Drama as Red Arrow forced into emergency landing after bird strike
- Credit: Ruxpin Images
A Red Arrows plane was forced into an emergency landing at RAF Marham after his jet struck a bird during an aerobatics display.
At around 4pm yesterday, the performance for friends and family of the RAF was halted as the plane, named RED 5, landed at the airbase near King's Lynn, with two fire engines and an ambulance racing to the scene.
The rest of the team circled overhead while the damaged plane landed, before continuing their performance with eight pilots.
It is thought that the plane suffered only superficial damage and the pilot was unharmed, however the jet remained at the west Norfolk airbase overnight.
It is thought that RED 5 is still at RAF Marham this morning. The Red Arrows are due to fly over Norfolk today (Thursday) on their way to Clacton Airshow.
A bystander, who did not wish to be named, said: "I have a scanner with me at all times which allows me to hear what the pilots are saying and the Red Arrows have their own frequency so you can hear everything they're doing.
"They were two or three minutes into the display when RED 5 called up 'bird strike, bird strike' and they then asked where he'd been hit before he called to come in and make an emergency landing.
"That plane could have fallen out of the sky, with 500 people there watching on, anything could've happened.
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"The plane was struck by a bird on the right hand side of its nose, which is one of the most dangerous things you can have in a single-engine jet.
"If a bird goes in the engine, then you're down.
"For a moment no one knew what the damage was, so the jets went into a holding pattern while RED 9 flew alongside RED 5 as he was landing.
"As soon as the other eight jets knew that he was safely on the ground, they then continued with a marvellous display.
"How they do it I just can't get my head around it, another plane just slotted into his spot, he went from being a right-hand wingman to a left-hand wingman by going upside down."
An RAF spokesperson confirmed the plane was forced to land at Marham yesterday.
The spokesperson said: "An aircraft from the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team completed a precautionary landing at RAF Marham yesterday due to a suspected bird strike.
"The aircraft landed safely and the pilot is fine.
"RAF Engineers are inspecting the aircraft, it will return to RAF Scampton once checked and cleared to do so."