Abraham Lincoln boasts all the amenities found in any American city with a comparable population. These include a post office (with its own ZIP code), TV and radio station, newspaper, fire department, library, hospital, general store, barbershops, and more. The ship has enough electrical generating power to supply electricity to 100,000 homes, food and supplies to operate for 90 days and the capability of distilling more than 400,000 gallons of fresh water from the sea each day.
Keeping the ship ready at all times is critical. This requires repair shops to maintain machinery and aircraft, heavy duty tailor shops to repair parachutes and other survival gear, and electronic shops to keep communication, navigation, and avionics equipment up and running. Of course, there are a few things that are unusual for a city of 5,000 people. For example, Abraham Lincoln is a floating airport, capable of launching as many as four aircraft every minute. In fact , the ship hosts seven different types of aircraft which perform a variety of missions.
During flight operations, the 4.5 acre flight deck is the scene of intense activity, with crew, aircraft, and other equipment functioning as a well-rehearsed and carefully choreographed team to ensure efficiency and safety. The various functions of the flight deck crew are identified by the colors of the jersey they wear. For example, yellow is for officers and aircraft directors purple for fuel handlers green for catapult and arresting gear crews blue for chock and chain runners and red for crash/salvage teams and ordnance handlers. Four aircraft elevators, each the size of two average city lots, bring aircraft up to the flight deck from the hanger bays below. Aviation fuel is pumped from the tanks below and bombs, rockets, and missiles are brought up from the magazines. Powerful steam catapults (affectionately known as "Fat Cats" can accelerate a 37-ton jet from zero to 180 miles per hour in less than three seconds while traveling nearly the length of a football field. The weight of each aircraft determines the amount of thrust provided by the catapult. In recovery, pilots use a system of lenses to guide their aircraft "down the slope" (the correct guide path for landing). Four arresting wires, each consisting of two-inch thick wire cables connected to hydraulic rams below decks, snag the arresting hook, stopping the aircraft from 150 miles per hour to zero in less than 400 feet. High in the island, seven stories above the flight deck, the "Air Boss" and his staff coordinate the entire operation, carefully monitored from the flight deck as well as from the Captain on the Navigation Bridge. When deployed, Abraham Lincoln is the nucleus of a carrier battle group which includes guided missile cruisers, destroyers, frigates, replenishment ships, and submarines.