HMS Queen Elizabeth: F-35 pilot explains what the 'open door' on aircraft is for and how it helps the jet hover as Royal Navy carrier continues US deployment

A PILOT on HMS Queen Elizabeth has explained what the ‘open door’ on the F-35 jets is for.

Monday, 28th October 2019, 2:24 pm
Updated Monday, 28th October 2019, 2:41 pm

The Royal Navy's 65,000 tonne future fleet flagship is currently on deployment on the east coast of America for WESTLANT19.

HMS Queen Elizabeth is continuing trials with F-35B jets, which has seen the first British jets land on her decks.

In a video shared on Twitter Royal Air Force Wing Cdr Adam Curd revealed the purpose of the ‘open door’ on the planes.

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He said: ‘That scoop at the top is actually where you get all the extra air into the engine and into the lift.

‘So the aircraft hovers by having thrust coming out of the back, so the nozzle that twists down and does this (makes turning gesture) and at the front the doors open up.

‘The doors on the top and on the bottom open up and the big lift fan at the front you can hear it up it goes. So you have hot air going out and down at the back and cold air going down at the front so that’s how we actually balance the aeroplane when it’s flying, when it’s hovering.

One of HMS Queen Elizabeth's flight deck officers Lieutenant Dave Robson launches the first ever UK F-35 from the supercarrier's black top. Photo: LPhot Kyle Heller.

‘There’s no lift coming off the wings at that stage, there’s not enough airflow across the wings, so if we want to pitch down you ask less of the fan at the front and more of the engine at the back.

‘And then under the wings, you can’t always see it, there’s two little doors that open just like the Harrier used to have as well and we blow hot air from the engine more or less on those and that controls you left and right.

‘So that’s how you fly the aeroplane when you are in hovering mode that is what it is for.’

HMS Queen Elizabeth is due to return to the UK later this year.

She is currently starring in the second season of BBC Two’s show Britain’s Biggest Warship, which aired last night.