A Merlin helicopter from Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose has been training with HMS Queen Elizabeth in Portsmouth Naval Base as part of her Rotary Wing Trials.
The Anti-Submarine helicopter of 820 Naval Air Squadron has been putting Flight Deck crews through a series of mandatory aviation drills and procedures that are part of the Aircraft Carrier’s flying trials.
“The Merlins of 820 NAS are old friends of ours,” said Lieutenant Commander Jim Cobbett, ‘Lt Cdr Flying’ onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth.
“The Squadron was the first rotary Unit to embark with us up in Scotland when we came out of build. These Sea Acceptance Trials (Air) or ‘SAT (Air)’ has proved the ship’s aircraft services are ready for action with a live helicopter and that everything functions correctly.”
“Completing ‘SAT (Air)’ is crucial to getting the Ship ready to operate the whole spectrum of aircraft that we will be working with in the future
Lt Cdr Cobbett
During the two days embarked package the Merlin was used to verify many of the flight deck and hangar facilities by connecting up to the ship’s onboard electrical supply cables and refueling hoses, as well as test the important ‘Telebrief’ system which will enable Flying Control – ‘FLYCO’ – to communicate with each aircraft whilst on deck.
It also gave the firefighting and rescue crews a chance to practice emergency drills and skills necessary to operating safely at sea, when time is of the essence on a busy carrier deck.
“Completing ‘SAT (Air)’ is crucial to getting the Ship ready to operate the whole spectrum of aircraft that we will be working with in the future,” continued Lt Cdr Cobbett.
“Introducing the Ship to aviation and aviation to the Ship is all part of the learning structure we are going through.
"We are taking it slowly at first before we embark whole squadrons of rotary and fixed wing aircraft.”
HMS Queen Elizabeth will sail from her home port for rotary wing trial at sea in the coming weeks, where she will undergo deck trials with Royal Navy Merlin helicopters.
Later this year fixed wing trials will begin with the F35B in the summer.