to be adorned through a huge sign that read, "Mission Accomplished."

Bush said he did take a turn at piloting the craft.

"Yes, ns flew it. Yeah, the course, I preferred it," stated Bush, that was one F-102 fighter pilot in the Texas Air nationwide Guard ~ graduating native Yale university in 1968.

"Great job," said Bush, a large smile stretched throughout his confront as he posed because that photographs through crew members who gathered to obtain their pictures with the president. He draped his arms approximately some, slapped the backs the others and also shook hands through many.

To others, the chairman said, "Thank you," and " "preciate it."

At one point, he looked as much as the observation deck and also held up both arms to the roar of numerous sailors who had actually crowded the area.

The landing came just hours before Bush is to tell the nation that major combat work in Iraq have actually ended. The speech will be yielded from the carrier"s flight deck in ~ 9 p.m. EDT. (Full story)

The picture-perfect landing, covered live ~ above television, marked the latest initiative by the White residence to showcase shrub as commander in chief. The president"s address around the success in Iraq comes together Bush"s domestic agenda is under fix up fire by Democrats, specifically by a i m crying of White house hopefuls.

"The president"s going the end to an plane carrier to give a speech far out in ~ sea ... While numerous numbers of Americans room frightened stiff around the economic climate at home," said Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, that is seek his party"s presidential nomination.

In his speech to the troops Thursday night bush will thank the U.S. Army for their efforts in Iraq. "Your courage -- your willingness to face danger for your country and for each other -- made now possible," follow to excerpts the the bush speech released in advance. "The shift from dictatorship come democracy will take time however it is precious every effort. Our coalition will continue to be until our work-related is done."

Bush was taken in by aircraft because the Lincoln to be too much off the California coast for a helicopter to lug him aboard.

His four-seat S-3B Viking has actually the safest flight record in the Navy"s jet fleet. The turbofan jet performs targeting and also surveillance features for naval carrier groups.

The aircraft"s pilot, navy Cmdr. Man Lussier that Orlando, Florida, claimed the president "enjoyed the hell out of" acquisition the controls and also doing a pair of maneuvers.

A 2nd pilot and a secret Service agent to be in the behind seats of the airplane when the landed.

"We picked 2 mature pilots that additionally are very an excellent landers," Capt. Kevin Albright, command of the Lincoln"s Airwing 14, stated Wednesday.

Bush wanted to swoop top top the deck that the Lincoln aboard an F-18 Hornet, however the an enig Service nixed the idea -- castle didn"t prefer leaving the chairman unguarded in a fighter jet that only has an are for the president and a pilot.

Bush had left from Naval Air terminal North Island (San Diego) after ~ being carried there native Washington via Air force One. Just before he left because that the carrier, bush was briefed on what he would need to do come eject in case of emergency.

Officials also told priziv.org that in ready for the flight, shrub underwent water survive training, which entails sitting in a simulated cockpit the fills up through water, climate spins around, while the person inside needs to escape and also come up because that air. To pilots, the cultivate is well-known as "panic in a can."

White residence Chief of employee Andy Card, nationwide security torture Condoleezza Rice and White residence spokesman Ari Fleischer were additionally on the trip deck, carried in top top planes ahead of the president.

Back in Washington, evil President prick Cheney watched from his West soup office as shrub landed. "He watched with a large smile," a Cheney aide said.

The Lincoln, right now en path to NAS phibìc Island, has gone to sea for practically 10 months, after ~ participating in both the Afghanistan and Iraq war theaters. The chairman is booked to spend the night on the aircraft carrier, i beg your pardon is based in Everett, Washington, however is stopping in san Diego first.

Bush will leave the carrier before it berths at phibìc Island Friday. The ship will return to Everett on may 6.

The S-3B Viking, in company with the Navy due to the fact that 1974, has actually logged an ext than 1.6 million paris hours, through an accident rate of 2.6 crashes every 100,000 flight hours. The accident rate for a carrier"s plane was even lower -- 1.89 per 100,000 trip hours (1990).

A Viking slide off the deck that the USS Constellation top top April 1; the plane"s two pilots were easily rescued and the cause of the accident -- an unspecified malfunction, the Navy claimed -- is under investigation.

The versatile plane, initially an anti-submarine craft, performs a wide variety of targeting and also surveillance features -- consisting of tankering because that mid-flight refueling -- for marine carrier groups. Some room cleared to lug AGM-84D Harpoon and also AGM-65F Maverick missiles; the navy plans to download the capacity in every its S-3B Vikings.

The S-3B Viking"s authorized in the Iraq war marked two firsts for the 30-year old plane, the Navy said -- the first time it was sent out on an overland strike and also the first time it had actually fired a laser-guided missile in combat.

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The Lincoln"s flight deck spans 4.5 acres, and the ship have the right to power enough electricity for 100,000 homes. Amongst the aircraft aboard the carrier is the F/A-18E at sight Hornet, the Navy"s advanced strike fighter.