How Big Jet TV won the internet
As millions of people hunkered down at home on Friday during one of the worst storms to hit the U.K. in decades, aviation enthusiast Jerry Dyer jumped in his van and drove to London’s Heathrow Airport to livestream passenger jets coming in to land in the challenging conditions.
Within a few hours of Dyer launching his Big Jet TV livestream from the top of his vehicle at the end of Heathrow’s runway 27L, social media started to take notice, with shares and retweets pushing his audience to as high as 200,000 viewers during the eight-hour livestream
Folks were drawn not only by the incredible efforts of the highly skilled pilots working to get their aircraft safely on the ground, but also by Dyer’s colorful, down-to-earth commentary as planes roared overhead on their turbulent approach to the runway.
Being one of the busiest airports in the world, jets were coming in every few minutes, with the flying machines dropping and swaying as the stormy conditions tested the pilots’ talents to the limit.
As the livestream went viral, Dyer’s camera skills were also tested as he continued to broadcast the landings while simultaneously fielding a growing number of requests from media outlets interested in his livestream, and shooing away curious horses who were trying to eat his van — all of this while Dyer himself fought valiantly to avoid being blown off the top of his vehicle by the intermittent gusts.
Here’s another plane controlled by a “pilot with finesse,” as Dyer puts it.
With his camera trained on an incoming passenger plane, Dyer told his growing global audience, “You don’t know whether this is a rookie pilot, it could be his or her first serious attempt at landing in real conditions … I mean simulator training is a really good thing but … there’s just nothing like [landing in a real storm], you feel the whole aircraft sway.”
The Big Jet TV founder, whose father was a commercial jet pilot, also captured several landings performed by the Airbus A380, a double-decker aircraft that also happens to be the largest passenger plane in the world. Here’s a Qatar Airways A380 approaching for the third time following two aborted landings during Friday’s storm …
With the blustery conditions so unpredictable, some pilots had no choice but to abort the landing at the last moment …
At one point British actor Ralf Little tweeted that he was about to make “an unplanned appearance on Big Jet TV” as his plane departed Edinburgh, bound for Heathrow …
The internet of course did what the internet does, with creative folks wasting little time in getting involved …
— Tom Leak (@Tom_Leak) February 18, 2022
— John Fox (@foxymm21) February 18, 2022
While some on social media expressed unease with Dyer’s jovial attitude as the planes rocked and rolled their way toward the runway, his upbeat manner was more of a reflection of his confidence in the impressive piloting skills rather than any disregard for the feelings of the passengers. Indeed, he often expressed sympathy for those on board who were perhaps wishing they’d stayed at home that day.
Highlighting the pilots’ brilliant work, this cockpit video shows an aircraft coming in to land at Heathrow during the storm, with Dyer’s video of the very same flight added to the clip …
Amazing – here’s my friend Captain Khalifa Al Thani landing his Boeing 777 🇶🇦✈️ in #StormEunice 💨 at a windy London Heathrow Airport today…a side-by-side video with BigJet TV’s 🚨 now famous commentary 😆👇🏽 pic.twitter.com/lVGJzsBo8m
— Alex Macheras (@AlexInAir) February 18, 2022
Dyer, who usually works in much calmer weather conditions, launched his Big Jet TV channel in 2016 and travels to airports around the world to livestream content for his growing base of subscribers. In just a couple of days, Friday’s video has now clocked up an astonishing 7.5 million views.