Aircraft carriers have to stay operational in heavy seas.
Today’s invention is a device which augments a pilot’s judgment about exactly when to launch his or her aircraft.
The deck of a carrier will oscillate according to speed and sea conditions, and its amplitude and period are relatively easy to record from moment to moment.
Sensors would be installed in a vessel to monitor this deck motion and help an onboard computer predict the optimal instant to fire the steam catapult for launch (as shown). This would predict the position and orientation of the deck, at which the takeoff airspeed would be maximised.
A version of this system, operating in reverse, could be used to help with timing landings also (in order to lower the stresses on aircraft imposed by the arrestor hook).