An RAF Red Arrows jet suffered 'significant damage' when it was hit by a bird during a performance at Rhyl Air Show yesterday.Red 6 was forced to break off from the rest of the team and return to Hawarden Airport following the dramatic mid-air incident Sunday afternoon.The incident occurred while the group were bringing Rhyl Air Show 2022 to a close in the skies as hundreds of people looked on.
Eyewitnesses reported hearing a 'loud pop' before Red 6 broke-off from the rest off the formation. He was accompanied back to Hawarden by Red 7 in case he needed guiding down.
It was later revealed to the assembled crowds that Red 6, squadron leader Gregor Ogston, had been the victim of a 'bird strike' - where a bird had collided with the jet mid-air.The bird had struck the section of the £5m jet's cockpit at such force that the impact shattered the canopy, leaving it with a gaping hole and its pilot exposed to the elements.In a statement posted on their social media, the RAF Red Arrows 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."
The pilot of the affected plane was said to be 'a bit shaken' following the incident. In response to the RAF Red Arrows social media post David Montenegro, the officer commanding the Royal Air Force Aerobatic team, praised the pilot's actions.He said: "The pilot is a bit shaken but well, thank you. His immediate actions delivered calmly and correctly with the support of his colleagues ensured a safe outcome."Following Red 6's return to base, the rest of the team cut the display short. All pilots were given a hero's welcome back at Hawarden and treated to a round of applause by bystanders as they disembarked.