RAF forced to cut daily flypast as Scottish residents feared of bombings


RAF Top Guns have been forced to cut back an ear-splitting daily flypast after residents of a Scottish city 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 Military Tattoo.

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

The military tattoo will run until the 25th of August


So 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 and 1000ft.

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.

Marian Craig ?wrote: “We thought the Germans were trying to bomb Edinburgh 🙁 Truly terrifying!”

John Gavin tweeted: “A fighter jet with afterburners just flew over Edinburgh. Anyone know something?”

Another scared resident said: “Crazy-low fighter jet flyover in Edinburgh just now. Sounded incredible, a genuinely scary amount of noise…”

And Gian-Luca Dei Rossi asked which “idiot” allowed jets “to fly over Edinburgh at low altitude, scaring a lot of people with the noise?”

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.

He added: “However, we know that the vast majority of people very much welcome the Royal Air Force’s participation in the Tattoo.

“It is a source of great pride to us that we have been asked to support the event in this special year when the Tattoo celebrates Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and Creative Scotland.”

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.”



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  1. In the second paragraph you say 4 jets have carried out the flypast each night. No they haven’t. Only on one night this week has there been 4 jets. The RAF’s jets only put their reheat on when approaching the castle, so I’m amazed anyone in Portobello is having their walls shaken by the noise of this, as it’s not taking place near them.

    Flypasts for the Tattoo have taken place for a number of years, taking the same route so I’m confused as to why people are surprised by them. Where they okay with the Armed Forces Day flypasts, or the Olympic flypast?

    Considering airliners fly over the city every day there is very little difference in the noise levels when they past the east of the city.

  2. Its a sad day when people think they are going to dye cause 4 fast jets scream over there heads!! You should feel proud to have such protection.

    • It’s even more sad when someone who is obviously British (judging by the name Paul Scott) makes mistakes like using “DYE” (Dye – a colored substance that has an affinity to the substrate to which it is being applied) instead of DIE and “THERE” (There – in or at that place ( opposed to here)) instead of THEIR.

  3. Having served in the military home to some of the aircraft being used for the tattoo, i find it very hard to believe, as the residents have been warned of the practices. And thanks to the Royal Air Force, they are NOT speaking german. Come on…..
    Do some of these people think that they would hear an attack coming?, Its a show of national pride, oh just like the olympics…

  4. It’s hardly anything new. It happened last year as well if not before that. The problem is not the planes, but the scaremongering media trying to convince us we can be attacked at any moment. Get a grip folks you’d soon know if they meant harm or were in defence mode over the capital. For a start they wouldn’t be in diamond formation.

  5. Get a grip. Okay, actually get a grip on reality. You stupid, irrational people. That is exactly what you are. An RAF aircraft. That’s Royal Air Force. You know? From the air force of the United Kingdom did a flypast, and you assume that it was Germans on a bombing run? Pathetic. I suppose next we’ll see reports that locals thought the festival was to celebrate the evil English invading their land.

    Get a grip on reality.

  6. I agree with Josh. Get a grip. If you’re worried about bangs and public air displays, and a bit of interesting stuff going on, then Edinburgh isn’t the city for you.
    Actually, this is probably about costcutting more than anything else.

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