The ‘final flight’ of The Queen from Edinburgh to London has become the most tracked in Flightradar24’s history.
The Boeing C-17A Globemaster III, ZZ177, departed at 5:42pm on Tuesday as flight KRF01R and landed at RAF Northolt at 6:54pm
Flightradar24 revealed later the site crashed as more than 5 million people followed Her Majesty’s coffin on its sombre flight back to the UK’s capital.
Ian Petchenik, Flightradar24’s director of communications, spoke about the massive influx of users to the site.
“We expected a large influx of users, but this immediate, massive spike was beyond what we had anticipated,” he said. “Approximately 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.”
When arriving at the Royal Air Force’s Northolt base, the flight was met by a procession led by the new UK Prime Minister Liz Truss and Ben Wallace, the nation’s Defence Secretary.
The flight was also met by a full military honour guard, including pallbearers from the Queen’s Colour Squadron of the Royal Air Force to carry Her Majesty’s coffin to and from the aircraft.
The Boeing C-17A Globemaster III is a four-engine heavy transport aircraft that can accommodate huge payloads and land on runways just one kilometre long.
That flexibility comes from its design, which mixes both high-lift wings and controls requiring just three onboard (pilot, co-pilot and loadmaster).
Cargo is loaded onto the C-17 through a ramp system at the back, while its floor has rollers that flip from flat to handle wheeled vehicles or pallets.
RAAF owns eight, all operated by No. 36 Squadron and based at RAAF Base Amberley.
Her Majesty was known as a strong advocate of the RAAF. In March last year, she made only her third public appearance since the start of the COVID pandemic to honour the Air Force’s centenary.
The Queen attended a memorial service at the Air Forces Memorial in Runnymede to pay tribute to the 1,383 Australians who died fighting in Europe during World War II.
Defence Minister Richard Marles paid tribute to The Queen as “completely devoted” after it was announced she died in the early hours of Friday morning.
“For most of the population, we’ve only ever known the Elizabethan Age. There is a real sense that this is a very significant moment,” said Minister Marles.
“I felt shocked this morning as well. I woke to a text message from the Prime Minister alerting me of the news, but there is just an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the life that she‘s led, what she’s meant to so many people and the service she has given.
“It is hard to think of another human being who has so completely devoted themselves to others, to her country, to the commonwealth as the Queen.”
The Royal Australian Air Force was given its royal prefix in 1921 on the authorisation of King George V.