It was briefly bizarre to bear down on the ship and see the waves parting on the bow as you fly an approach aft facing.

Squadron Leader Andy Edgell RAF

The wrong-way landing was a slightly surreal experience, said Squadron Leader Edgell. “It was briefly bizarre to bear down on the ship and see the waves parting on the bow as you fly an approach aft facing.

“It was also a unique opportunity fly towards the ship, stare at the bridge, and wonder what the captain is thinking.”

Once alongside the landing spot however, the act of setting the F-35 down is almost identically – except for nudging the jet left, not right – and “the aircraft handled beautifully.”

HMS Queen Elizabeth is coming to the end of nine weeks of intensive jet trials with the second period, since she left New York last month, focused on pushing the boundaries of the F-35, the ship and ship’s company to see how the aircraft perform launching and landing in different weather conditions and carrying various payloads.

The carrier is due home from her Westlant 18 deployment in mid-December.

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