This video was shot in 1971 and shows the USS Ticonderoga (CVS-14). Aboard this ship is a Grumman S-2E Tracker on the catapult; one from Squadron VS-38. It is gearing up, ready for take-off, the seas around the ship are fairly calm, and permission is given for the Tracker to take off.
As the Launch Officer launches the plane, he is watching for the bow to strike the bottom (this is so that the plane launches as the bow returns up). On this occasion a freak wave appears and hits the USS Ticonderoga right at the moment that the Tracker is leaving the catapult, this forces the craft to fly straight into the wave.
Things like this do happen from time to time, but if you are piloting, then you would not want it to happen more than once. Everyone comes out of this incident unharmed but slightly damp and shaken, but this shows what a great engine they have in the Tracker, the Wright R1820.
The Grumman was the very first single airframe, purpose built, anti-sub warfare (ASW) craft to join the United States Navy in service. It was in service from 1954 and was gradually phased out by the mid-1970’s by the Lockheed S-3 Viking.
Approximately 1500 Grumman S-2 Trackers were produced, and these planes have seen service in 10 different countries. Argentina and Brazil both still use this aircraft to this day.