Airliners Live Newsletter | February 2024

Airliners Live Newsletter | February 2024


Mrs Airliners Live

Hey everyone

Just a very quick hello from me to welcome you to February's newsletter.  Another jam packed edition!  Most notably reflecting on the amazing success of reaching one million subscribers on YouTube.  I honestly couldn't be prouder.  A massive well done to the whole Airliners Live Team and a huge thanks to you, our amazing community.  

It's also TAS Fair month, a busy one for the team but we all look forward to meeting you all in person! It's always a really great event and alongside our tables, there are plenty of excellent exhibitors to get your fix of aviation memorabilia. 

Hope you are all keeping well, take care and see you soon.

Jen x 

One Million YouTube Subscribers


11th January will certainly be a date to remember. As our little channel, started on southside with a laptop and a tent, passed 1 Million subscribers. It was fantastic to spend the day with Andy and Matt, to bring in the final countdown together. Along with the community and wider team in the chat.

The moment we hit one million YouTube subscribers

It's such a strange thing to imagine. 1 Million people liking your content enough to click subscribe. When we started the channel over five years ago, honestly, it was just to give us an excuse to go to the airport more often together. We had spent a lot of time watching streams ourselves and thought it's something that would be fun to try.

We had a few key ideas from the very beginning and that was to build a fun community and to have a more relaxed feel to the shows. The shows had to feel like a friendly chat with friends, with the channel not taking itself too seriously, and those values carry through to today.

The channel has changed a lot in it history, with its fair share of "homes."

We started on, then moved to Facebook and now YouTube of course. This is mainly down to the huge shift towards live content on social media. Back when we started, YouTube live streaming wasn't really popular and it lacked all of the great features we have today. During the channels short history we have seen a huge leap forward in both live streaming popularity but also the prices of equipment has reduced massively.

As we have discussed on the channel, we have also come close at times to calling it a day, due to tech issues and lack of funds to fix them. But key decisions along the way have brought us to where we are today. We are thankful that they did!

We have always been extremely lucky on the channel to be backed by an amazing mod team. They are the backbone to any great community as they uphold the channels values, keep things friendly and most importantly, allow conversations to flourish.

One thing is key, over moderation can kill the feel of a community channel instantly and I think our team has got that balance just right. Our mod team are always on hand for shows, even with our ever expanding schedule and they give us plenty of advice to keep the channel moving in the right direction.

We hand pick our moderators from our community so I think this certainly helps in building a team that really values the community. 

Our team has also changed. It started with Charlie and I doing our best to build the community and create the foundations for the brand and channel values. A lot of credit has to be given to Charlie as he was just as committed to the channel as any of use. Turning up week after week in terrible weather and don't forget, back in those days we really didn't have many viewers at all so sometimes it did feel like you were doing it all for nothing! That's when streaming is difficult for sure. Later on, Charlie took a step back due to a change in his working schedule and Andy joined the channel. 

A fresh pair of eyes really helped because we could step back and reevaluate what's working and it gave us fresh drive and excitement to push forward. Andy brought a huge amount of skills to the table too and this shines through in the content we put out today.

Matt has also stepped up massively in recent years, not only in the community but as a friend of ours and as a team member. Firstly with the introduction of Matt Cam, one of our biggest additions to the channel this last year. Followed by his hit show on Fridays. This was widely enjoyed by the community and he has really embraced the shows and made them his own.

I have been asked a couple of times, what the hardest bit of the channel was. Nothing particularly stands out, as we seem to take each day as it comes. However, there is certainly a period that required a lot of thought and careful consideration. 

This was when we came to the realisation that this could support us both full time. Suddenly the channel, our hobby, was destined to be our livelihoods. Our main concern was how do we create a successful business to make us feel comfortable enough to leave our jobs, whilst not moving away from the channels values. 

Obviously the channel needs to make money because we, like everyone have bills to pay, aspirations to reach for, but at the same time we want to keep providing shows for free, for everyone. So we decided to go with the classic "don't put all your eggs in one basket"

Which on one hand, means we can't allocate every day of the week to live streaming, but we can keep the live shows free for everyone, because on our down days we can push content out on all of our platforms that bring in valuable revenue to keep things moving. 

But all this wouldn't be possible without our incredible community. The support and backing from you, the viewers is what keeps the channel going. It keeps the shows fun, with your engagement in the chat, it makes us laugh, we get ideas from you and we want the streams to be the best they can for you. 

We are extremely proud of the friendly, welcoming atmosphere you have created and we want to thank you all for that.

This was evident on the countdown stream. We planned for this to run for a few days to let everyone check in on the live number. We expected people to pop in, check the number then leave. However, the community really made it into something really positive. People in there chatting, hanging out and making it a really fun place to be! 

Thanks to everyone who took part.


To celebrate reaching this milestone, we commissioned a bespoke commemorative coin on a limited run of 250 pieces. These have been extremely popular with community members sharing the certificate number they received. We still have a few left, so grab yours if you haven't got it already!

You can get your coins here

So what's next. Well, as for Airliners Live, we want to continue providing the best content we can and keep growing the community. But right now, we are not targeting any key goals in terms of sub count. The 10 million is tempting but for now... let's put that one on ice!

We are really excited to put a lot of effort into the Airliners Lounge channel. Maybe pushing for a silver play button for that channel by the end of the year! So if you can, go and show that channel some love by clicking the sub button and enjoying the content on there too!


TAS Memorabilia Fair - Airliners Live Stand



This month, we'll be hosting the Airliners Live stand at The Aviation Society's "Aviation Memorabilia Fair" on Saturday the 24th of February. This is our biggest community meetup of the year (alongside the Summer fair too) with an open invitation for all Airliners Live viewers to come and spend a day with the team and Airliners Live community.

TAS Fair Summer 2023 feat me, JonFezza and Captain Mark from left to right

At the event, you'll have the chance to meet all the presenters of Airliners Live, including an extremely special guest, our super Vancouver live show host, Henry Tenby!

Henry and his extensive collection of aircraft models

A magnitude of familiar names and faces will be attending the Airliners Live stand, such as Martin and I, Matt "Cam" Smith, Captain Mark, and plenty of moderators!
The event starts at 10AM, we'll be there all day until close at around 3pm.
We recommend you get there early if you are parking, as sometimes the parking situation can become a bit chaotic as the day goes on, due to the much higher than normal attendance in the park.

A large portion of the Airliners Live gang

The Memorabilia Fair is completely free to attend, and no pre-booking is required, however if you are travelling by car and requiring parking at the Visitor Park, there is a charge for that service, which is the standard cost for the RVP.

For those buying merchandise, we strongly prefer the use of card for payments, unless cash is your only option, where we strongly recommend you bring the change needed, we cannot guarantee we'll have the change needed.

So come on down, get a photo with the team, or with the famous A-LIVE photo screen!



This month we were pleased to welcome Debbie Riley to our midweek show as a guest. We have been trying to align our schedules to get Debbie on for a while however it finally was possible on our Wednesday show mid month.

But then... the million thing happened...

So Debbie graciously re arranged with us so we could bring in the 1 million celebrations on stream and we welcomed her the following week.

As we explained on the show - both Debbie and the late Peter Hampson, alongside The Aviation Society, have been extremely supportive of our channel and have enabled us to grow within the RVP and have worked along side us to bring you some excellent content. Debbie's wealth of aviation knowledge comes from her vast career within the aviation industry and we wanted to explore that on the show.

We explored lots of topics, mainly focusing on her time in airport planning and her current role in charge of an airport consultancy business where she travels the world assisting airports with training, procedures and safety. 

It was really interesting to gain an insight into what goes on behind the scenes at an airport like Manchester, where Debbie was also the first female Duty Manager. 

If we could recommend any of our shows to go back and watch if you missed it, it would be this one. It's full of really interesting discussions and we can't wait to get Debbie back again. 

Martin and Debbie mid conversation during the live show

Watch the full stream here


C17 Visits Manchester


Last month, we managed to get sight of an incredibly rare visitor to Manchester Airport, as a number of United Arab Emirates Air Force Boeing C-17 Globemasters visited the airport.

This saga began during "Storm Isha." There was a UAE Air Force C-17 bound for Prestwick Airport (PIK), up in Scotland, these planes are known to frequent the Scottish airfield, but since the conditions at PIK were pretty bad, the C-17 decided to opt for Manchester for a stopover and a refuel.

Now, this isn't official word, but I've heard on the grapevine that the crew were happy with the service offered by Manchester, and have since considered using MAN more often for their C-17 refueling.

Since that initial debut, we have seen them again, including during our "Super Sunday" show on the 28th of Jan, where we saw the huge military transporter land on runway 23R at Manchester, taxi in, and also park up on a remote stand on the apron of the Airport, that shot was possible by our awesome "Matt Cam" feature of the Super Sunday Show.

Watch the full livestream here

Screenshot from the Super Sunday Show

I also managed to get down on Monday the 29th of Jan to catch the departure of another C-17 out of Manchester, that too seems to have visited for a refuel. The plane was scheduled out at 9am, however was running a little late, but sadly they closed the second runway early, so the plane ended up going off on 23R, which was a slightly subpar view from the Southside mound, especially on such a dreary morning! 

However, it's fantastic to see these movements at Manchester and we hope for many more in the future!

Screenshot from the departure clip

These clips were posted on our "X" (aka Twitter) page


Coasters, Glorious Coasters!

An honorable mention to an awesome little feature of our store. Of all the products we've ever hosted on the website, these have probably sold the most stock over their existence, meet the Airliners Live drinks coaster!

These wonderful heat resistant PVC coasters are the brightest thing money can buy. (might not be true) The strong Airliners Live red logo will shine bight on any surface, with a non-slip base and a super satisfying sound as you slap the coaster into a strong brew-housing position on your table.

They're a great shape and size for any drink, whether it's a brew, or a bev, the coaster will look after you in style.

They're easy to clean, flexible, fun, and just because you actually read this, I'm giving you 20% off when you buy these coasters for yourself (For this month only!). Keep it a secret, but add the code satisfyingslap at the checkout to get 20% off.

So, what are you waiting for, get slapping that order now button here


Radio X's Shout-Out

Sam aka "MachTwo Photography"

You know the feeling. Early start to a working day, very little traffic on the road, half awake half asleep (or half dead half alive), and you're just in autopilot.

Day in, day out. And this particular morning was no different.

Just the daily commute to work. Until that is, something snaps me straight out of autopilot... The radio hosts on the radio are talking about... Plane spotting!? So I have commuted with the same radio station for about 7 years. I always have Radio X on in my car and it is always The Chris Moyles Show on in the morning (weekends tend to be different). And it's so much easier now I've moved up north as I can have it on FM now as opposed to streaming it on my phone via Bluetooth.

Old skool, I know. 

Anyway, enough about that. I quickly pulled up to Barton and turned the engine off. Immediately I whacked in the number to text in on my phone. After 7 years, you sadly know it off by heart. Remember when I said half awake half asleep? I lied. I was half asleep half asleep still. So I texted in this: "Hey Chris and the gang, my partner does the whole filming planes from airports live too. He's at Manchester today if James is an "avgeek". My partners channel is Airliners Live and he just hit one million subscribers!! I'm so proud!!" Usually you tend to say people's name and sign off a text with your own name and where you're texting from. Half asleep, half asleep still!!

I waited a while as I was early for my shift to see if anything was said but no. Oh well. Off to work I go. A little time later and my phone is pinging and pinging and pinging on twitter. I was way too busy for this. When I get a moment I quickly look past all of the X/Twitter notifications and see Andy had sent a message to say Captain Mark was "famous" and had been on Radio X.

I was so excited to learn of this. Andy later sends me the audio from The Chris Moyles Show and we were howling. The radio hosts all thought that Captain Mark was "my partner" and was a one man band: flying planes and filming at airports. We couldn't stop laughing at how innocently wrong they were. Looking back, I wouldn't have changed that text due to the laughs it provided. Hopefully they have found a new live aviation channel to tune into?

You can listen to this feature on Radio X here (VIP ONLY)



Let's show a warm welcome To Connor who was watching the Airliners Charity Stream with his Dad Adam & Grandad George Fitzgibbon and decided he wanted to help, so Connor donated all his birthday money he had received to our charity fund for Macmillan Cancer Support, what a very generous thing to do.

Conor with his home flight simulation setup

Connor was at the RVP on Sunday when I got talking to his Dad Adam while we hid round the corner with the other mods waiting to ambush the control tower .So I said to Adam come into the cafe later and come over to the group to meet Martin &  Andy , at the time it was so overwhelming and Connor was shy so the lads went over to meet Connor his mum Emma and Dad Adam Fitzgibbon .

Here's hoping Connor's passion for planes starting so young proves a step to pilot training in later life , wishing Connor All The Very Best for his future.

Austin Swagger!

Sam aka "MachTwo Photography"

It was a normal day at work, I came home and on the table, Andy had left me a note from Royal Mail to let me know they had left my parcel at my local post office. Parcel? WHAT parcel??I didn't recall ordering anything and everything that I had ordered (more maintenance car parts... "Yay"), had already arrived.

What on earth was it? And more importantly, what on earth was in that drink the other night!? At my earliest convenience,I potter around every local post office of mine to no avail. Boy, there's a few of them.

Alas I eventually find the parcel. It is slapped with a tonne of stickers and is easy to see that it has come across from America, Texas... Austin. I drive home and am greeted by an email from our friends over at Austin Bergstrom International Airport's media team.

Sam (From the AUS Media Team) had sent me a lovely email wishing us a well new year and hoped that we had a nice Christmas. She also asked if I had received the box of swagger? And swag it was!

AUS have recently launched their new concession brand: Beats, Bites, and Flights. I absolutely love the name it always makes me smile!! And rather suiting for 8 live stages, over 40 concessions and over 90 flights. It sometimes is hard to remember that this is an international airport but it's amazing!!

The swagger included some more socks (obsessed, I even had my older socks on ironically), some caps, cups, and really cool plane pens. Included was a beautiful card thanking Airliners Live for our hard work for the community and dedication. Andy and I miss AUS dearly and are itching to get back to Texas.

Sadly there is much to do in the UK for the first part of this year and no set in stone plans to return. But let's be honest, if we know Andy well enough then we know he's going to be looking at flights the second we are able to return!! You can check out what our Austin friends are doing over at:


Great Views


Here’s a little bit of information about where I live and the great views I have. This is designed to make you all feel jealous, so I hope it works. Ha ha!

I live at the top of a hill, on the second floor of a tower block in Collier Row, Romford (marked as the black dot on the image) and I’ve been here for over 20 years! I’m blessed with some amazing views, as from the front (facing Southwest), I have a panoramic view of the whole of east London, from the Dartford Crossing to the Shard, including Canary Wharf and the O2 Arena, better known as the Dome. 

Out of my Northwest facing office window, on a good day of course, I see hundreds of aircraft at approximately 8-10,000 feet, as I just happen to live next to the inbound flight path for London Heathrow. And if I can’t see the aircraft, for instance low cloud base, I can certainly hear them as they buzz my tower. And sometimes I get to see or hear these aircraft twice if they are put in hold over Lambourne End.

And then there’s the military side of things. The Special Event air shows, such as Royal fly pasts, use the same flight path as commercial jets, towards Heathrow from Clacton on Sea to here, before heading in towards Pall Mall and Buckingham Palace, so I get to see those too. But that is mostly dependent on the weather. If the cloud base is too low, sometimes I only ever get to see the Red Arrows, but that is satisfying enough.

I also live on the flight path between Biggin Hill and Duxford and get to see several Spitfires and Hurricanes each year, flying between the two bases for air shows or meet-ups. And then there’s North Weald, which is less than ten miles away and is often used by the military for touch and go operations, so there are the occasional jets and helicopters flying around. There’s also Stapleford Abbots airfield about 3 miles away, as the crow flies, and I see quite a bit of general aviation taking place, especially during the spring and summer months. This is also where they land the Chinooks before they join a Royal fly past. 

If you have a closer look at the ADSB flight map, you will notice a few things. Not only am I on the LHR flight path, but just to my south you will notice London City Airport, and I’m on the outbound path for that too, for any planes going east, and usually at around 5-6,000 feet. I have seen many Embraer’s and Dash 8 Q400’s fly past my location, heading to warmer, or colder destinations. Looking east, Southend Airport is situated just under the word Rochford, although it’s a quiet airport and I don’t really see any traffic heading there. And to my north is Stansted, but you can’t see it on the map. Shame really, as I spent a lot of time there as a kid, growing up in Bishop’s Stortford. I used to walk to the airport and sit on the fence watching the planes taking off, and once got blown about by a 747 doing an engine test, as I hung onto the fence for dear life.

It took me a couple of years to realise just how lucky I am to be in this tower block, with all the aviation around me. We were asked a few years ago if we wanted to downsize and move to somewhere else. I don’t think so!

Do you?

Flightlines - Automatic Landings

Captain Mark

Hi everyone, hope you’ve all had a great Christmas and new year and welcome to this months flightlines.

Today we’re going to be looking at autolands.

Most day to day landings are done by a pilot especially if it’s windy. To do this you’ll need a cloud base of more than 200’ and a visibility of 550m for a normal landing using what we call a cat 1 ILS.

Less accurate approach types will require higher visibility and cloud base,
but what happens when it’s foggy and you can’t see to land?

The concept was started around 1945/6 by the British blind landing experimental unit (BLEU.) BEA, (British European airways) were heavily involved in the project in the 50s with their trident aircraft.

The first such landing in a BEA Trident was achieved at RAE Bedford (by then home of BLEU) in March 1964. The first on a commercial flight with passengers aboard was achieved on flight BE 343 on 10 June 1965, with a Trident 1 G-ARPR, from Paris to Heathrow with Captains Eric Poole and Frank Ormonroyd.

The technology has moved on a lot since then but the basic premise stays the same.

Two of the things required will be LVP, and LVO‘s. LVP (Low visibility procedures.) are put in place by the airport when the visibility or cloud base drops below a predetermined level.

As soon as an airport goes into LVPs it will cause problems. You need greater spacing between aircraft so the airports flow rate will reduce. When’s it’s really bad at LHR sometimes you’ll see inbound aircraft holding over Europe!

LVOs are an airline specific thing. The airline has to be approved to conduct autolands, the aircraft have to be capable and the pilots have to be qualified to do them as well!

There are different types that you may hear mentioned.

A normal landing is called CAT 1 

You need a cloud base of 200’
You need a visibility of 550m
You need to see elements of:
• The threshold
• The threshold markings
• The threshold lights
• The runway end identifier lights
• The visual glideslope indicator
• The touchdown zone or touchdown zone markings
• The touchdown zone lights
• The runway or runway markings
• The runway lights

Next you have CAT 2

You’ll need a cloud base of 100’
You need a visibility of 300m
You need to see 3 consecutive lights which must
include a lateral element,( crossbar, barrette etc,)

Next you have CAT 3A

You need a cloud base of 50’
You need a visibility of 200m
You need to see 3 consecutive lights.

Now we have CAT 3B

You need no cloud base (no decision height)
You need 75m visibility
You don’t need to see any lights.

So how does it work?

The concept works by the aircraft tracking a ground based signal called an ILS (instrument landing system)

This sends out a signal that will keep you on thecentre line of the runway (localiser) and on a 3° (normally) glide path towards the landing point of the runway. (Glideslope)

The aircraft will use a radio altimeter, this sends out a radio signal towards the ground which that bounces back up towards the aircraft so your actual height above the ground can be very accurately measured.

The systems on board will detect when you are the right place to flare the aircraft (bring the nose up for landing,) and it will automatically do that, modern systems will track the runway Centre Line and keep you rolling out on the centreline. Automatic braking will also bring you to a stop.

Autoland systems are normally designated Fail Operational or Fail Passive.
• A Fail Operational system must have at least two autopilots engaged for the approach. The failure of one autopilot will still allow an autoland to be carried out. This allows a “no decision height” approach to be conducted.

• A Fail Passive system is normally associated with a single autopilot approach. In this case, failure of the autopilot will not result in any immediate deviation from the desired flight path; however, the pilot flying must immediately assume control of the aircraft and, unless he has sufficient visual reference to land, carry out a missed approach. The lowest allowable decision altitude (DA) for a fail passive system is normally 50’.

On the airbus the aircraft will track the ILS signal to the ground.
All failures or ECAMs must be completed by 1000’
The aircraft MUST be fully configured by 1000’
The aircraft MUST be stable at 500’

Below 200’ you have a red autoland light that becomes active.
It will trigger for a loss of both autopilots.
Loss of localiser above 15’

Loss of glideslope above 100’
Loss of both loc and glideslope
Excess deviation from the localiser or glideslope.
Radio altimeter discrepancy above 15’
Long flare.

If this goes off a go around must be performed unless you have sufficient visual references to continue (you revert to cat 1 minima!! 200’/550m!!)

The captain normally does the autoland. Near the ground they are looking out the window for any visual reference. The FO is monitoring the instruments and calling
out the changes to the flight mode annunciator.

Once the landing is complete you MUST disconnect the autopilot otherwise you won’t be able to taxi off the runway as it will still be trying to follow the localiser!!

Greater margins are applied for safety. The aircraft waiting to take off are held further away from the runway so they do not interfere with the ils signals.
Otherwise this may happen:

So that’s it. A brief rundown of an auto land.

There’s obviously an awful lot more to it but I’ve not got the space to go into it!

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next month.

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