In the Summer of 1993, my brother, Jody Silva, invited me for a "family cruise" aboard his ship, the USS Abraham Lincoln. The Lincoln is a nuclear powered aircraft carrier nearly 1200 feet long and nearly a football field wide. It weighs 80,000 tons but it easily outpaced the high-speed cigarette boats that followed out of the Golden Gate. Once outside the Gate, the Captain announced that we were going to top speed, which was classified. When that happened, you could feel the back of the boat sink, and then it just took off. Many on deck began to jump up, open their jackets, and then get swept back a few feet before landing back on deck. We were going that fast. After that, we witnessed takeoffs and landings before returning. The following photos are a record of that day.

On this day, we boarded at Alameda Air Station at 6:00 am. We were served breakfast and entertained while the ship prepared to sail out of San Francisco Bay through the Golden Gate and out into the open sea. The photo at left is from the pier where the Lincoln was berthed minutes before dawn.

t took about an hour and a half to get the Lincoln away from the dock, and another hour to get out of the Bay. A helicopter circled the ship constantly, apparently to warn off any who may come close.

This picture of San Francisco was taken from the flight deck of the carrier just after dawn and after we had passed under the SF-Bay Bridge.

To get out of San Francisco Bay, we passed by Alcatraz Island  before heading out of the Golden Gate, passing only feet under the Bridge (visible in the distance.) One thing about SF Bay in the summer at dawn: It is freezing cold!

nce out at sea at about noon, the Navy put on an incredible show. They performed takeoffs and landings for the viewing pleasure of the 5,000 plus family members aboard the ship. We witnessed the takeoffs and landings of various types of planes. The pictures you see here were taken on the flight deck close enough to Naval Aviators to hear their comments on the show. Ill fated Lt. Hultgreen, the Navy's first female combat pilot was in that group.

The F/A-18 Hornet is about to launch. The launch crew are clearing out of the way. Looks like a clip from Top Gun.

Here is a Tomcat taking off. Note how the Weapons Officer is holding on to the pilot's seat. They were supposed to do a touch-and-go but the pilot put down his arresting hook on landing and landed. So that made this the only Tomcat takeoff we saw. If you get a chance to go on one of these cruises, DO wear the earplugs when the Tomcat takes off. Ouch!