RNAS Culdrose mark 100 years of deck landings

To mark the centenary of the first aircraft landing on a moving ship at sea, a Merlin helicopter from RNAS Culdrose has landed on the flight deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth.

RNAS Culdrose pilots Lt Greg Weal and Lt Nick Allen flew the 14-tonne helicopter onto the carrier’s four-acre flight deck.

Lt Allen said: “Ultimately this is the same as any other landing, but it is nice to have in the back of your mind the history of today. In those days, not having done it before, landing an aircraft on a ship was dangerous. Now we do it all the time.”

The flight was one of several acts of commemoration to mark Squadron Commander Edwin Dunning’s landing on the flight deck of HMS Furious at Scapa Flow in 1917.

Lieutenant Commander Barry Issitt, Commanding Officer of 736 Naval Air Squadron, said: “The event itself was of particular significance to the Royal Navy and Fleet Air Arm as it marked the first successful landing of a fixed-wing aircraft on a ship underway at sea, a moment that would be the genesis for the establishment of the pre-eminence of aircraft carriers.”

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