ZZ177 spells LIZZ: Everyone says same thing about number on C-17 plane that flew Queen to London
Praise is being heaped on the Royal Air Force for what is being taken as a fitting tribute to the late Queen.
Eagle-eyed observers spotted that the registration number of the RAF C-17 Globemaster – ZZ177 – which flew Her Majesty into London spelled LIZZ when viewed upside down.
The RAF aircraft carrying the Queen's coffin, accompanied by the Princess Royal, landed at RAF Northolt in London late on Tuesday evening after a flight from Edinburgh Airport – reportedly one of the most tracked flights in history, according to a global flight tracking service.
- Why the Queen's lead-lined coffin weighs same as about a dozen 55lb bergens
- Queen's lying in state: The military's role as hundreds of thousands of mourners expected
- Queen's family pay respects as coffin arrives at Buckingham Palace
One small, but poignant, detail stood out to countless people all over the world who were keeping track of the flight as they saw the footage and photographs of the aircraft which flooded the media – its registration number ZZ177.
Viewed upside down, the number appears to spell LIZZ.
In another emotive detail about the flight, the C-17A Globemaster was bearing the callsign 'Kittyhawk' – the official callsign for any military flight with the Queen on board – for the very last time.
Hundreds of people who noticed the significance of the aircraft's registration number flooded social media to applaud the RAF, with countless people asking if the aircraft assigned to the duty of flying Her Majesty into London was deliberately chosen for the LIZZ for Elizabeth reference or if the number was a well-matched coincidence.
Coincidence or not, the move earned accolades for the Royal Air Force, with many commenting on social media to say, "Well played RAF," "Nice touch," or that choosing that particular aircraft was a "sweet" gesture by the air force for the Queen's final flight.
The overwhelming sentiment was that the RAF had "done Her Majesty proud" in carrying out the flight with dignity and pride, with the finer detail of the registration number an added touch of respect.
The C-17 Globemaster ZZ177, which had previously been used extensively in humanitarian efforts such as evacuating thousands of people from Afghanistan and carrying supplies to Ukraine, took off from Edinburgh Airport with Princess Anne also on board and arrived in north-west London just before 19:00 on Tuesday.
Later that evening, the Princess Royal issued a statement, paying tribute to her late mother, saying: "It has been an honour and a privilege to accompany her on her final journeys."
The RAF says that the C-17 Globemaster, operated by 99 Squadron, is capable of rapid, strategic delivery of troops to operating bases anywhere in the world and that the aircraft's design enables high-angle, steep approaches at relatively slow speeds, allowing it to operate into small, austere airfields and onto runways as short as 3,500ft long and just 90ft wide.
Last year, 99 Squadron was heavily involved in Operation Pitting, evacuating more than 10,000 eligible personnel from Kabul on UK C-17s, including one flight with 436 passengers, the most passengers ever carried on an RAF aircraft in history.
So many people around the world were keeping track of the flight carrying the late Queen from Edinburgh to London that aviation site and global flight tracking service Flightradar24 reported that its site had crashed under the weight of online traffic.
The site posted on Twitter that more than six million people had logged on to try to follow the ZZ177 plane's flight, resulting in the site crashing for some users.
In a post on Twitter, the site reported: "In the minute after the transponder of C-17 ZZ177 activated, an unprecedented six million people attempted to follow the flight. This unfortunately impacted the stability of our platform."
Records on Flightradar24, which gives live updates of air traffic flights around the world, shows the C-17 has made a number of flights since 7 September from Kuwait City Airport to Chania International Airport in Greece, before flying to RAF Brize Norton and then to Edinburgh Airport on September 12, and then to RAF Northolt on September 13.
Members of the Armed Forces, Royal watchers, plane spotters and other members of the public all took a keen interest in Her Majesty's final flight back to London.
After the plane landed, the Princess Royal and her husband, naval officer Commander Timothy Laurence, alighted the aircraft to spend a short time with Chief of the Air Staff Sir Mike Wigston, while Prime Minister Liz Truss and Defence Secretary Ben Wallace were also present.
A guard of honour made up of service personnel from the Queen's Colour Squadron of the Royal Air Force presented arms when the coffin was carried from the plane.
The King's Colour for the Royal Air Force was lowered in salute before the hearse carrying the coffin then began its journey to Buckingham Palace.