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From Vickers Viking to Airbus A330: The Queen and Her Planes

From Vickers Viking to Airbus A330: The Queen and Her Planes

In her life, Elizabeth II experienced many changes – including in the field of aviation. The Queen has flown in countless models of aircraft during her 70 years as Queen.

When Elizabeth II received the crown from her late father on February 6, 1952, jet-powered passenger planes did not yet exist. Just three months later, Boac British Overseas Airways Corporation became the first airline in the world to operate an aircraft – one Comet de Havilland DH106.

Since then, the Queen of the United Kingdom, who died on September 8, has seen many other groundbreaking innovations in aviation. One of the largest of these was the Franco-British Concorde project, which made supersonic passenger flights possible for the first time. In 1969 the elegant aircraft completed its maiden flight. But Elizabeth II also witnessed the first flight of a Boeing 747 or Airbus A380.

The Queen also flew a Concorde

In her seventies, the Queen herself has flown in countless model aircraft. When she ascended the throne, The Queen’s Flight, the royal family’s dedicated transport unit, included de Havilland Domini and Vikings Vikings. This was later expanded, and in addition to helicopters, the long-used De Havilland DH.114 Heron or Hawker Siddeley HS 780 Andover was a fleet.

In addition, aircraft are often rented from airlines for long-haul flights. This included Concorde. The Queen first boarded a British Airways supersonic flight from London to Barbados for a state visit in 1977. It was Concorde’s first and only visit to the island in the Lesser Antilles.

From BAE 146 to Dassault Falcons

Until the 1980s, the Queen flew mainly with Hawker Siddeley Andover – that is, by helicopter. as alternatives were Three BAE 146 aircraft with VIP interiors were purchased in 1986one of which was sold again in 2002. It was operated by the 32nd Squadron, and later incorporated into the Queen’s Flight.

A year ago, the British government decided to close the two VIP registered aircraft ZE700 and ZE701. They were handed over to aviation museums. It works as a substitute 32 Squadron Dassault Falcon 900LX for the royal family. In addition, members of the royal family can retreat from three helicopters and British government aircraft, Airbus A321 and A330.

Members of the royal family are also moving to the line

While the Queen, or now the King, always travels on the aircraft provided for this purpose, other members of the royal family sometimes make regular flights. In total, members of the royal family spent £1m on 179 flights in the 2020/21 budget year.