Big Jet TV: The day the British public became planespotters

All it took was a severe storm for regular Brits join the nation’s AVgeeks in obsessing over landings at Heathrow

Lucy Thackray
Friday 18 February 2022 17:36 GMT
Qatar Airways A380 makes three landing attempts at Heathrow

As well as sending wheelie bins flying and cancelling a huge portion of the country’s trains, Storm Eunice has kickstarted a new social media trend: respect for pilots’ skills.

Thousands of “civilians” joined the usual pack of AVgeeks in watching planes wobble and sway as they attempted to land on the tarmac at Heathrow amid high winds, thanks to everyone’s favourite new channel: Big Jet TV.

On it, host Jerry Dyer provides colourful commentary, often shouting “Bosh!” as an aircraft’s wheels meet the runway. Today, he and his community of commenters were full of praise and admiration for the pilots behind the controls of huge jets touching down amid winds of up to 90mph.

“Are the New York Times going to buy Big Jet TV before the end of the day?” quipped journalist Jamie East.

Much like the World Cup or Eurovision, “watching planes land” ended up being a curiously compelling British pastime - albeit with stakes ramped up by the gale-force winds.

Earlier today, the pilot of Qatar flight QTR003 became an unlikely celebrity after attempting a total of three landings into Heathrow.

Twitter held its breath as the huge A380 performed two go-arounds (where a plane effectively takes off again when seconds from landing, before circling around for another attempt) - and exploded with appreciative memes and gifs when the plane finally reached the ground safely.

Virgin flight VS166 into Heathrow (FlightRadar24)

“Did not expect to be gassed at the landing of a Qatar Airways A380 today but we move,” wrote Twitter user Niran.

“Bosh! She did it! Qatar Airways A380, we never doubted you,” added Jon Hyde, while Johnny Farrow tweeted, “I’m more emotionally invested in this Qatar Airways A380 on Big Jet TV finally landing than pretty much anything else in my life right now.”

Others shared route maps and playbacks of aircraft landings into gusty London, marvelling at how many were forced to make go-arounds or re-route entirely.

A British Airways flight from Hyderabad also attracted plenty of attention, while Virgin flight VS166 from Montego Bay garnered online applause for its two looping landing attempts over the course of an hour, with the plane eventually touching down at 13.32.

“The go-arounds at #LHR are looking pretty funky today thanks to the storm. Fingers crossed for this Virgin Atlantic flight from Montego Bay,” tweeted @KaiPMVH.

By the time Big Jet TV’s live stream came in to land around 5pm, many were still hooked, with viewers above 110,000.

“Me and 131,137 other people are watching a live feed of planes trying to land at Heathrow,” tweeted author Rebecca Reid. “I’m so proud to be British.”

“It’s all a little bit overwhelming today folks, but it’s great that we can all be part of it - that’s what it’s all about,” said Jerry, before shouting “Phwoar, fair play, swung that one!” at a BA aircraft coming in to land.

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