Queen Elizabeth II: Flight carrying coffin to London most tracked plane in history

Published on Sep 14, 2022 07:26 PM IST

The Queen's coffin was flown on a RAF Globemaster C-17 on Tuesday evening, after lying in state at St Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh.

The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II is taken away in the Royal Hearse from the Royal Air Force Northolt airbase to travel to Buckingham Palace.(AFP)
The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II is taken away in the Royal Hearse from the Royal Air Force Northolt airbase to travel to Buckingham Palace.(AFP)
PTI |

Nearly six million people tried to follow a British Royal Air Force transport aircraft taking Queen Elizabeth II's coffin from Edinburgh in Scotland to London, making it the most tracked flight in history, website Flightradar24 said on Wednesday.

The Queen's coffin was flown on a RAF Globemaster C-17 on Tuesday evening, after lying in state at St Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh.

The previous record was when a US military aircraft carrying US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan last month was followed by 2.2 million people on Flightradar24.

On Tuesday, nearly six million people tried to follow the British military plane's route from Edinburgh to RAF Northolt within its first minute in the air, the website said.

The huge traffic caused disruptions to the site, where users can track the path of planes in the air.

More than 4.79 million people watched on its site and app and 296,000 were watching on a YouTube stream, the BBC reported.

The flight used the callsign "Kittyhawk", used for any military flight with the Queen on board.

The C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft was earlier used to take humanitarian aid and weapons to Ukraine following Russia's invasion.

Prime Minister Liz Truss and Defence Secretary Ben Wallace were among those waiting at RAF Northolt for the flight carrying the coffin of the late monarch.

Queen Elizabeth II died aged 96 at her Balmoral Castle summer residence in Scotland on September 8.

Flightradar24 said it had taken steps to make its platform as stable as possible before the plane took off.

The 82-year-old US politician's visit to Taiwan took place on August 2 amid the uncertainty about whether Pelosi would follow through on her pledge to visit the self-ruled island, which China says is a rebel province that should be reunified with the mainland, even by force.

The flight to Taiwan taken by Pelosi, the US House of Representatives Speaker, in August attracted interest as she was the highest-ranking American official in 25 years to visit Taiwan.

Pelosi flew aboard a Boeing C-40C jet (a military version of the Boeing 737 jetliner) operated by the US Air Force. The flight flew under the call sign “SPAR19.”

Explaining how Tuesday's figures had dwarfed that traffic, Flightradar24 said: "Based on our experience last month, we expected a large influx of users, but this immediate, massive spike was beyond what we had anticipated."

It said about 600,000 users were able to "successfully follow the flight before performance degraded".

"Even though our platform suffered under such heavy load, Queen Elizabeth II's final flight from Edinburgh to RAF Northolt is by far the all-time most tracked flight on Flightradar24 and will likely remain at the top for a long while," it said.

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