my ship's company and our industry partners are looking forward to taking the ship to sea to conduct first of class rotary wing flying trials

Captain Jerry Kyd, Commanding Officer of HMS Queen Elizabeth

The Chinook crews landing on board include Royal Navy, Royal Marines and Royal Air Force personnel. Commander Matt Grindon is the Royal Navy co-pilot of one of the aircraft. He said: "It is a tremendous honour to have been part of the first deck landing on HMS Queen Elizabeth by Chinook.

"I am really looking forward to the opportunity to take part in the forthcoming trials. I have landed on previous carriers, but this flight deck is so much bigger - it certainly made for an easy landing on a very impressive ship."

The aim of the trials is to work out the conditions that the aircraft can operate in while at sea on the carrier. They will collect data about the landings, take-offs and manoeuvres in different wind and sea conditions, before processing the information and ultimately declaring that the ship can safely operate the aircraft.

These helicopter trials take place before the fixed wing F35 Lightning II trials later this year. Ultimately the carrier will be declared safe to fly Chinook, Merlin Mk2, Merlin Mk3, Merlin Mk4, Wildcat and Apache attack helicopters, as well as the fast jets.

HMS Queen Elizabeth's 700-strong crew will be further bolstered during the trials by more than 70 people from the ship's permanently assigned Naval Air Squadron, 820 NAS from RNAS Culdrose, with two further operational Merlin helicopters providing force protection.

Helicopters have previously landed on HMS Queen Elizabeth to transfer essential stores and personnel, but not for official flying trials.

HMNB Portsmouth

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