A flight engineering simulator created by BAE Systems is ready to be “flown” by F-35 Lightning II fighter jets pilots for the first time as they prepare for flight trials on the United Kingdom’s new Queen Elizabeth-Class aircraft carrier next year.
The refurbished simulator will test pilots’ skills to the limits as they practise landing on the deck of the new aircraft carrier in a range of difficult sea and weather conditions provided by the simulator.
The bespoke £2 million simulator facility offers a 360-degree immersive experience for pilots to fly the jet to and from the British aircraft carrier. It comprises a cockpit moved by an electronic motion platform and a full representation of the ship’s flying control tower, where a Landing Signal Officer on board the carrier will control aviation operations.
Over the coming months the simulator will be used by United Kingdom and US military test pilots who have experience of flying F-35 Lightning II jet on US aircraft carriers. The pilots will practice thousands of ski jump short take-offs and vertical landings that use both the vertical thrust from the jet engine and aerodynamic lift from the wings, allowing the aircraft to take-off and land on the carrier with increased weapon and fuel loads compared to predecessor aircraft.
The F-35 Lightning II programme will deliver three variants of the aircraft, the Conventional Take Off and Landing (CTOL), the Carrier Variant (CV) and the Short Take Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL).