British pilots fly F-35Bs onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth

AIR International provides an overview of the historic first landings of F-35Bs onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth and the ongoing flight trials

THE FIRST F-35B Lightning II fighter jets to land aboard the United Kingdom’s new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) touched down on September 25, 2018. The two aircraft, US machines assigned to the F-35 Integrated Test Force (ITF) based at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland were flown by Royal Navy Commander Nathan Gray in F-35B BF-05/ SD65 followed by Royal Air Force Squadron Leader Andy Edgell in F-35B BF-04; both aircraft, marked with tail markings specifically applied for the trials with the title QNLZ, are assigned to US Navy Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 23 (VX-23) ‘Salty Dogs’. Shortly after the historic landing Commander Gray became the first to launch from the ship using its ski ramp.

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