The bird strike resulted in a canopy broken and emergency landing.
The Red Arrows were performing at Rhyl Air Show in the afternoon on Aug. 28, 2022, when the display team was forced to cut short their display after Red 6 suffered a bird strike. As a result, the canopy of the jet was smashed forcing the aircraft to declare an in-flight emergency and head back to Hawarden Airport, the air base used for the team’s Rhyl displays over the weekend.
Images and videos of the Hawk with the damaged canopy started circulating online, shortly after the jet’s successful emergency landing.
#RedArrows aircraft landing at #Hawarden with bird strike damage pic.twitter.com/E3NEf4WVK0
— Ian C (@IAmAnIanIAm) August 28, 2022
A red arrow landing at Hawarden after the bird strike at Rhyl air show pic.twitter.com/bRXUT5TDUg
— Em 🌸 YNWA (@Emz__69) August 28, 2022
The team released a short statement on social media, highlighting how birdstrikes are far from being uncommon in aviation.
Thank you to everyone at this weekend’s Rhyl Airshow. We had to finish today’s #RedArrows 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.
— Red Arrows (@rafredarrows) August 28, 2022
Indeed, on Aug. 26, 2021, Red 5 suffered a birdstrike and was forced to land at RAF Marham, while on Aug. 24, 2020, Red 6 was damaged by a birdstrike during a flypast over Edinburg.
Dealing with the pilot, Squadron Leader Gregor Ogston, he’s reportedly just “a bit shaken but well”:
Steve, the pilot @rafred_6 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. #RedArrows #teamwork #RhylAirShow2022 https://t.co/fMteBki3Mh
— David Montenegro (@RAFRedArrowsOC) August 28, 2022
As recently reported, the Red Arrows are facing a pilot shortage: one pilot was sacked after an alleged affair and another resigned over the team’s “toxic culture”. Members of the team, according to The Sun, are said to “hate each other” in what is considered the worst morale crisis since the Red Arrows were created in 1964.
Because of the ongoing drama, the Red Arrows are flying with a seven-ship formation, instead of the usual nine aircraft. This also means that many maneuvers for the complete formation had to be cancelled from this year flight displays.
H/T to Ian C for allowing us to use his photo of Red 6 in this article.