RAF to scale back Tattoo fly-pasts after noise of jets sparks panic

The four-jet fly-past will be reduced to a single aircraft. Picture: TSPL

The four-jet fly-past will be reduced to a single aircraft. Picture: TSPL

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RAF pilots have been forced to cut back a deafening daily fly-past after Edinburgh residents thought they were being bombed.

Four jet fighters with afterburners blazing have been screaming over the rooftops of Edinburgh at 9pm every night to mark the start of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Picture: TSPL

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Picture: TSPL

But the thunderous noise generated by the two Typhoons and two Tornados flying in diamond formation has caused panic.

RAF chiefs and Tattoo organisers have apologised and agreed to restrict the flypast to just one jet from now on.

The jets – based at RAF Leuchars and RAF Lossiemouth – roar in from the sea over Portobello and across the east of the city before screeching over the castle at 350mph.

One Portobello resident, who asked not to be named, said it sounded like “something terrible was going to happen”.

He said: “The noise was deafening. Paintings hanging on the wall were shaking, the floor was vibrating – I thought a plane was actually going to ditch in the sea.

“It sounded like something terrible was going to happen – not for a minute did I think it would be for the Tattoo.”

He added: “Surely the organisers would have the sense to properly announce something like this, especially with the Olympics terror alerts?”

Others took to Twitter to report the terrifying noise and try to find out what was going on.

The organisers of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo confirmed that they received “less than positive” comments as a result of the flypasts, which used the call sign “Venom”.

A spokesman said: “There has been some email correspondence and there have been a number of people who have expressed observations – suffice it to say some were less than positive.”

He added: “There’s only going to be one jet getting used now as opposed to the four that were seen at the start.

“The fly-pasts are linked to the Tattoo’s tribute to those who are involved with the armed services.

“The Tattoo producer announced in July during his speech about the festival highlights that fly-bys will be a part of the celebration but if this is has gone unreported then we regret any distress this had caused the residents of Edinburgh and we greatly appreciate their patience.”

A spokesman for the RAF said they were aware the event organisers had “received correspondence” from residents.

He said: “The Royal Air Force always strives to be a good neighbour and to minimise any disturbance caused by our activities. We regret if the flypasts have disturbed a small number of people on this occasion.”

The spokesman said the use of afterburners – which add thrust by pumping jet fuel into the exhaust – was not restricted in these circumstances.

“If there is a display such as the Tattoo at night then the afterburners will be used for a more exciting visual for the spectators,” he said.

The RAF also confirmed that one of the Typhoon flypast jets hit a bird earlier this week, an event that can – in very extreme circumstances – cause a crash.

The spokesman said: “We can confirm that an aircraft involved in Tuesday’s flypast hit a bird after the event, while returning to base.

“Birdstrikes are not unusual and our pilots’ world class training includes responding quickly and safely to such events.

“The pilot landed the aircraft at RAF Leuchars without further incident.”