For the first time ever a giant RAF Chinook helicopter has been stowed in the hangar of British Aircraft Carrier – joining several Royal Navy Merlin helicopters on board HMS Queen Elizabeth.
So large are the lifts and hangar spaces on the new Portsmouth-based warship that there’s no need even to fold the rotors.
The ZH902 – a special trials variant of the Chinook – was joined by a second helicopter, and two Merlins, all from the Aircraft Test and Evaluation Centre (ATEC) at MOD Boscombe Down, and a couple of Merlin Mk2s from 820 Naval Air Squadron.
All six helicopters are onboard Queen Elizabeth for trials, finding out what the operating parameters are of the airframes flying from the carrier at sea.
They were transferred to the hangar in advance of rough weather as the 65,000-tonne warship – the largest vessel ever built for the Royal Navy – made her way towards Gibraltar, keeping the helicopters out of harm’s way of the elements.