Virgin Atlantic VS43 Flight Photos

I was about to go out looking for kestrels this afternoon when I spotted something rather more newsworthy. A Virgin Atlantic flight was circling very low over the fringes of Brighton at between 2,300ft and 5,300 ft (my source comes from via the excellent Mark Jones).

The aircraft was circling for an hour or more due to a faulty landing gear and was running down (and off-loading?) fuel before making a return to Gatwick for what proved to be an expert emergency landing. Thankfully!


The photos here are all copyright (as is everything on this site). Commercial use can be arranged via Rex Features.

Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 7D Mark II and EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens.

This entry was posted in Aircraft and tagged .


  1. Mark Jones December 30, 2014 at 3:30 am #

    Yes it was circling around 5300 to 2300ft to try and shake the gear down and that didnt work so they made an emergency landing at Gatwick safely.

    • Words December 30, 2014 at 11:12 am #

      Mark, a couple of the shots I got were at the lower end of the altitude range, plus we start from being 500′ up (top of the Downs). It was quite spooky seeing something that big so close over the house. Top marks to the air crew for getting it back safely.

  2. Andy December 31, 2014 at 1:37 am #

    Holy Cow that was your photo I spotted in the news! Wow!
    Although, The Guardian lists the photographer as “Rex”
    Appears to be the same photo.
    And a Happy New Year to you!

    • Words December 31, 2014 at 1:56 am #

      Andy, yes that was my picture. It’s in every national paper here so far as I can tell. Plane was directly over our garden, several times. I put it out through a photo agency I use for the occasional wildlife pic, hence the credit to ‘Rex’. They did a good job with it!

  3. gdare January 1, 2015 at 5:58 pm #

    To say the truth, it didn’t surprise me when you’ve posted in FB that your photo was published. Congrats to that and to a pilot who did the safe landing. In a year with so many airplane crashes we certainly did not need another one.
    Good job, like everything else!

    • Words January 2, 2015 at 12:17 am #

      Darko, good that it turned out to have a happy ending. I’ve learnt a lot about landing aircraft with dodgy wheels over the past few days. They are not always as tidy as that one. Huge credit to the pilot and flight crew.