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    First Aft-Facing Vertical Landing Made on Britain's New Carrier

    Highlights from the last week of first of class flight trials

    Photo By Dane Wiedmann | NORTH ATLANTIC OCEAN -- The F-35 Pax River Integrated Test Force is testing aboard the...... read more read more



    Story by Connie Hempel 

    F-35 Lightning II Pax River ITF   

    NORTH ATLANTIC OCEAN -- The first aft-facing vertical landing made by a fast jet onto a British Queen Elizabeth Class carrier was accomplished at around 10:30 a.m. Nov. 16.

    Royal Air Force Squadron Leader Andy Edgell, F-35 Pax River Integrated Test Force, was the first pilot to carry out the maneuver on HMS Queen Elizabeth during the first of class flight trials (fixed wing).

    “It was briefly bizarre to bear down on the ship and see the waves parting on the bow as you fly an approach aft facing,” Edgell said. “It was also a unique opportunity fly towards the ship, stare at the bridge, and wonder what the captain is thinking.”

    The aft-facing VL provides the ship with another landing capability if other landing maneuvers are constrained whether by winds, limited sea space, an inability to adequately steer, or if the ship is unable to leave port but still wishes to land an aircraft on.

    The aft-facing VL is the third type of landing to be made onto the ship. The other two—forward-facing VL and shipborne rolling VL—have been carried out throughout the nine weeks of FOCFT(FW).

    Edgell, who is the lead test pilot for FOCFT(FW), said despite approaching at the opposite end, once alongside the task was still the same and “the aircraft handled beautifully.”

    Since September, the ITF has been conducting FOCFT(FW) on HMS Queen Elizabeth to develop the F-35B operating envelope for the new Queen Elizabeth Class carriers and is expected to wrap up in November.

    During the trials, an ITF team of nearly 200 people and two F-35Bs test jets embarked on the ship and have worked alongside the program’s tier 1 partner to carry out flight tests. During the FOCFT(FW) the team executed nearly 100 flights gathering hundreds of test point data in an effort to launch the United Kingdom back into carrier strike capability.

    HMS Queen Elizabeth’s first operational deployment is scheduled for 2021 as a joint deployment with a USMC F-35B detachment. The UK is scheduled to purchase 138 F-35Bs throughout the life of the program.



    Date Taken: 11.16.2018
    Date Posted: 11.21.2018 13:04
    Story ID: 300915

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