A Swiss aerial display team missed the target of their flyover on Sunday afternoon by some six kilometres. The army said the mistake was “not a worrying one”.
The Patrouille Suisse – the red and white squadron that flies in formation over special events – was eagerly, and in vain, awaited by residents of Langenbruck (Canton Basel Country) on Sunday.
Instead of passing over a gathering to mark the centenary of the death of local aviation pioneer Oskar Bider, the planes flew over a yodelling festival in nearby Mümliswil.
According to a ministry of defence spokesman, the team leader spotted the large white tent of the yodelling get-together and, assuming it was the target, flew overhead. An unauthorised helicopter in the area added to the confusion.
The machines being used – F-5E Tiger II jets – aren’t equipped with GPS devices, the ministry added; they are over 40 years old and no longer used in real combat situations.
“Navigation is done on the basis of a map, a pen, and human sight,” the spokesman said.
The commander of the aerial display team apologised for the mix-up on Monday.