I can’t wait until we’re conducting F-35 ski jumps from the deck of the Queen Elizabeth carrier.

Peter ‘Wizzer’ Wilson

“We spend literally years planning these ‘firsts’, with hundreds of hours in the simulator as the event gets close, but even with all the preparation the test team remains focussed on the potential that something unexpected might happen.

"As is usually the case, the jet performed as expected and it was a real pleasure.

“I can’t wait until we’re conducting F-35 ski jumps from the deck of the Queen Elizabeth carrier.”

Ski jumps were fitted to the RN’s generation of Harrier carriers to give the jets more lift with less speed than a conventional flat flight deck.

The concept has been retained with the Queen Elizabeth class – although the replica ramp has been built in Maryland, not Yeovilton.

On the new carriers the structure rises about six metres (20ft) above the normal deck.

Two weeks of initial trials are being carried out with the data gathered fed back by the test team to engineers and designers, including those at Warton in Lancashire where F35 simulators help pilots ‘fly’ from the deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth – before they do it for real from 2018 onwards.

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