A feature included in the movie " Wing and a Prayer"
The steam catapult was a British
invention. Up to and during World War II most catapults were hydraulic, and there were a number of armed
merchantmen, known as CAM ships ("catapult armed merchantmen"), that
had rocket-driven catapults. Some carriers were completed before and
during World War II with catapults on the hangar deck that fired
athwartships, but they were unpopular due to their short run, low
clearance of the hangar decks, inability to add the ship's forward
speed to the aircraft's airspeed for takeoff, and lower clearance from
the water (conditions which afforded pilots far less margin for error
in the first moments of flight). They were mostly used for experimental
purposes, and their use was entirely discontinued during the latter
half of the war.
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