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Pitching Deck

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(View on YouTube for better quality.)


Your radio comes to life with the landing signal officer's voice.  "Three quarter mile, call the ball," he says.


Visibility is bad, but you're just able to discern the light from the ball.  "Three zero one, Hornet ball, four point two," you call back.  This is going to be one heck of a landing.  Rough seas and low visibility make one of the most challenging things in naval aviation even harder.


The LSO acknowledges you.  "Roger ball, 33 knots down the angle."  The crosswind is buffeting your aircraft, throwing you off course.  Your ghost vector on the HUD is way off to the side.  The LSO's voice comes back. "A little power.  Come right."  You react accordingly.


The carrier is now clearly visible in the midst of the clouds, deck pitching and rolling.  You follow the ball for a stabilized approach.  As you pass over the fantail, the deck heaves up.  You snag the two wire, and quickly come to a complete stop.  You're down.


And now you too can experience the challenge of landing on a pitching deck, from the comfort of your desktop computer.  In this new version, an improved and more intuitive user interface allows you to easily create pitching and rolling boats for Microsoft Flight Simulator X.  If you're lost, you can request your bearing and distance to the boat to help you find your way.  You can now also control the period and amplitude of the pitch and bank independently from within the program itself.  And by popular request, there's even a new option to freeze the boat attitude after landing.



  • Download the file below.
  • Extract the files contained in the ZIP archive into a new folder.
  • Remove the folder you created in installation step 2.
  • Intuitive interface
  • Pitching and rolling deck
  • Boat directions (bearing and distance)
  • Variable period and amplitudes
  • Option to freeze boat attitude after landing
  • Custom location files
  • Persistent settings
  • Built in updater
  • Compatible with vLSO




Click Connect when you have Flight Simulator X open, and click Create Boat when you want the boat to be created.  To change the location or boat, select a preset from the drop down menu, or enter data in the textboxes manually.


Title refers to the SimObject title, as seen in the sim.cfg file.  Latitude and longitude should be expressed in decimal degrees.  Heading is in degrees, and speed is in knots.


The sliders for the pitch and bank amplitude are in degrees.  You can adjust the period (time it takes to go from the maximum amplitude to the minimum, and back to the maximum) of the pitch or bank by changing the appropriate frequency slider.  The maximum frequency (100%) creates a period of approximately 6 seconds; 60% is approximately 10 seconds, and 20% is approximately 32 seconds.


To request directions (bearing and distance) to the boat, press Tab+Q while in the simulator.


Data entered in the textboxes will not be saved.  If you wish to create a new preset, you can create an XML file similar to the one below:


<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
  <location name="Honolulu">
  <location name="Cape Canaveral">
Then locate the PitchingDeck.xml (in the same directory as PitchingDeck.exe, created after first run) and add a new LocationFile element with the path to your new preset XML.


The example above contains two locations, but you can have as many or as little location elements as you wish.


Known issues:

  • Carrier lights (i.e. IFLOLS and runway lights) do not pitch with the deck.
  • Catapults become disarmed as the deck pitches.  You can work around this by either enabling the freeze boat attitude after landing option, or by launching immediately after arming the catapult.
  • Some aircraft may exhibit a slight bouncing behavior while on the pitching deck.
  • The carrier may jitter if the frame rate has large fluctuations.  If you find the carrier to be jittering, consider locking your frame rate to an attainable setting.

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I'm surprised everyone here is ignoring this. It's quite a neat little program. Nice work, Orion. :)

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