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F-35B Lightning II takes off from HMS Queen Elizabeth

RN Commander Nathan Gray pilots an F-35B off the ski-jump on HMS Queen Elizabeth [Crown Copyright: LPhot Kyle Heller - via US DoD]

Royal Navy Commander Nathan Gray, F-35 Integrated Test Force at NAS Patuxent River, has made the first ever F-35B Lightning II take-off from HMS Queen Elizabeth.


Two F-35Bs landed onboard the new British aircraft carrier earlier this week laying the foundations for the next 50 years of fixed wing aviation in support of the UK’s Carrier Strike Capability. Commander Gray and Royal Air Force Squadron Leader Andy Edgell, both test pilots at the F-35 Integrated Test Force at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, landed the first two jets on the new British aircraft carrier. Shortly afterwards, once a deck inspection had been conducted and the all-clear given, Cdr Gray became the first pilot to take off using the ship’s ski-ramp.


RN Commander Nathan Gray takes off from HMS Queen Elizabeth on 25th September [Crown Copyright: Lt Cdr Lindsey Waudby RN]

RN Commander Nathan Gray in the cockpit of an F-35B on the flight deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth [Crown Copyright:  PO Arron Hoare – via US DoD]

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