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Red Arrows jet forced to make emergency landing after cockpit was destroyed by BIRD

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Squawk code: Red Arrows jet forced to make emergency landing during air show after cockpit of £5m plane destroyed by BIRD

  • A huge part of the cockpit was broken when a bird hit the plane
  • Eyewitnesses heard a ‘loud bang’ before the plane had to deviate from course
  • Pilot Gregor Ogston landed safely and is said to be ‘shaken’ but unharmed

A Red Arrows air show over thousands of people was suddenly halted when the cockpit of a £5million fighter jet was crushed by a bird.

One of the jets, Red 6, was forced to break off from formation when the glass cockpit was dramatically shattered.

Eyewitnesses heard a ‘loud bang’ before the plane had to deviate from course, as thousands watched the drama from the ground.

Pilot Gregor Ogston issued an ’emergency 7700 squawk transponder code’ to indicate that he was in trouble during the display.

The famous Red Arrows were the star attraction of Rhyl Air Show 2022 in North Wales.

Red 6’s teammates continued above the resort town until they were cleared to return to Hawarden airport.

The bird slammed into the top of the cockpit, taking away much of the windshield

Pilot Gregor Ogston was forced to break off from the rest of the formation when his plane was hit by the bird

Pilot Gregor Ogston was forced to break off from the rest of the formation when his plane was hit by the bird

The disappointed crowd was told that Red 6 had been the victim of a ‘bird strike’ – in which a bird in mid-air collided with the plane.

It struck the glass cockpit section of the £5 million jet just inches from the pilot.

It shattered the window, leaving a gaping hole, and the pilot was exposed to the elements.

An eyewitness said, “That pilot is lucky he’s still alive. Anything could have happened at that moment—Top Gun really.’

A spokesman for the RAF Red Arrows said: ‘Thank you to everyone at this weekend’s Rhyl Airshow. We had to end today’s Red Arrows show a few minutes early after one of our jets suffered a bird strike, damaging the cockpit canopy.

‘This kind of incident is not uncommon in aviation and is extremely well trained for it. In this case, Red 6 and the whole team reacted perfectly together, with no further risk to the pilot and the aircraft.

The pilot was able to make an emergency landing despite exposure to the elements for the flight back to base

The pilot was able to make an emergency landing despite exposure to the elements for the flight back to base

Gregor Ogston landed safely and would be 'shaken' but unharmed

Gregor Ogston landed safely and would be ‘shaken’ but unharmed

“I am pleased to report that the jet landed safely and that the pilot is unharmed. Thank you for all the get well wishes and many expressions of support, with questions about the pilot.’

The pilot of the affected plane is said to have been “a little shocked” after the incident. Commenting on the RAF Red Arrows social media post, David Montenegro, the commander of the Royal Air Force Aerobatic team, praised the pilot’s actions.

David Montenegro, commander of the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, said the ‘Red 6’ pilot is a little shaken but good.

“His immediate actions, executed calmly and correctly with the support of his colleagues, ensured a safe outcome.”

The seven red Hawk T1 jets departed Hawarden at 4:30 p.m. Sunday for their second appearance of the weekend at Rhyl Airshow.

The team was supposed to be back in Hawarden by 5:10 p.m., but just after 4:45 p.m. Red 6 beeped the emergency transponder code 7700.

That led to a response from the fire department at Hawarden Airport, who were present when the plane landed.

Red 6 was followed to the airport by another member of the team to ensure a safe route home and landing.

The other pilots were welcomed like heroes in Hawarden and treated to applause from bystanders when they disembarked.

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