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Local man pilots first plane to land on U.S.S. Gerald Ford

video courtesy of US Navy

VIRGINIA - Less than one week after she was commissioned, the Navy Aircraft Carrier USS Gerald Ford launched and recovered its first fixed-wing aircraft off the coast of Virginia. The pilot of that plane: Lt. Cmdr. Jamie Struck of Tallmadge, Ohio.

Watch the historic "capture" and launch from different angles in the video, above!

Struck piloted the Superhornet that landed on the carrier at 3:10 p.m. Friday. An hour and a half later, the first catapult launch was completed.

"Today, USS Gerald R. Ford made history with the successful landing and launching of aircraft from VX-23 using the AAG and EMALS," said Adm. Phil Davidson, commander, U.S. Fleet Forces.

The carrier completed sea trials in April but is still going through a battery of tests and workups at sea before becoming ready for deployment.

Docked at Naval Station Norfolk, the USS Ford eventually will house about 2,600 sailors, 600 fewer than the previous generation of aircraft carriers. The Navy says that will save more than $4 billion over the ship’s 50-year lifespan.

The air wing to support the Ford could add more personnel to the ship, which is designed to house more than 4,600 crew members.

The Ford was built at Newport News Shipbuilding, a giant Navy contractor in Virginia.