Merlin makes a historic touchdown on navy's new aircraft carrier

FOR the first time in several years a helicopter has landed on the deck of a Royal Navy aircraft carrier.

Tuesday, 4th July 2017, 9:37 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th September 2017, 11:19 am
The first deck Landing on HMS Queen Elizabeth
The first deck Landing on HMS Queen Elizabeth

The Merlin helicopter made the historic touchdown on the enormous flight deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth.

It’s the first aircraft to land on the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier – the largest warship Britain has ever built, which will call Portsmouth home.

The job to land the 14-tonne aircraft fell to 26-year-old pilot Lieutenant Luke Wraith, of 820 Naval Air Squadron.

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Lt Wraith, who only gained his ‘wings’ 18 months ago, said: ‘I was pretty nervous – not about making a safe landing, but knowing that every other pilot in the navy would watch the footage and critique it.’

Aircraft handlers guided him on to the four-acre deck. It’s the latest milestone in the 65,000-tonne warship’s sea trails, which began last week.

Captain Jerry Kyd, Queen Elizabeth’s commanding officer, was watching and said it was an ‘historic’ event.