VIDEO: F-35B Phase 2 Ski Ramp trials continue


The second round of F-35B ski ramp testing continues to support the United Kingdom in advance of flight trials from HMS Queen Elizabeth.

This test featured externally mounted ASRAAMs and Paveway bombs, weapons that will be used by the UK on these aircraft.

The flights were carried out by Peter Wilson, the BAE Systems test pilot and ski jump project lead. He said during the first phase:

Friday’s F35B ski jump was a great success for the joint ski jump team. I’m exceptionally proud of this team. Their years of planning, collaboration and training have culminated in a fantastic achievement that advances the future capabilities of the aircraft and its integration into UK operations.”

For more than 30 years, the UK has used the ski jump approach to carrier operations as an alternative to the catapults and arresting gear used aboard US aircraft carriers.”

Peter added:

“As expected, aircraft BF-04 performed well and I can’t wait until we’re conducting F35 ski jumps from the deck of the Queen Elizabeth carrier. Until then, the de-risking that we’re able to achieve now during phase I of our ski jump testing will equip us with valuable data we’ll use to fuel our phase II efforts.”

F-35 BF-2 piloted by Peter “Wizzer” Wilson performing Ski Jump with
UK Paveway IV & ASRAAM for the first time at PAX – photo
Arnel Parker.

The F35B’s design allows it to automatically position the control surfaces and nozzles for takeoff; a unique capability compared with previous STOVL aircraft. Such automation frees up pilot capacity and provides an added safety enhancement.

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John Clark

Great to see these trials continuing. I wonder if the B can take off without augmented lift from QE, if it uses all the available deck?

Mr Bell

The ski jump enables a faster take off speed and a greater payload to be carried. We need to get more than 24 of these jets in service, ideally a fleet of 96+ in active service. 6 squadrons of 12-15 jets should be a minimum number the RAF/ fleet air arm gets.

John Clark

Sorry, I didn’t explain myself property, I meant take off conventionally using the sky jump only, not its Stovl systems?


If they could do that I would imagine they would have stuck arresters on and gone for the F35c.


This should silence the critics, but I doubt it.

Must admit I find that very annoying.


I must admit to being fascinated as to why the C version has 2 wheels at the front due to forces on take off and landing and the C does not.

Surely the B has a similar set of forces on take off and landing and if having 2 wheels on the front minimises these forces surely it would be best to have this set up on all variants and simplify the logistics.


The C variant needs to have its catapult connection in the centre (on its neutral axis) to prevent any horizontal rotation when launching. Secondly, the C variant will experience much higher forces, hence it’s a better solution to have wheels either side of this connection, rather than a single off centre wheel, which would be much weaker.

Finally, your forgetting that the C variant is the exception, the A and B both have the same single wheel design.