Skip to content

The HMS Queen Elizabeth afloat

25 July 2017

The United Kingdom’s newest aircraft carrier is the HMS Queen Elizabeth and, pursuant to the Royal Navy’s aircraft carrier design history, innovative—after all, it was the Royal Navy which invented the aircraft carrier. The most obvious innovation is her two island structures—the forward island controls ship operations and the aft island controls flight operations. Much of the ship’s aircraft arming is mechanized to increase sortie rates [But, can aircraft maintenance keep up?] and, in theory, can be crewed by as few as twelve. A pair of Rolls Royce Trent gas turbines deliver the ship’s primary power of nearly 100,000 hp allowing for the design maximum speed of more than 26 knots.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth—© Crown Copyright image by Cpl Paul Oldfield RAF

The HMS Queen Elizabeth is the largest warship built in the UK, displacing over 70,000 tons. She is sans catapults, instead using a ski ramp which has the Queen Elizabeth married to the Lockheed F-35B Lightning II to not become a helicopter carrier. It is the F-35B Lightning II (which has V/STOL abilities) which gives her fangs and it is the helicopters, with V-22 Ospreys, which gives her claws. Unlike other navies, the Royal Navy uses helicopter borne airborne early warning systems—in present case the AugustaWestland Merlin Crowsnest. The Boeing Vertol Chinook, Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey, Boeing Apache, the AugustaWestland HM2 Wildcat and AugustaWestland HC4 Merlin round out the vertical flight compliment—for as many as 70 aircraft all up.

The HMS Queen Elizabeth laying at anchor (note the ski jump and forward island controlling ship operations)—Rolls Royce image

The Royal Navy’s largest ever warship HMS Queen Elizabeth is gently floated out of her dock for the first time in Rosyth, Scotland in July 2014. In an operation that started earlier that week, the dry dock in Rosyth near Edinburgh was flooded for the first time to allow the 65,000 tonne aircraft carrier to float. It then took only three hours this morning to carefully manoeuvre HMS Queen Elizabeth out of the dock with just two metres clearance at either side and then berth her alongside a nearby jetty. Teams will now continue to outfit the ship and steadily bring her systems to life in preparation for sea trials in 2016. The dock she vacates will be used for final assembly of her sister ship, HMS Prince of Wales, which will begin in September 2014—© Crown Copyright 2014 image HMS Gannet

A computer generated image (CGI) of one of the two new Royal Navy aircraft carriers soon to be in service, passing Round Tower and out of the Naval Dockyard at Portsmouth, Hampshire. Marking the start of the manufacture of the Royal Navy’s largest ever warships. Together with the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft and the brand new Type 45 destroyers, they will form the cornerstone of Britain’s future ability to jointly project air power worldwide from land or sea at a time and place of UK’s choosing—© Crown Copyright image by BVT Surface Fleet

The HMS Queen Elizabeth under tow for trials—Rolls Royce image

The HMS Queen Elizabeth under tow for trials—Rolls Royce image


Book Review: “Carrier Pilot”

17 July 2017

Review of an excellent WW II carrier fighter pilot’s expriences. An unusual and insightful book.

Pickled Wings

Carrier Pilot
By: Norman Hanson
Patrick Stephens Ltd. (1979)
Silvertail Books (2016)

This book is considered by many notable authors and critics to be one of the best pilots’ memoirs of the Second World War.

The author, Norman Hanson, served in the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm (FAA) as a pilot of Vought Corsair fighters in the Pacific Theatre of Operations and this book follows him from recuitment into the service to commanding officer of a fighter squadron.

He gives very good insights into the various aircraft he flew from the basic trainers he experienced in America to the Fairey Fulmar that he trained and qualified for carrier operations in. Ultimately, the Corsair fighter itself gets the spotlight and it’s a very enlightnening look at real life operations with the legendary carrier borne fighter in both shipboard and land based operations.

The book balances levity and poignancy particularly well. Efforts…

View original post 134 more words

Aces Flying High’s Swiss Air Force Centre Review

15 July 2017

In the 1950’s the Swiss worked on the development of two domestically designed and produced jet combat aircraft for the Swiss Air Force, the EFW N-20 Aiguillon (Sting) fighter and the FFA P-16 ground attack fighter. Both projects only reached the prototype stage and ultimately both were cancelled. Luckily examples of both aircraft survive today and are on display in […]

via Swiss Air Force Centre: Home Grown Jet Fighter Prototypes — Aces Flying High

A Museum in Need of Some Help — Pickled Wings

9 July 2017

This post is most specifically aimed at my readership in the United Kingdom. However, if you’re from points further afield you may still be able to help. I’ve just become aware that on June 25, 2017, vandals broke into the East Midlands Aeropark and did damage to the museum shop and hangar. While I have […]

via A Museum in Need of Some Help — Pickled Wings

Happy Fourth!

4 July 2017


Fireworks—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft image

Fireworks—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft image




Apollo 17 landing site at Taurus-Littrow on the Moon: Geologist/Astronaut Harrison Schmitt (Lunar Module pilot)—NASA image


Spirits in Aviation—a fast study in aviation libation

28 June 2017

Aviation American Gin—what better than a gin that is named after aviation?

The Aviation cocktail circa 1916

China Clipper Cocktail

Note: this cocktail was invented to reflect the international territory and routes that Pan American Airways were serving with their Flying Clippers made by Martin, Sikorsky and Boeing in the 1930s and 1940s.

  • 1½ oz yellow gin (Citadelle Reserve but can substitute Seagram’s Extra Dry)
  • ½ oz dry Vermouth
  • 1 dash grapefruit juice
  • 2 dashes orange bitters
  • shake with ice and strain, add Chinese golden lime (i.e., calamondin, which is orange or yellow when ripe) for garnish or one can substitute kumquat or lime, preferably a Key lime.

Note: yellow gin is clear gin that has been aged, just a short time, in oak barrels

Irish Coffee

This drink was concocted in the Foynes terminal one night in the Winter of 1943 to keep Pan Am flying clipper passengers warm. The complete story is here and the Foynes Flying Boat Museum with their Boeing 314 Flying Clipper replica should be seen, and an Irish Coffee enjoyed in their Brendan O’Regan Restaurant.

  • 4 oz black coffee
  • 2 oz whiskey
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1–2 oz lightly whipped cream

Heat and mix the above taking care to not let the solution come to a boil

Then gently pour lightly whipped thick cream over the back of a spoon which hovers just above the drink to make a thin floating layer—mixing is to be stridently avoided!

The drink is sipped through the cream much like a machiatto 🙂

To see a beautiful set of instructions go to this page at the Foynes Flying Boat Museum


In a pinch—since there may be difficulty for most of us in obtaining either yellow gin or Crème de Violette, or in the event one wishes to not have sweet flavor in their cocktail—why not use Magellan Gin? It has a delicate pale sky blue hue (Crème de Violette is used in part for the violet tint which it imparts) which develops from the iris plant used in the making of the gin.

  • Pacific Blue Martini—2 oz Magellan Gin, a splash of dry Vermouth and lemon peel for garnish
  • Gin & Tonic (G and T, or G ‘n T)—using Magellan Gin and mixing to taste with the use a slice of lime if you like

Spit images

26 June 2017


Supermarine Spitfire—Crown Copyrighted image

Supermarine Spitfire cutaway drawing—Crown Copyrighted image

Supermarine Spitfire—Crown Copyrighted image

Supermarine Spitfire—Crown Copyrighted image

Supermarine Spitfire Mk 19—Crown Copyrighted image