Test pilot Squadron Leader Andy Edgell flew his F-35 facing the stern, not bow, before bringing the jet to a hover and gently setting it down on HMS Queen Elizabeth.
The ‘back-to-front’ manoeuvre, described as “like driving the wrong way down a one-way street” say the Royal Navy in a release, is intended to give pilots and the flight deck team more options to safely land the jet in an emergency.
“During her maiden jet trials off the eastern coast of the USA, the ship has already completed conventional landings (with the pilot/aircraft facing the bow) and a rolling landing (the Lightning approaches the flight deck at low speed and gently rolls to a halt, without the need for arrestor wires).”
Squadron Leader Edgell said:
“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. It was also a unique opportunity fly towards the ship, stare at the bridge, and wonder what the captain is thinking.”
The Royal Navy say that the carrier is due home from her Westlant 18 deployment in mid-December.