January 12, 2023 5.30 pm This story is over 15 months old

Red Arrows pilot recognised for safe landing after bird hit cockpit glass

The glass shattered right in front of the Red 6 pilot – who stayed calm

By Local Democracy Reporter

Flying a Red Arrows jet is hard enough, but one pilot has been recognised for his exceptional work in safely guiding his aircraft down after a bird collided with the glass cockpit at an air show last year.

Squadron Leader Gregor Ogston, pilot for Red 6, was taking part in the Rhyl Air Show on August 28, 2022 when his jet suffered significant damage from a bird.

The bird had collided with and shattered the glass cockpit, sending shards and bird remains into the jet and hitting Ogston in the head.

The cockpit shattered and left shards inside, where Ogston was sat flying at break-neck speeds. | Photo: RAF Red Arrows

Remarkably, he managed to stay calm and guide the aircraft to a safe landing despite having no external communications available due to the noise and force of the wind from his smashed cockpit glass.

His efforts have now been recognised with a Green Endorsement – the highest accolade given by the Royal Air Force Safety Centre.

It was presented to Gregor Ogston by the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, as he visited the Red Arrows’ new Lincolnshire home – RAF Waddington.

Red 6’s helmet after a “bird strike” smashed through his cockpit during an airshow performance. | Photo: UK MOD Crown Copyright 2022

Sqn Ldr Ogston, who was leader of the team’s dynamic Synchro Pair routine, said: “Although awarded to me personally, it reflects on everyone at the Red Arrows who played a role in achieving a safe outcome that day.

“I am incredibly grateful to receive a Green Endorsement following my bird strike at the Rhyl Air Show.

“Thanks to extensive emergency scenario training and well-rehearsed procedures I was able to recover the aircraft quickly and safely to Hawarden airport.

“I am particularly thankful to Red 7, Flight Lieutenant James Turner, who escorted me to the airfield and to the air traffic controllers and emergency services at Hawarden for their quick response and assistance during the emergency.”

Gregor Ogston, Red 6. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Gregor has now taken on a new role within the RAF Central Flying School, training the next generation of RAF fighter pilots by instructing fast-jet pilots and flying instructors on the Hawk T2 and Texan T1.

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