A Red Arrows display had to be abruptly ended on Sunday after a mid-air collision with a bird shattered one of the jet’s windows.
The world-famous aerial display group were closing out the Rhyl Air Show in north Wales after a weekend of fly pasts by Typhoon jets and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.
However, those attending the event said they heard a “loud pop” from above, followed by Red 6 breaking off from the group and returning to the ground.
It turns out a bird had hit the jet’s cockpit window, smashing it, and forcing the pilot to land with the help of one of his colleagues.
According to the Daily Record, the event announcer said over the PA system: “From what I can hear it sounds as if a bird has impacted its canopy… this generally means that the bird has gone through the canopy and completely shattered it, which means that what he’s actually hearing is the wind rushing through the canopy.
“That’s my biggest guess. If that’s the case it’s quite significant for Red 6 because they are listening to air traffic, air traffic can’t hear you, which is why Seven is with him, and they’ll be guided down with him on his wing.
“The most important part is that it sounds like it didn’t go down the engine.”
David Montenegro, the group’s commanding officer, said afterwards: “Steve, 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.”
The rest of the squadron abandoned their performance and, once they were cleared for landing, headed back down to Hawarden airport.
The pilots reportedly landed to a “hero’s welcome”, the Daily Record said, and applauded while they stepped out of their aircraft.