Four F-35B pilots are completing final training in the US ahead of HMS Queen Elizabeth’s arrival next month.
They’re flying two ‘orange wired’ F-35 test aircraft operated by the Integrated Test Force (ITF). The Royal Navy named the pilots as ‘Mr Wilson from BAE, the RN’s Cdr Nathan Gray, Sqn Ldr Andy Edgell and a US Marine Corps aviator’.
The UK Defence Journal previously confirmed that Commander Nathan Gray will be the first pilot to land an F-35 on HMS Queen Elizabeth. Squadron Leader Andy Edgell will them conduct the first take off. This is pencilled in for the last week of September. BAE text pilot Mr Wilson and the USMC pilot will likely be embarked via Merlin helicopter.
Over the course of the following weeks, the four pilots will conduct around 500 take offs and landings. The Royal Navy also confirmed that 200 engineers and experts from the F-35 Integrated Test Force based at Pax River will embark HMS Queen Elixabeth to monitor the F-35 trails, including how it performs in varying sea states.
The original Royal Navy release can be found here.