Skies Cleared Out Over Windsor Castle, London Heathrow Arrivals Halted for Royal Wedding

May 19, 2018

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The world had its eyes on Windsor Castle Saturday morning for the wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Among the wedding gifts the couple received: silence from air traffic. For 22 minutes, the skies over Windsor Castle were emptied out for the royal wedding.

It’s not uncommon for air traffic controllers to clear out the skies around high-profile events. And, Windsor Castle happens to be directly in the approach path for one of the busiest airports in the world — located just five miles away. When winds lead air traffic controllers to use London Heathrow’s (LHR) runways 9L/9R, Windsor residents are used to hearing jets pass just 2,000 feet overhead about once a minute.

On either side of the 22 minutes of halted air traffic, jets streamed over Windsor on final approach into London Heathrow’s runway 9L:

The last flight to fly over Windsor Castle before the ceremony was British Airways flight 154, a Boeing 787-9 arriving after a 4.5 hour flight form Cairo (CAI). The flight passed just south of the castle at 11:38am local time (6:38am Eastern Time).

The next flight wouldn’t pass overhead until just after noon local time, when American Airlines flight 98 arrived on a red-eye from Chicago’s O’Hare (ORD). The Boeing 787-8 passed just south of the castle at around 1,900 feet of altitude.

But, in between, there was blissful peace. No planes could be found for miles around:

During this 22 minutes, keen ears might have heard some engine jet roars. London Heathrow still allowed departures from runway 9R, including two British Airways Boeing 747s and one Singapore Airlines Airbus A380.

British Airways flight 93 — crewed by a staff of Megans and Harrys — wouldn’t take off for another hour. The LHR British Airways first class lounge was likely full of passengers named Megan, Meghan and Harry during the air traffic silence.

H/T: Reuters

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