‘Swiss Red Arrows’ apologise for mistaken display over yodelling festival
The Swiss defence ministry has apologised after an aerial display team performed a fly-by over the wrong event, surprising people at a yodelling festival.
Jets from the Patrouille Suisse, likened to the Red Arrows, were supposed to fly over Langenbruck in northwest Switzerland on Saturday, to honour the centenary of a Swiss flying pioneer.
But the squadron leader, Gunnar “Gandalf” Jansen, confused by the sight of a marquee, directed the team to fly over the nearby town of Mumliswil instead, which was hosting the 31st Northwest Yodelling Festival.
The planes were due to perform for the 100th anniversary of the death of Oskar Bider, the first person to fly over the Alps in both directions.
Despite reportedly being born in Langenbruck, Jansen, 36, saw the tent set up for the yodelling festival in Mumliswil, roughly four miles (6.4km) to the west, and misdirected the jets.
Mr Jansen, who reportedly has more than 2500 flying hours, apologised for the “very embarrassing” mistake.
“I am extremely sorry for the invited guests and all the people who came to Langenbruck to see us. Fortunately, that’s the first and hopefully the last time that something like this happens to me.”
The group performed four formations for the startled yodellers, who are said to have enjoyed the unexpected show.
The pilot said the error was caused by a helicopter, which unexpectedly flew into his team’s exclusion zone as it approached the village.
While dealing with the incident, he flew over Langenbruck and then reported seeing “a big white marquee.”
He admitted the valleys “look confusingly similar from the air”.
A spokesman for the Swiss military told the Neue Zurcher Zeitung newspaper that the F-5E Tiger II aircraft were not equipped with GPS technology.
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