Stealth jet pilots ramp up training ahead of HMS Queen Elizabeth debut

HMS Queen Elizabeth leaving Portsmouth earlier this month. Picture: Shaun Roster
HMS Queen Elizabeth leaving Portsmouth earlier this month. Picture: Shaun Roster
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FIGHTER pilots have been ramping up their training ahead of debuting on the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier next month.

The team due to land on HMS Queen Elizabeth’s flight deck have been getting ready for take-off from the carrier – by practising using a replica ski jump similar to the one on the 65,000-tonne warship.

Ski ramps were introduced on the previous generation of carriers to give Harriers extra lift, allowing them to take off at a slower speed or with a heavier payload – and have been retained on the new flagships for the same reason.

Two specially-modified F-35Bs and four pilots – ex-Fleet Air Arm pilot Peter ‘Wizzer’ Wilson, the Royal Navy’s Commander Nathan Gray, Squadron Leader Andy Edgell and a US Marine Corps aviator – will conduct the tests on the Portsmouth-based warship.

Earmarked to take place off the east coast of the US in the autumn, it will be the first time in eight years a fast jet has landed on a British warship.