LONDON – As the state funeral of HM Queen Elizabeth II concludes, let’s take a brief look at the royal fleet of aircraft during her reign as well as in the current day.
Elizabeth became the Queen on February 6, 1952, with her last day in power being the same day she passed away in Balmoral on September 8, over 10 days ago.
So without further ado, let’s see how the royal fleet of aircraft changed and developed over the course of her 70 years in power.
Starting With The Heron…
Four De Havilland Heron aircraft joined the Royal fleet in 1955, and remained in service for around nine years, offering the retirement timeline of 1964.
From ’64, the Royals had a fleet of three Hawker Siddeley Andovers, which remained in service for quite a long time, with the aircraft eventually being retired between 1986 and 1990.
Even before the retirement of the Andovers, six British Aerospace 125s and three British Aerospace 146s entered the Royal fleet between 1982 and 1983.
The 125s remained in service until 2015, with the 146s, retired earlier this year.
In 1998, one Sikorsky S-76C+ was acquired by the Royal Family and was kept in service until 2009. By 2014, an AgustaWestland AW109S was acquired but only remained in service until 2019.
The Current Royal Fleet…
As it stands, the Royals still have a couple of aircraft in the fleet, some of which have been used very recently during the passing of the Queen.
The Royals have two Sikorsky S-76C++’s, which were delivered in 2019, and are exclusively for the use of the Royal Family, being registered as G-XXEB and G-XXED.
They also own an AgustaWestland AW109SP, which was delivered in 2016, and is operated by the No. 32 Squadron in the Royal Air Force, offering the registration of GZ100.
More recently, the No. 32 Squadron took delivery of two Dassault Falcon 900LXs earlier this year under the registrations G-ZAHS and G-ZABH.
ZAHS and ZABH were instrumental in the transportation of the new King as well as close members of the Royal Family to Balmoral as the Queen’s health continued to deteriorate at that point.
Finally, they also operate an Airbus A330MRTT under the registration ZZ336, which is operated by the No. 10 Squadron of the Royal Air Force, which is used to transport members of the Royal Family as well as government ministers too.
It is key to note that there is also an Airbus A321neo under Titan Airways registered as G-GBNI, but this is solely for the transportation of government ministers. No member of the Royal Family has been onboard this aircraft as of yet.
It remains clear that in 70 years of rule, we have most definitely seen the development of the aviation industry in conjunction with the service of her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
With the State Funeral already concluded, and with the rest of the processions ongoing, it is a testament to the longevity of service that the Queen provided.
May she rest in peace, and God Save The King.