Between Sea, Snow and Sun


Text & Pictures : Yuri Willems - SBAP

For me it was a long time dream to visit this aircraft carrier stationed on the Hudson river in New York city.  Early 2011, I finally took the decision to spend some days in the Big Apple and quickly got my flight tickets. The first impression when seeing the aircraft carrier, even if it is an Essex class, is an impression of huge mass and the first reflection I had was: How can such a body float on water?
This aircraft carrier, converted into a museum and recently restored in 2007 for an amount of $ 120.000.000, includes a varied collection of aircraft and some of them are quite rare.
My stay in New York took place shortly after the incredible snow storms that winter. The visit of the flight deck and aircraft on display was amazing and snowy, all intensified by a radiant sun. These are certainly not the best conditions for shooting airplane pictures, but it gives
sometimes amazing images...

A little history :
The aircraft carrier USS Intrepid (CV/CVA/CVS-11), also known as The Fighting "I", is one of 24
Essex-class built during World War II for the United States Navy.  Commissioned in August 1943, the Intrepid participated in several campaigns in the Pacific Theater of Operations, most notably the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Decommissioned shortly after the war, the ship was modernized and recommissioned in the early 1950s as an attack carrier (CVA), afterward it became an antisubmarine carrier (CVS). In the second career, the ship served mainly in the Atlantic, but participated also in the Vietnam War. Her notable achievements include being the first US aircraft carrier to launch aircraft with steam catapults, and being the recovery ship for some space missions like Mercury and Gemini space missions. Because of her prominent role in battle, the aircraft carrier was nicknamed "the Fighting I. The USS intrepid was decommissioned in 1974 and became the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum in New York City in 1982. A needed restoration program was launched in 2006 and after being transferred to Bayonne naval works the aircraft carrier was refurbished and set back to its place on the Hudson river on October 2nd, 2008.

The second world war period (Archives US. Navy) After the modernization, Vietnam war period (Archives US. Navy)


Builder:                     Newport News Shipbuilding          

Laid down:                1 December 1941      

Launched:                 26 April 1943

Commissioned:           16 August 1943

Decommissioned:       15 March 1974

Reclassified:             CV to CVA 1 October 1952
                                 CVA to CVS 31 March 1962

Struck:                      23 February 1982

Nickname:                  "Fighting I"

Fate:                          Museum ship in New York City.


Class and type:           Essex-class aircraft carrier

Displacement:             27,100 tons standard - 36,380 tons full load

Length:                       820 feet (250 m) waterline - 872 feet (266 m) overall

Beam:                         93 feet (28 m) waterline - 147 feet 6 inches (45 m) overall

Draft:                        28 feet 5 inches (8.66 m) light - 34 feet 2 inches (10.41 m) full load

Propulsion:                 8 boilers 565 psi (3,900 kPa) 850 F (450 C)

                                  4 Westinghouse geared steam turbines

                                  4 shafts - 150,000 shp (110 MW)

Speed:                       33 knots (61 km/h)

Range:                        20,000 nautical miles (37,000 km) at 15 knots (28 km/h)

Crew:                         2,600 officers and enlisted

Armament:                  4 twin 5 inch (127 mm) 38 caliber guns

                                  4 single 5 inch (127 mm) 38 caliber guns

                                  8 quadruple 40 mm 56 caliber guns

                                  46 single 20 mm 78 caliber guns


                                  2.5 to 4 inch (60 to 100 mm) belt
                                  1.5 inch (40 mm) hangar and protective decks
                                  4 inch (100 mm) bulkheads
1.5 inch (40 mm) STS top and sides of pilot house
                                  2.5 inch (60 mm) top of steering gear

Aircraft carried:        90100 aircraft
                                  1 deck-edge elevator
                                  2 centerline elevators



CV11 nick name "Fighting I" Heavy communication and radar systems External view of the command post
Commanding office during operations
Manual transparent screen to follow the missions Central control building
Mc Donell F-3C Demon
Vought F-8K Crusader
General Dynamics F-16A Fighting Falcon
Grumman F-14D super Tomcat
Grumman E-1B Tracer Bell AH-1S Cobra
Grumman F-14D super Tomcat Mc Donell F-4N Phantom II
Douglas F-10B Skynight ( F3D-2)
Hawker Siddeley AV-8C Harrier Grumman F-11A Tiger in Blue Angels scheme
Sikorsky HH-52A Sea Guardin, amazing monoturbine as we know the Seaking design Cruise missile Regulus 1 embarqued on US Navy submarines
Lockheed A-12, prdecessor of the well known SR-71 "Blackbird"
Mikoyan Gurevitch MIG 15 MIG 17F (originaly PZL construction)
Polish Air Force MIG-21 PMF
Dassault Aviation Etendard 4M
Supermarine Scimitar F.1
Israel Air Force IAI  F-21A Kfir
Aerospatial BAC Concorde, strange to see this commercial aircraft near an aircraft carrier
General Motor TBM-3E Avenger Piasecki HUP-2 Retriever North American FJ-3 Fury
North American FJ-3 Fury presented in the hangar Douglas A-4B Skyhawk
General Motor TBM-3E Avenger Detail on an Avenger turett
Simply amazing Mercury command module
A big scale model showing the CV11 Intrepid during the pacific war operations
Anchors room, realy impressive
A last view of the flight deck... ...and finaly a free visitor testing the Super Tomcat


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