UK F-35B pilots make final preparations ahead of carrier trials

Photo: F-35 Patuxent River Integrated Test Force PAO Connie Hempel

A team of four F-35B test pilots are making final preparations for taking their aircraft aboard Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth next month.

Two specially-modified F-35Bs and four pilots – Mr Wilson from BAE, the RN’s Cdr Nathan Gray, Sqn Ldr Andy Edgell and a US Marine Corps aviator – will conduct the trials aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth in two phases of trials this autumn, trials broken up by a high-profile visit to New York.

They’ll conduct around 500 landings and take-offs on the 900ft deck of the future flagship – the first time the Portsmouth-based warship has hosted fast jets.

HMS Queen Elizabeth is about to strike out across the Atlantic – another first – after final preparations in the South Coast exercise areas.

Once in the US, 200 engineers and experts from the F-35 Integrated Test Force – based at Pax River air station 50 miles outside Washington DC – will embark with a myriad of sensors and data recorders to see how the state-of-the-art aircraft perform in various weather conditions/sea states and carrying various payloads.

The ski ramp was introduced on the previous generation of carriers to give Harriers extra lift, allowing them to take off at a slower speed/heavier weight than normal – and has been retained on the new flagships for the same reason.

Weather and serviceability permitting, the first deck landing on the RN’s 65,000-tonne future flagship is earmarked for the last week in September.

The F-35B is now operational with the US Marine Corps, but US ships do not feature the ski jump, which rises about 20ft above the regular deck.

Share this article

Follow Naval Today

Events>

<< Apr 2019 >>
MTWTFSS
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 1 2 3 4 5

IDEF’19

Hosted by the Ministry of National Defense and under the management and responsibility of the Turkish Armed Forces Foundation, IDEF 2019

read more >

UNMANNED MARITIME SYSTEMS TECHNOLOGY

Unmanned Maritime Systems Technology 2019 is a crucial forum for the discussion of current and future projects and programmes…

read more >

PACIFIC 2019

As the only comprehensive international exhibition of its kind in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, PACIFIC 2019…

read more >