Red 6's jet was struck by a bird during a display flight (Picture: Royal Air Force).
Red 6's canopy, helmet and visor was damaged by the bird strike during a display flight (Picture: RAF).
Red Arrows

Honour for Red Arrows' Red 6 after bird strike forced emergency landing

Red 6's jet was struck by a bird during a display flight (Picture: Royal Air Force).
Red 6's canopy, helmet and visor was damaged by the bird strike during a display flight (Picture: RAF).

A Red Arrows pilot has credited his training, colleagues and "well-rehearsed" procedures for saving his life when his aircraft was hit in a bird strike.

Squadron Leader Gregor Ogston's jet was badly damaged by a bird strike during a display flight of the Red Arrows synchro pair routine at the Welsh seaside town of Rhyl in August 2022.

A large bird struck his aircraft on the right side of the canopy during the second half of the routine, sending shards of glass and bird remains inside the jet.

Sqn Ldr Ogston was struck in the head by the glass and the impact of the shards and bird remains displaced his helmet visor and severed an oxygen mask connector.

The mid-air collision happened when he was seconds away from crossing head-on with another member of the Red Arrows.

Red 6 remained calm despite the incident and was able to safely land his aircraft at Hawarden airport.

Sqn Ldr Ogston has now been acknowledged with the presentation of the RAF's top safety award, a Green Endorsement.

Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, left, presents the award to Squadron Leader Gregor Ogston (Picture: Royal Air Force).
Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston presents the award to Squadron Leader Gregor Ogston (Picture: RAF).

He 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."

Red 6's Green Endorsement award was presented by Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, during a visit to RAF Waddington, the new Lincolnshire home of the Red Arrows.