The Queen has arrived, wearing gray and toting a ski jump.
The British aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth slipped into Naval Station Norfolk on Monday.
Sporting her distinctive twin islands on the flight deck, “Big Lizzie” arrived a bit late but had a good excuse — the flattop was dodging Hurricane Florence.
Like the famous World War I super-dreadnought that also bore the name of Queen Elizabeth I, this carrier is not only the first in her class but boasts being the biggest and newest ship in the British fleet.
She’ll soon be joined by a second carrier, however. The Prince of Wales is being outfitted to enter service in 2020.
Norfolk is the Queen Elizabeth’s second stop on a tour the Royal Navy has termed “WestLant 18."
It’s supposed to end in December and includes a stop in New York. The carrier already popped into Naval Station Mayport.
While in Norfolk, the Queen Elizabeth will conduct her first fixed-wing aircraft flight operations, using the F-35B joint strike fighter.
The Save the Royal Navy website dished that the carrier must perform 500 “test points” to be “checked off” to certify the warship for fixed-wing flight operations.
The upcoming trials will include the first F-35 launches from a ski ramp while at sea.
Mark D. Faram is a former reporter for Navy Times. He was a senior writer covering personnel, cultural and historical issues. A nine-year active duty Navy veteran, Faram served from 1978 to 1987 as a Navy Diver and photographer.