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Lord Curzon


Rob H

Re “The aircraft touched down 755 yards back from the end of the carrier’s ski jump,………..the 580-yard mark. Using powerful brakes………around 180 yards.”

Hmm, pretty sure those numbers should be noted as feet, not yards.

BTW in UK the term VSTOL hasn’t really been used for 35-ish years. It’s STOVL.


Great news !

1: If the approaching speed is really 40 knots, the 25 knots speed of QNLZ will help a lot?
Or the tubulence behind the ship will be more of a trouble than the speed?

2: A bit “unstalbe” movement around 0:09 is a bit of worry.
But, I am not a specialist of F35B so the trial results will eventually show us.

Hope it goes on, because increase in bring-back load will help a lot in “real” operations. Not always you have a good chance to release your bomb. Weather change, aim already achieved by the first attack and second one canceled, sudden emergence of “candidate non-related civilian” on site ….


There has been quite a bit of negative comment about whether this is really practical, some of it from expert sources. Only one way to find out and you still have the option of chucking your stores if it looks too hairy.Is 40 knots enough, or is this just a cautious early test?Presumably it was fairly light as well.

Bobs Baradur

Maybe they could string a couple wires across the deck, put a hook on the plane.
Just a crazy idea an old sailor told me about.


I can’t help but wonder if some of the benefits of vstol have vanished with increased weight and how on earth catapults got so expensive. Defence companies do do inexpensive solutions these days but would it be worthwhile to use a very cheap and simple WW2 like set up for lighter weight aircraft and UAVs?This has definitely been done before.


I hope they are doing their sums with known brake failure rates of F35.


Probably need an escape runway or net to right of or end of ski ramp.


That looks like where the aircraft would have been hitting the turbulence coming over the ski jump. It looks about the right heigh to me. Keeping in mind that it is a moving reference frame. What we may not be able to see if the camera was on a tripod that the QE actually moved and the F35b was stable! QE is biiiig but that watery stuff moves about.

I am sure the next step is to test the envelope of how fast the relative speeds can be. The limiting factor has to be the braking capacity and the safety margin on that.

I do wonder how close to a conventional landing the F35b can actually go given the long length of the flight deck and runway. Unladen or part laden it should work. The issue is what sea states the undercart can do this as my suspicion is that the B undercart is not as strengthened as the C variant for carrier slam down and hold on deck. Anyone?

The main thing is that this works and there is plenty of space to do it on deck in practical terms. Bigger space = less risk to dynamic manoeuvres.

Rose Compass

‘Aviation history was made on board HMS Queen Elizabeth today when a jet made the first ever Shipborne Rolling Vertical Landing (SRVL).’


I was pretty certain that the feasibility of the procedure was tested by one of Boscombe Down’s Harriers on the FS Charles de Gaulle a few years ago. I know that one should never make these sorts of assertions oppugning another’s statement without being able to quote a source, but taking the lazy route I checked on Wikipedia – as ‘SRVL’ – and sure enough this recollection is borne out. Moreover, it seems that the Soviets preceded the British with tests using a Yak-38 in the 1970s!

Aside from which, the attempt depicted in the video looks rather feeble – I’m sure (and hope) that with practise both ships and aircraft will be able to perform the manoeuvre at greater relative speeds. My point here is that this particular video maybe doesn’t do the manoeuvre justice, but it is good to see that progress is being made.


USMC seems to be very non committed and in wait and see mode.Many observers reguard the manoeuvre to be risky.

David Graham

The litmus test will be to see if the evolution can be performed safely at night in poor weather conditions. Remember there is at present no “buddy/buddy” refuelling, so if an aircraft needs to recover because of the fuel situation, that is what it will need to do. Flight decks can be wet, slippy, and pitching up and down.

Those of us who are not pilots should dwell a pause and wait for the outcome of inclement weather trials which will have to happen to prove the evolution works right up to the limit of the operational envelope. I have two friends who were FAA Phantom/Buccaneer pilots and who have expressed reservations [not loud “this won’t work” ones] about the difficulty of landing on using rolling landing/own aircraft brakes in bad weather.


If an F-35B is low on fuel, it will jettison its stores and do a vertical landing. Any rolling landing requires enough fuel for a “go around” or bolter. If there isn’t enough, VL will be it.


The technique was also used by GR3s during the Falklands War when landing with the wet film recce pod, under-wing tanks and sidewinders. This was a procedure developed by the RAF in Germany so that the aircraft could land with the pod on autobahns. When using the pod, the aircraft was very close to its all up weight, so they developed a rolling landing. It could only be done on Hermes because of her larger size and length of runway, there was not the space to do it on Invincible.
You have to remember that the GR3 did not have a sophisticated flight stab system and it was really the pilot flying by the seat of his pants controlling the aircraft, especially in the hover. The GR5/7/9’s had the benefit of a more powerful Pegagsus and by then modern flight stab so could bring back more load and still land using the hover and by that time the recce pod was a third of the size.


Interesting 🙂 Good to see weapons and fuel conserving innovations and techniques. Thats a positive mark for the F35 in my book, the F35 still has other issues for me but this is good for keeping waste down 🙂

Meirion X

The next innovation to be applied to the F-35b is rocket assisted takeoff(JATO), to allow the jet to take off with a heavy load, possibly to deploy a F-35A ordnance capacity.
Rockets jettison when airborne and feasibly be recaptured.

Meirion X

I very much think that when the F-35b takes off with the large Fan- lift cover open, the cover will act as an air-brake to slow a plane down. Because the drag from the open cover makes the plane not aerodynamic. This drag must counterbalance the upward lift from the fan. A plane’s wings give it lift. I wander if the fan can be disengage which will result in the turbine spinning faster, providing more rear thrust?


The lift fan is coupled to the engine via a clutch, shaft and gearbox. During normal forward flight the lift fan is decoupled from the engine via the clutch. This then provides less drag on the engine increasing its efficiency.

Sean N.

Interesting how everyone is making a big deal of the UK’s F-35B making a rolling landing on HMS Queen Elizabeth, but most people didn’t even notice when the US Navy was practicing V-22 rolling landings in early August on the USS George HW Bush.

Here is a YouTube of a few approaches:

It will be interesting to see how much, if at all, the US Navy will actually use this when they actually deploy as replacements for the C-2.
That said, I’m interested in how much pilot training will be required to bring F-35B SRVL into regular practice compared to a more traditional arrested landing. According to an acquaintance, training for STOVL landings is usually much quicker compared to arrested ones, but this looks like it will require further training. I know the F-35B brings a lot of automation, but how much more open to automating this type of landing the UK is willing to do compared to the US Navy has been willing to do thus far.


Shame no british marked aircraft for these tests