Photo courtesy U.S. Dept. of Defense
The USS Nimitz, of the U.S. Navy's super aircraft carriers
When the U.S. Navy really needs to impress people, it flies them out to one of its super aircraft carriers. Standing 20 stories above the water and stretching 1,092 feet (333 meters) from bow to stern (about as long as the 77-story Chrysler building is tall), the sheer bulk of these ships is awe-inspiring. But the really amazing thing about a supercarrier isn't its size; it's the intense scene on its flight deck. When the crew is in full swing, they can launch or land a plane every 25 seconds -- all in a fraction of the space available on a typical landing strip.

In this edition of HowStuffWorks, we'll find out what the U.S. Navy's modern Nimitz-class aircraft carriers are all about. We'll learn what's on the different decks, take a look at the amazing machines that help launch and land aircraft, and find out a little about daily life on these enormous floating bases. As we'll see, the modern aircraft carrier is one of the most amazing vehicles ever created.