Aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth will arrive home in Portsmouth today at 13:40.

Last month, F-35 Lightning jets left HMS Queen Elizabeth after eight weeks flying, helping to write the ‘operator manual’, say the Royal Navy.

“The success of the Westlant 18 deployment – which has also included a very high-profile visit to New York – allows the Portsmouth-based ship to move on to operational trials next year with British-owned F-35s flown by Naval and Air Force aviators based at RAF Marham. Two jets and four test pilots, based at the Integrated Test Force (ITF) at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland, joined the carrier in late September.”

The jets performed 200 short take-offs, 187 vertical landings, and 15 rolling landings and dropped 54 dummy bombs into the Atlantic.

This has been one of the most comprehensive flight trials at sea ever conducted,” said RAF Squadron Leader Andy Edgell, ITF chief test pilot in a news release.

“I am very proud to have professionally executed every aspect of this trial and deliver for the UK a capability that can be exploited for years to come.”

Naval aviator Nathan Gray – the first person to land a jet on HMS Queen Elizabeth – added:

It has been phenomenal to get through a high profile with such success. This is due to the skills of the designers of both the F-35 and the ship herself. It is beyond question that without the vision of the Royal Navy and the unfailing support of the ship’s company we would not have achieved what we have done today. I am proud to have delivered this future and enduring operational capability.”

The crew will now be able to spend Christmas with their families.

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She is currently off Ventnor Isle of Wight, just watched her launch a Merlin


That Merlin was me! We landed around 1050 and launched again around 1105 and headed for St Catherine’s Point, the Needles and then back to Yeovilton.


Spent yesterday in St Austell bay, cornwall along with her rfa.


What, exactly, is an ”Aviator”?

captain P Wash.

Think Top Gun !

Daniele Mandelli

I have highlighted this before.

An Americanism with no place in the RN or RAF in my opinion.

And that is no disrespect to our friends and cousins Hellions and Elliot. Just my opinion that we should use our own terms.

captain P Wash.

Daniele, It’s everywhere though. The Amount of emails I get that say “Hi”, I always reply with “Hello”. I love the way that any Scandal is a something “Gate”. Hate the “We’re in Lockdown” one, and the “Good To Go” one too. Another more recent saying Is ” The Get Go”. They’re all great sayings just like “Thinking outside the Box, Touching Base and Have a nice day” but We Is Like British like Innit !

captain P Wash.

No Offence, Hellions like !!!!

Daniele Mandelli


Barry Larking

I say! Good show! Why be a second rate Yank when one could be a first rank Englishman? (Applause and cheering off.)




captain P Wash.

Lol !

Daniele Mandelli


Barry Larking

Absolutely! Spiffing indeed.

Daniele Mandelli


David E Flandry

The US Navy calls their pilots aviators, thinking it sounds cooler. They still pilot aircraft though.

andy reeves

aren’t they sunglasses?


I like how she left with three MK4 Merlin but came back with four (if you’ve been following certain Twitter feeds). Same with the ASW Helos at Culdrose, though I think Tidespring took an extra airframe over with her. Reckon those Merlins are mating in their new hangar?

Regardless, welcome back to her crew – and those aboard Monmouth and Tidespring. A job well done.

I for one can’t wait to see QE meet up with POW in the near future. What a photo op that’ll make!


One Mk4 was from 845 NAS that flew on that day to help with the offload of personnel for both 820 and 845 NAS.


It would appear the trials and exercising went extremely well, she outperformed all expectations and concluded the series of flight trials well ahead of schedule. It’s a shame that the UK press don’t find such news half as interesting or worthy of publishing, unlike a small gland leak which shipped as much water as a domestic fish tank. But hey ho, that’s the press for you.

captain P Wash.

Yes Basil, I’m with you on this. HMS Queen Elizabeth Is one of the finest examples of Concept, Design and Build anywhere In the World and We should all celebrate such an Outstanding Achievement. To be able to Put all that effort, hard work and Ingenuity together in one brand new Package and for It all to work so bloody Amazingly well, Is quite frankly a staggering achievement. Well done to everybody Involved. I’d love to see more of this in the News and less of some Celebrity winning some meaningless competition having swallowed a load of Kangaroo Testicles. Or… Read more »


Sadly it’s not fashionable to celebrate our national or military successes these days. Or maybe it’s just Brexit everywhere so no spacefof anything else.

Makes me wonder what would actually be on the news had the vote been Remain.


Melancholy as a non-sovereign Country Dominion of eu is.

Daniele Mandelli

If the vote had been Remain we, by rights , would be leaving shortly, judging by the absolute shower running this country, the opposition, the SNP, Lib Dems, and state propaganda from the Brussels Broadcasting Corporation.


same sh**, different day


now lets push on for the production rate of the t26 and t31e to be accelerated to rapid build and service entry