Ministry of Defence
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Leave the landing light on

The deck of the new Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers may be the size of four football pitches and supported by the best part of 65,000 tonnes of steel but, from three miles (5km) out, when viewed through the BAE Systems simulator at Warton, it's tiny and the target area for landing looks even smaller. Report by Steve Moore.

Add in your 150-knot (278km/h) speed, a keen wind, a rolling sea state, a touch of mist, a black night, and you can see why landing an aircraft on a ship is probably the most difficult task most pilots will ever face.

Welcome to the deck of one of the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers, due in service by the end of the decade. Well, not quite the real carrier, which is under construction at Rosyth. This is BAE Systems' simulator at Warton, the only one in the world where the F-35 aircraft meets the future pride of the 2020 Royal Navy.

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