This isn’t that significant for the United states, but the first ski-jump takeoffs for the F-35B were an important milestone for the British and Italians.
For those who wonder why anyone uses the ski jump, it allows planes to take off with heavier loads and to do it more efficiently than they would taking off from a flat deck.
Peter Wilson, a BAE Systems F-35 test pilot, flew the 19 June mission at Pax River: “The aircraft performed well and I can’t wait until we’re conducting F-35 ski jumps from the deck of the Queen Elizabeth carrier.”
Believe it or not, the press release about the test included some intriguing information about the F-35B. Turns out that the aircraft knows when it’s taking off from a ramp.
“For ski jump launches, the aircraft recognizes when it is on the ramp and responds by positioning the control surfaces and nozzles automatically for takeoff and climb,” said Gordon Stewart, flying qualities engineer with the British Ministry of Defense. “We’ll be using these results — along with those from future testing — to help us prepare for the first shipboard ski jump launch from HMS Queen Elizabeth.”