RAF and Royal Navy pilots are training for action using a new state of the art £2 million simulator facility from BAE Systems. The 360-degree experience will test a pilot’s skills without them actually being in a real cockpit; providing a safe, effective and relatively low-cost training method. The simulation’s main purpose is to get F-35 Lightning II pilots used to landing on the Royal Navy’s two Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers, that are due to enter service in the near future.
Simulators aren’t a new training method and the first generation were introduced in the 1980s to train harrier jump jet pilots. Like those that came before it, the simulator is a physical cockpit placed on a moveable platform. The pilot’s will be exposed to different weather conditions as they try to succesfully land their craft on the carrier’s deck. There will also be a mock flying control tower that will be manned by a landing signal officer to add to the authenticity. As well as standard landing and take-off manoeuvres, F-35 pilots will also attempt ski jump short take offs as well as vertical landings. The data from the simulation will be used before the first real flight trials get underway on the Queen Elizabeth, which is due to come into service in the near future.
Images credit: BAE Systems
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