In her life, Elizabeth II saw many changes – including in aviation. The Queen traveled in countless aircraft models during her 70 years as monarch.
When Elizabeth II took over the crown from her late father on February 6, 1952, jet-powered passenger aircraft did not yet exist. Only three months later did Boac British Overseas Airways Corporation become the first airline in the world to operate a jet – one De Havilland Comet DH106.
Since then, the Queen of the United Kingdom, who died on September 8, has witnessed numerous other groundbreaking innovations in aviation. One of the largest was the Franco-British prestige project Concorde, which made supersonic passenger flights possible for the first time. In 1969 the elegant aircraft completed its maiden flight. But Elizabeth II also experienced the maiden flight of the Boeing 747 or the Airbus A380.
The Queen also flew on Concorde
In her 70s, the Queen herself traveled in countless aircraft models. When she ascended the throne, The Queen’s Flight, the transport unit dedicated to the royal family, had a de Havilland Dominie and Vickers Viking in its fleet. This was subsequently expanded and, in addition to helicopters, de Havilland DH.114 Heron or the long-used Hawker Siddeley HS 780 Andover were fleet.
In addition, planes are often chartered from airlines for longer trips. This included Concorde. The Queen first boarded a British Airways supersonic jet to take her from London to Barbados on a state visit in 1977.
From BAE 146 to Dassault Falcons
Up until the 1980s, the Queen was mainly on the move with the Hawker Siddeley Andover – i.e. with propeller planes. As substitutes were Purchased three BAE 146 with VIP interior in 1986, one of which was sold again in 2002. They were operated by the 32nd Squadron, later merged into The Queen’s Flight.
A year ago, the British government decided to shut down the two VIP aircraft, registered ZE700 and ZE701. They were given away to aviation museums. It works as a substitute 32nd Squadron Dassault Falcon 900LX for the royal family. In addition, the Royals can fall back on three helicopters and the UK government aircraft, an Airbus A321 and an A330.
Royals also fly line
While the queen, or now the king, always travels on the planes provided for this purpose, the other members of the royal family sometimes take normal flights. In total, the Royals spent a million pounds on 179 air trips in the 2020/21 budget year.