F35B's first landing on QE Crown Copyright
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F-35B Lands Backwards On HMS Queen Elizabeth

The manoeuvre has been described as "like driving the wrong way down a one-way street".

F35B's first landing on QE Crown Copyright

F-35B aircraft landed on Britain's new aircraft carrier in September (Picture: MOD).

For the first time, an F-35B has landed backwards on HMS Queen Elizabeth.

RAF test pilot Squadron Leader Andy Edgell flew his specially-adapted stealth fighter facing the stern, not bow, before bringing the jet to a hover, slipping it over the huge flight deck and gently setting it down.

The manoeuvre has been described as "like driving the wrong way down a one-way street".

It is intended to give pilots and the flight deck crew more options to safely land the jets in an emergency.

HMS Queen Elizabeth is currently in the USA, having already completed the conventional landing and a rolling landing.

F-35 Performs Historic Rolling Landing Onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth

Once alongside the landing spot, however, the act of setting the F-35B down is almost identical – except for nudging the jet left, not right.

The ship is nearing the end of her nine weeks of intensive flight trials.

The second period will focus on pushing the boundaries of the F-35, the ship and the ship's company to see how the aircraft performs launching and landing in different weather conditions and carrying various payloads.

She's due home from her Westlant 18 deployment in mid-December.

Squadron Leader Andy Edgell described what it was like to conduct the 'back-to-front' manoeuvre:

"It was briefly bizarre to bear down on the ship and see the waves parting on the bow as you fly an approach aft facing."

He added: "It was also a unique opportunity to fly towards the ship, stare at the bridge, and wonder what the captain is thinking.”