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STOVL

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Short Take Off and Vertical Landing.

A short take off is what a Harrier does when it carries out a short rolling take off with its nozzles in an intermediate position (neither straight down (hover) or fully back (normal flight)). Often used to take off from a carrier, especially those fitted with a Ski Jump. Employing such a take off extends the range of this finest example of British ingenuity, rather than wasting fuel by taking off vertically with a full fuel and weapon load.

Due to the lack of space on small carriers for a proper landing area, the Harrier and (if they ever get it working correctly) Joint Strike Fighter land by sidling up to the carrier in hover mode and land like a helicopter, i.e. a vertical landing. As the old saying goes “it’s easier to stop and land, than land and stop”.