An F-35 flight simulator from BAE Systems is ready for use by pilots in preparation for flight trials on Britain’s new Queen Elizabeth-Class aircraft carrier.
BAE Systems said the refurbished simulator 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.
The simulator, operating at a special-built facility, provides a 360-degree immersive experience for pilots to fly the jet to and from the UK carrier in a range of difficult sea and weather conditions.
Maneuvers practiced include ski jump short take-offs and vertical landings that use both the vertical thrust from the jet engine and aerodynamic lift from the wings.
British and U.S. military test pilots who have experience of flying F-35s from U.S. Navy carriers will train with the system in advance of the British carrier becoming available next year.
“The immersive experience is as near to the real thing as possible,” Peter ‘Wizzer’ Wilson, BAE Systems’ test pilot for the short take-off and vertical landing variant on the F-35 program, said in a press release. “The data will show us exactly what will happen when F-35 pilots fly to and from the Queen Elizabeth carriers.
“The trials we can run through the simulator are far more extensive than what we will do in the actual flight trials because we can run and re-run each trial until we have all the data we need. The simulator provides greater cost efficiency for the overall program and is extremely important to the success of the first flight trials.”
The previous version of the simulator was built in the 1980s for the Harrier jump-jet and the Hawk advanced jet trainer, and was later converted for the F-35.
Filed Under: Aerospace + defense