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Nancy Pelosi’s SPAR19 Flight Crashed Tracking App, Millions Chase It Into History Books

August 2nd marked the culmination of a very tense start of the week, caused by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to make a stop over in Taiwan, the first time in some 25 years such a high-ranking American official reached an island China claims as its own.
SPAR19 caused a craze of August 2 6 photos
Boeing 737Boeing 737Boeing 737Boeing 737SPAR19 caused a craze of August 2
For three or four days prior to touchdown in Taipei hype has been building, with China flexing its muscle across the Taiwan Strait, throwing threats at the U.S., and generally making a big fuss about it. It was only natural for people to take notice and flood the Internet in search of details of what was a potentially explosive situation.

On August 2nd at 15:42 local time, a Boeing C-40C took off from Kuala Lumpur carrying Pelosi and her delegation. The destination was not officially confirmed, but everyone was saying it was Taiwan, and the seven hours or so that followed were simply insane, especially for flight tracking app Flightradar24.

In a statement released shortly after the flight, designated SPAR19, landed, Flightradar24 released the numbers related to it, and they’re simply staggering: during the seven hours, no less than 2.92 million people followed the plane for at least part of its journey. SPAR19’s culminating moment, the landing in Taipei, was viewed live by 708,000 people, “making it the most tracked live flight in Flightradar24 history.”

Not equipped to handle such a surge, the app crashed at one point, queuing non-subscribers in so-called waiting rooms for tens of minutes during the final moments of the Boeing flight, and making it all but impossible to follow any plane, not just the one carrying Pelosi. As soon as the plane landed safely, interest of course dropped, and all functionalities of the tracking app were quickly back to normal.

At the moment, it’s impossible for anyone to imagine such a high degree of interest in a flight happening again, so for a long time, Pelosi’s Taiwan visit will probably have a safe spot in aviation’s history books.

Editor's note: Gallery shows the Boeing 737.


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