London Daily

Focus on the big picture.

Royal Navy F-35 pilot tells of ejecting seconds before crash

Royal Navy F-35 pilot tells of ejecting seconds before crash

The pilot of a British fighter jet, which crashed off a Royal Navy aircraft carrier, has spoken of his relief at managing to eject from the £100m F-35.

Speaking shortly after the incident in November 2021, the pilot known as Hux said he only had seconds to react.

An official investigation concluded the sudden loss of power on take off was probably caused by a cover being left on one of the aircraft's jet intakes.

His story is included in a BBC series called The Warship: Tour of Duty.

The documentary also reveals how the Royal Navy's HMS Queen Elizabeth ship was harassed by Russian aircraft and how it played a risky game of hide-and-seek with the Chinese Navy.

The Royal Navy pilot spoke to the film-makers shortly after he was rescued and was still suffering from cuts and bruises caused by the high-speed ejection.

He describes how the jet suddenly lost acceleration: "I tried for emergency power - that didn't work, then I tried to slap on the brakes - that didn't work either… so I kind of knew it was going to roll off the ship."

Hux's life was saved by his ejector seat - which he describes as the most advanced in the world. That and extremely good luck.

As his parachute activated, he says he saw the sea beneath him "and then a second later I could see the flight deck of the ship starting to appear beneath me".

He just managed to make it on to the deck - by a few feet - before being pulled to safety. If he had not landed on the carrier, he risked being dragged under the 65,000-tonne warship.

Leaked video from the ship's on-board camera showed the moment the F-35 fell into the sea.

The ejection left Hux with minor injuries to his neck

An official investigation concluded that the sudden loss of power was probably caused by a blockage - a cover mistakenly left on a jet intake.

The aircraft - the most advanced stealth fighter in the world which is operated jointly in the UK by the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force - was later recovered from the sea bed to ensure it did not fall into the wrong hands.

Chris Terrill, who filmed the documentary, said the F-35 crash was "a shock to everyone", but said the response of the ship's company was "as immediate as it was extraordinary".

"An aircraft might have been lost but there was a pilot, a shipmate, who had to be saved," he said.

"Training kicked in but there was an extra energy and urgency to the sailors' execution of their emergency procedures. It was terrifying but inspiring to see."

The six-part series follows HMS Queen Elizabeth's eight-month, 49,000-nautical mile voyage to the Pacific Ocean and back last year.
A video released by Russia's defence ministry allegedly shows HMS Defender from a Russian aircraft


It shows how the carrier was harried by missile-armed Russian aircraft in the eastern Mediterranean. F-35 jets are seen intercepting them to stop them getting too close to the carrier.

The documentary describes it as one step down from real combat. In the operations room a warfare officer suggests putting the Russian aircraft in their sights for a "theoretical kill" to warn them away.

F-35s are also put on standby when another ship from the carrier strike group, HMS Defender, has an even closer encounter with the Russians while sailing in the Black Sea.

In the South China Sea, HMS Queen Elizabeth engages in a game of cat and mouse with the Chinese Navy.

A Royal Navy frigate and helicopters try to find a Chinese submarine before it is able to get close enough to take a photograph from its periscope.

It is the kind of image that could be used for propaganda purposes - showing how easy it would be to target a large ship. But the submarine is successfully located using sonar before it gets too close.

Warship also tells the story of life on board during one of the Royal Navy's longest deployments during the Covid pandemic, where at the height of the outbreak about 400 sailors - more than a quarter of the crew - were in isolation with either confirmed or suspected infections.

Newsletter

Related Articles

London Daily
0:00
0:00
Close
Woman Suing UK Intel Services Denies China Spy Allegations
Iran Sentences Nobel Laureate Narges Mohammadi to 1-Year Prison Term for Propaganda
News roundup
Good day, everyone! We've got some gripping stories for you today, spanning from the Middle East to Europe, and even a touch of Hollywood.
Britain’s Refugee Visa Rules Stranding Children in War Zones
UK Elections Predict ‘Electoral Extinction’ for PM Sunak’s Conservative Party
Italian Activist Ilaria Salis Returns Home After Election to European Parliament
Good morning!
England Faces Serbia in Euro Opener with Defensive Concerns
Dermatologist Warns Against Sunbed Usage
Fake Pro-Reform UK Social Accounts and Their Influence on Elections
UK Man Jailed for Non-Consensual Condom Removal
Reform UK Surpasses Conservatives in Historic Poll
US, Britain, Canada Accuse Russia of Interference in Moldova’s Election
Taylor Swift Fans Create Seismic Activity in Edinburgh
Sunak Aide Under Investigation for Election Bet
Labour Leader Starmer Focuses on Wealth Creation for Upcoming UK Elections
G7 to Use Frozen Russian Assets for $50 Billion Ukraine Aid
Anti-Israel Irish MEP Clare Daly LOST her seat in the EU Election
Johnson & Johnson Settles Talc Safety Claims for $700 Million
EU Urged to Welcome Skilled Russians to Weaken Putin
EU Elections Overview: Far-Right Gains and Major Political Shifts
Israel Rescues Four Hostages from Gaza
Emmanuel Macron Calls for Snap Election
Jordan Bardella: Young Far-Right Leader Poised for Future Political Influence in France
World's Oldest Privately Owned Book Auctioned for $3.8 Million
Animal Rights Activists Deface King Charles' Portrait in Protest
Dutch Military Intel Uncovers Extensive Chinese Cyber Espionage
Turkish Student Arrested for Using AI to Cheat in University Exam
Rise in Dengue and Other Mosquito-Borne Diseases in Europe Due to Climate Change
EU Elections Overview: Far-Right Gains and Major Political Shifts
Far-Right National Rally Dominates France's EU Vote
Macron Calls Snap Legislative Elections After Far-Right Victory
Far-Right Gains Significantly in EU Election
UK Job Market Shows Signs of Recovery
Orban’s Fidesz Party Wins Majority in Hungary’s EU Elections as New Challenger Emerges
Meloni's Far-Right Party Wins European Elections in Italy
Key Insights from the European Union Elections
European Union Elections and Rise of Far-Right Parties
England Loses Over 260,000 Social Rent Homes in a Decade
Campaigners Urge Government to Block Shein's FTSE Listing
First NHS AI-Run Physiotherapy Clinic Launches This Year
British TV Presenter Michael Mosley Found Dead on Greek Island
Ukrainian Forces Claims First Strike on Russia's Su-57 Fighter Jet
Macron Dissolves Parliament and Calls Snap Elections
Russia Adds Yulia Tymoshenko to Wanted List
UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron Tricked by Hoax Caller Posing as Former Ukrainian President
Kate Middleton's Absence from Colonel's Review Due to Chemotherapy
UK Foreign Secretary Deceived by Prank Video Call
Sunak Criticised Over D-Day Exit in BBC Debate
×