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USS Franklin D. Roosevelt: The Navy Aircraft Carrier With 137 Planes

USS Franklin D. Roosevelt
USS Franklin D. Roosevelt. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Aircraft Carrier USS Franklin D. Roosevelt Could Carry A Lot of Planes: For decades, aircraft carriers have done a wonderful job of projecting a naval force’s air and sea power to the world.

According to acclaimed defense journalist Dario Leone at the Aviation Geek Clubthese ships are “equipped with a full-length flight deck and facilities for carrying, arming, deploying, and recovering aircraft, the aircraft carrier is a true seagoing air base.”

There’s no question that carriers have evolved considerably since being first constructed in the early twentieth century, a time when “wooden vessels (were) used to deploy balloons to nuclear-powered warships that carry numerous fightersstrike aircraft, helicopters, and other types of aircraft,” Leone notes.

“While heavier aircraft such as fixed-wing gunships and bombers have been launched from aircraft carriers, it is currently not possible to land them,” he adds.

Carrier Capacity

The writer then pivots to an important question: How many aircraft can an aircraft carrier really carry?

Aviation expert Ben Pyper on Quora gives it a shot in answering this. “The USS Franklin D. Roosevelt was able, when commissioned in October 1945, to carry one hundred thirty-seven planes,” he writes.

“The F.D.R or ‘Rosie’ as she was affectionately known, was a Midway class carrier, the next step up from the war winning Essex class. The largest number of planes embarked that I can find a record of was on her first shakedown cruise. One hundred thirty-five aircraft … consisting of F4U-4 Corsairs, SB2C Helldivers and F6F-5P Hellcats, of the CVG(CAG)-75 air wing,” he adds.

Smaller Aircraft

Pyper continues by noting that “the reason why numbers were greater then than now is simply that the planes were a lot smaller, so you could fit more of them in. Modern carriers are much larger than the Rosie, but they still have fewer planes, because they are a whole lot bigger. The Gerald R Ford is scheduled to carry about seventy-five planes.”

However, do take note that in the original configuration, Midway-class ships had capacity for nearly one hundred thirty aircraft. “It was soon realized that the coordination of so many planes was beyond the effective command and control ability of one ship,” Leone writes.

The FDR was originally christened Coral Sea (CVB-42) and launched in April 1945.

“The ship sponsor was Mrs. Anne P. Towers, née Pierette, wife of Adm. John H. Towers, Commander Air Force, Pacific Fleet, while its honorary sponsor was First Lady A. Eleanor Roosevelt. Coral Sea renamed Franklin D. Roosevelt to honor the late President Roosevelt on May 8, 1945, marking the first time that the Navy made an exception to the traditional naming of fleet aircraft carriers for battles or famous ships. FDR was commissioned on October 27, 1945, with Capt. Apollo Soucek in command,” Leone concludes.

Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.

Written By

Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV.



  1. John Fields

    December 27, 2021 at 10:49 pm

    I think that carriers will soon be obsolete. Hypersonic missiles are very difficult to intercept. Another thing that surprises me is why carriers need more and more planes. With the deadly accuracy of missiles and the payload carried by one plane you would that think that 24 would be ample for any operation.

  2. Joe

    December 28, 2021 at 3:55 am

    This terrible article tells nothing of any consequence. It looks like it was written by a poor AI bot.

  3. R

    December 28, 2021 at 10:46 am

    Hi Joe, I agree. It appears to be typical of a lot of
    today’s supposed media journalism.

  4. Joe

    December 28, 2021 at 2:03 pm

    The problem with the Midway class came when they added the angled deck. It created huge imbalance problems that could never be fixed in spite of numerous attempts. In the end it shortened the life of the ships.

  5. John W Connelly

    December 28, 2021 at 5:27 pm

    USS Midway served until 1992 47 years of service. this was longer than all of the ships in the Forrestal and Kitty Hawk classes.


    December 28, 2021 at 8:14 pm

    My dad was a plankholder (member of the original crew) on the Rosie. He flew Helldivers.

  7. Maureen E. Cole

    December 28, 2021 at 10:08 pm

    What an outstanding Ship she was. One heavy duty piece of Iron and metal. The USS ROSEY certainly did her job in service to protect us for 45 years.
    Just glad I wasn’t the one underneath trying to sleep in a bunk.

  8. Rocco

    December 29, 2021 at 9:02 am

    Not only was this article not worthy to publish only because it’s author has no idea how Carriers back in the day have any relevance to today’s Carriers!! Size of aircraft then compared to today in size, ( not counting weight) of the aircraft are not withstanding!! From that point on aircraft had their own specific missions to perform & carriers had up to 10 different airframes on board! Today we have way too big of a carrier with only 4 airframes not counting Helos!! Not too mention too many bells and whistles!!

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