August 29, 2022 12.37 pm This story is over 22 months old

Dramatic near-miss as bird strike smashes cockpit of Red Arrows jet

The team ended their display in Wales early as a result

By Local Democracy Reporter

The Red Arrows were forced into halting a performance at an airshow in Wales, after a ‘bird strike’ left a hole in the cockpit and narrowly missed the pilot’s head.

The RAF’s aerobatic display team were performing at the Rhyl Air Show on Sunday when one of the jets suffered significant damage.

It is believed that a bird flew into Red 6, piloted by Gregor Ogston, smashing a hole in the glass cockpit and leaving the pilot exposed to the elements.

Red 6 peeled away from the rest of the team and returned to Hawarden Airport following the incident, joined by Red 7 to ensure a safe return.

It brought an early end to the Red Arrows’ display, billed as the closing act for Rhyl Air Show, but thankfully the team had plenty of training in dealing with this situation, which the Reds describe as “not uncommon in aviation”.

An RAF Red Arrows spokesperson said: “Thank you to everyone at this weekend’s Rhyl Airshow. We had to finish today’s Red Arrows display a few minutes early after one of our jets suffered a bird strike, damaging the cockpit canopy.

“This type of incident is not uncommon in aviation and is extremely well-trained for. In this instance, Red 6 and the whole team responded perfectly together, with no further risk to the pilot and aircraft.

“Happy to report the jet landed safely and the pilot is unhurt. Thank you for all of the well-wishes and many messages of support, asking about the pilot.”

Commanding Officer David Montenegro took to social media to say that Gregor Ogston, pilot of Red 6 for the 2022 season, was “a bit shaken but well” following the incident.