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.
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.”