4

In Midway (2019), Best teaching flying skills to James Murray. He turned off the engine in midair. McClusky watched from the aircraft carrier & says:

McCLUSKY: Is it a stunt, or is he in trouble?

Man: I don't know. But he's going to hit the first wire like always.

What does "first wire" mean?

7

In reality, because of the short length available for aircraft to land on carriers, there are a set of arresting wires on the deck which are supposed to be caught by a tail hook mounted on the plane.

Carriers typically have 4 wires, and a landing is usually considered a good landing if the pilot catches the third wire. Repeatedly failing to catch that third wire can result in a pilot losing their carrier flight qualification.

If a pilot catches the first wire, he's landing short of the optimal "safe" zone.

https://science.howstuffworks.com/aircraft-carrier4.htm


I've not seen the movie.

As has been pointed out, Best is the hero of the movie rather than a potential washout. I've also read that the script of the movie is considered cartoony and clich├ęd. So, it is likely that in the context of the movie itself "first wire" is the best wire, and despite the fact that Best is gliding his plane in, he will still stick a perfect landing.

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    I haven't seen the movie, but I have a sneaky feeling that, rather than info-dump the audience with the whole 3 or 4 wire system explanation, they just went with "first wire is best" & ignored the practicality. – Tetsujin Jun 28 at 9:11
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    The quote is ambiguous as to whether the first wire is good or bad - although I've just read the script described as cartoony and cliched, so you may be right. – HorusKol Jun 28 at 11:36
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    It reads to me as "the hero always gets it right, whatever the challenge" but I have nothing more to go on than the question - it's just a guess, & my inveterate cynicism ;) – Tetsujin Jun 28 at 11:39

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