An F-35B jet declared an emergency after taking off from HMS Queen Elizabeth off the Scottish coast but has now landed safely.

HMS Queen Elizabeth and her Strike Group are currently exercising alongside allied nations in the North Sea, as part of NATO’s largest annual exercise, Joint Warrior.

What is the significance of “Squawking 7700”?

Captain Hoke is a Boeing 757/767 captain for a package express airline and also runs the website AeroSavvy, he had this to say.

“Declaring an emergency means the crew determines they have an “urgency” or “distress” situation. “Urgency” means the crew is concerned about the safety of the flight and needs timely (but not necessarily immediate) assistance. A “distress” condition means that the flight is in serious and/or imminent danger and requires immediate assistance.”

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Hopefully they landed safely.


Just curious, if there is was an issue with the lift fan is it’s still possible to land on the QE class if they cleared the deck.


Good question. I’d be interested to know that as well.


If there was a problem and (god forbid) the aircraft crashed in flames on the flight deck, imagine the possible damage to the ship, equipment, aircraft and personnel. Definitely better to land at Lossie, where they have all the emergency services ready to roll.


In this case I agree 100% I’m just thinking about when we are not training off our own coast. I guess in the middle east they would find a friendly runway and likely the same in the South China Sea. From memory when they transitted the Atlantic, the reason they refuelled so many times was so that if there was ever e technical issue with fueling, they had enough fuel on board to find a runway somewhere.

Last edited 4 months ago by BB85
Robert Blay

The always carry diversion fuel when transiting the Atlantic. If the carrier was far away from land base’s, (say in the middle of the Atlantic) then the aircraft would land on the vessel, unless the chances of a safe landing are zero, then the aircraft would ditch at sea, instead of presenting a risk to the ship. But that is a very extreme scenario, and never happened in 30 years of Harrier operations at sea. The aircraft and flight deck crews practice recovering a aircraft with a potentially serious problem, and also carry out practice crash on deck drills, including… Read more »


Hi BB85, My understanding is that it is not possible to land on a QE class with vertical lift from the fan because the carriers are not equipment with arrester gear or crash nets. If there is an issue with the lift fan it is either divert to a land base for a convention landing on a nice long runway or if that is not possible – eject and hope the duty rescue helicopter picks the pilot up safely… Dangerous buiness flying from carriers. A study carried out by the USN during the Vetnam War suggested that the most stressful… Read more »


Yeah – that puts me in mind of the documentary early this year, about the Red Arrows transiting to the States for a nationwide tour there. They don’t have in-flight refueling of course, and had to make the journey in ‘short’ hops, via Greenland, Goose Bay, etc. They were accompanied en-route by a RAF Voyager but it had no SAR capability (come back Nimrod!). The longest leg was UK-Greenland and, if one of them had an emergency they would most likely have had to ditch in the sea. frightening thought!

Joe Mann

Lossie’s runway and airfield are closed.

The Big Man

I think BB85’s is not geo location specific. That is, what do they do if the aircraft cannot perform a vertical or rolling vertical landing?
(and is not near Lossie or anywhere else for that matter)
It’s a good question.


I suspect they will have a retractable net which runs across the deck, they use the nets on traditional carriers in case of arrestor hook failure


Not sure if the QE class carriers are equipped with the emergency Barricade nets like the US carriers. (Can anyone clarify??) If soyou could conduct conventional approach (shipborne rolling landing) though the speeds and forces would be higher than a fan assisted approach but not much different to say an FA-18 making a barricade landing. However, the barricade can damage the aircraft and the aircraft can damage the carrier deck so a shore diversion if available would be the obvious choice.


No, I don’t believe they are. More likely scenario would be to ditch next to the ship and get picked up by a Merlin/sea boat.


You would hope a $100million plane would have to be in a pretty bad way to ditch in the sea. The loss – both tactical, material and financial of not at least attempting to get it on-deck is painful to think about.


Hopefully it is insured for lost at sea scenarios, then less of an issue 😂


An engine problem is an engine problem, no matter what the aircraft?
Servicing on a carrier is I guess more pressing than land based, although these QE carriers are spacious.


why does it say 7 i can count 4


Carriers in th RN usually operate, where operational issue’s permit, with an arranged diversionary airfield for emergencies and sometimes if there is any doubt about an issue with the aircraft they do a precautionary landing at the diversionary airfield for safety reasons. Then they normally helicopter a ground to assess whats going on.


Any updates on this story?