If, like me, you grew up in a household where your parents' idea of child-friendly entertainment was taking you to a pub at the end of an airport runway to "watch the planes," Friday's big viral internet moment will have been right up your street. Over 200,000 people tuned into the YouTube channel Big Jet TV on Friday morning to watch some of the world's biggest airplanes land at London Heathrow Airport during a storm.
Storm Eunice saw winds of up to 122mph cause damage across the UK and rip half the roof off London's iconic O2 arena. But in the southwest of the city, planes continued to land at the country's busiest airport.
The livestream on the YouTube channel, run by aviation enthusiast Jerry Dyer, went viral as planes including Airbus A380s attempted to land on Heathrow's runway while being buffeted by the high winds. Dyer narrated the high-stakes attempts with the prowess of a pro sports commentator, as horrified viewers watched planes try, and sometimes fail, to hit the runway. Many of the jets seemed to be fighting to stay on course on their approach into the airport, often appearing to come in sideways. And while there were multiple misses, some did touch down for a safe landing.
"Let's see what you're made of, son," said Dyer as a Qatar A380 made its third attempt to land. "Beers are on me if you bring her in." When the plane finally touched down, the internet breathed a sigh of relief. Airplanes are allowed three attempts to land at Heathrow, after which they must divert to another airport.
Dyer paid tribute to the bravery and professionalism of the pilots, saying, "you've gotta give these guys -- they've got big kahunas. Well, the ladies obviously not."