A record-breaking six million people around the world tried to log onto the popular flight tracking website FlightRadar24 to follow the Royal Air Force C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft that was transporting Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin to London.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, FlightRadar24 said the stability of its platform was impacted as an unprecedented number of people all tried to access the site at once.
“Over the course of the flight 4.79 million people followed a portion of the flight, and we processed 76.2 million requests related to the flight,” the Swedish flight tracking website said on Twitter.
Within a minute of the C-17’s transponder being switched on, FlightRadar24 said six million people tried to live track the plane, forcing the airline to limit the number of visitors allowed to access the site at any one time.
The head of the RAF revealed earlier that the C-17, a 128,100kg long-range transport aircraft that was originally designed for the U.S. Air Force, would be used to transport the coffin carrying Queen Elizabeth from Scotland to London where her body will lie in rest in Westminster Hall.
The flight departed Edinburgh Airport at 5:42 pm on Tuesday evening and landed in RAF Northolt just over an hour later at 6:54 pm. From there, Her Majesty’s coffin was transported by road to Buckingham Palace where it will remain overnight before being taken the short distance to Westminster Hall.
It was originally hoped that the coffin could be transported from Scotland to London by train, but safety officials scotched the plans over fears that well-wishers could risk their lives to catch a glimpse of the train.
A U.S. military aircraft that flew House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan in August was the previous holder of FlightRadar’s most tracked flight with a total of 2.92 million people following at least a portion of the flight.
FlightRadar24 uses aircraft ADS-B broadcast signals sent to ground-based receivers, as well as satellite data and several other sources to track thousands of flights live around the world every day.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.