Britain’s newest and biggest aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08), is approaching the end of a first phase of sea trials. Tim Ripley visited her in Rosyth dockyard and reports on the UK’s return to the aircraft carrier business.


A fine aerial view of HMS ‘Queen Elizabeth’ shortly after sailing from Rosyth in June.
All images Crown Copyright unless otherwise stated

WALKING UP to the top of HMS Queen Elizabeth’s ski-jump and looking back at her vast flight deck is the best way to appreciate that the UK’s new super-carrier is purpose designed and built to launch and recover aircraft in the most efficient and effective way. The carrier’s 919ft (280m) flight deck stretches into the distance. In the carrier’s aft island, the flying control (Flyco) is up and running to oversee air operations on the ship with her team of aircraft controllers at work and visible through the island’s large windows.

Become a Premium Member to Read More

This is a premium article and requires an active Key.Aero subscription to view.

I’m an existing member, sign me in!

I don’t have a subscription…

Enjoy the following subscriber only benefits:

  • Unlimited access to all KeyAero content
  • Exclusive in-depth articles and analysis, videos, quizzes added daily
  • A fully searchable archive – boasting hundreds of thousands of pieces of quality aviation content
  • Access to read all our leading aviation magazines online - meaning you can enjoy the likes of FlyPast, Aeroplane Monthly, AirForces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, Aviation News, Airports of the World, PC Pilot and Airliner World - as soon as they leave the editor’s desk.
  • Access on any device- anywhere, anytime
  • Choose from our offers below