Four test pilots are getting in last-minute training ready to take their specially-modified stealth fighters aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth next month, say the Royal Navy.

They’ll conduct around 500 landings and take-offs on the 900ft deck of the future flagship.

“Once in the US, 200 engineers and experts from the F-35 Integrated Test Force – based at Pax River air station 50 miles outside Washington DC – will embark with a myriad of sensors and data recorders to see how the state-of-the-art aircraft perform in various weather conditions/sea states and carrying various payloads.

The ski ramp was introduced on the previous generation of carriers to give Harriers extra lift, allowing them to take off at a slower speed/heavier weight than normal – and has been retained on the new flagships for the same reason.

Two specially-modified F-35Bs and four pilots – Mr Wilson from BAE, the RN’s Cdr Nathan Gray, Sqn Ldr Andy Edgell and a US Marine Corps aviator – will conduct the trials aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth in two phases of trials this autumn, trials broken up by a high-profile visit to New York.”

Weather and serviceability permitting, the first deck landing is earmarked for the last week in September.

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Has the name of the marine corps pilot and details of his previous flying experience been released yet?

Rob Collinson

Let’s get on with it!


(Chris H) If they are indeed using the ‘BF’ series from the USMC then there are no national markings as such. There is a partner country flag list along the engine nacelles on two of them and a small US marking under the tails. I understand that only two of these will be used both flown by UK pilots.

Some examples here:

Peter Crisp

I wonder if they have any news organisations on board documenting this as it would be pretty great to see some footage.


Chris Terrill is aboard again.

Lee H

Afternoon all Blimey, tensions are still high after a couple of months away! Guys – it’s all starting to come together, planes, people and platforms. Planning for the first time has actually paid off!! Good to see SoleSurvivor giving great based factual responses, we may disagree occasionally ? Chris (H) likewise – great facts, well researched. TH – apart from when you let emotion get the better of you, I think your views are well reasoned – I disagree with most of them however ? Rapid (Bummer) CLAP as always – pointless but CLAP Good to be back – only… Read more »


I wonder if in the future, the aircraft may have a software update to allow to carry out the “Viff” manoeuvre?