Squadron Leader Andy Edgell, one of Britain’s top airmen, is currently testing our 11 new F-35s in the United States ahead of their sea trials on the warship next year.
This proud RAF pilot is hoping to be the first to fly an F-35 fighter jet off HMS Queen Elizabeth, Britain’s brand new aircraft carrier.
“She’s marvellous. She has an incredible amount of thrust but it’s more than just brawn that makes her so fantastic to fly – it’s the brains behind her as well.”
“She’s a masterful piece of engineering and it makes her so effortless to fly. It’s impossible not to be exhilarated every time. She’s a beast when you want her to be and tame when you need her to be. She’s beautiful.”
“The launch of the F35s from the HMS Queen Elizabeth is a once in a generation historical event. To be the first to fly off the carrier, to have a front row seat, would be an absolute privilege. It wouldn’t just be about the pilot – there are hundreds of people who have been working tirelessly behind the scenes to make this happen and the honour will be theirs too.”
By the end of the year Britain will have 14 F-35 planes which after 2020 will conduct missions from the HMS Queen Elizabeth. They are designed for both air to ground combat – which may include bombing raids on ISIS – and air to air combat for taking out enemy planes in the sky.
At the moment 150 UK personnel including Edgell are in the US to make sure the jets which land vertically are ready for trials on the carrier next year.