The hobby of planespotting isn’t for everyone but on a stormy day in the U.K. last week hundreds of thousands of Brits were glued to their screens watching the telephoto compressed bob and weave of airliners trying, and mostly succeeding, to get into Heathrow Airport. We’ve all seen the videos and many of them are from Jerry Dyer’s Big Jet TV YouTube channel. Whenever there’s rough weather at what is his neighborhood airport, Dyer sets up on the threshold of the arrivals runway and supplies spirited sports event-type commentary to his livestream of the sometimes-exciting kisses on the asphalt. But Storm Eunice, was a little different and, well, turned out to be the perfect storm for Dyer’s fans old and new.

Eunice packed hurricane-force winds of up to 122 MPH that caused billions in damage to buildings and infrastructure, removing the roofs from soccer stadiums and London’s O2 Arena. A weather emergency was declared and people were told to stay home, even as Heathrow stayed open and continued to recover airliners from all over the world. As Britons huddled inside, Dyer’s channel started trending on social media and a few hours into the storm viewership of the livestream hit more than 200,000. The third and finally successful attempt by a Qatar A380 was seen live on 230,000 devices. At the same time 53,000 people were tracking the flight on Flight Radar 24. The full livestream (almost eight hours of it) has been viewed 7.5 million times. The U.K. was hit a day later by the less intense but still lively Storm Franklin and Dyer’s coverage attracted 350,000 clicks.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.