D-Day 80: Battle of Britain Memorial aircraft unlikely to fly after death of Spitfire pilot Mark Long

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) aircraft are “not expected” to fly in D-Day commemorations amid an investigation into the death of a pilot in a Spitfire crash, the RAF has said.

Squadron Leader Mark Long was killed when the Spitfire he was flying crashed in a field near RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire. Police and emergency services rushed to the scene on Langrick Road just before 1.20pm on Saturday. Mr Long was declared dead at the scene.

Mr Long’s family said he “lived his life with an unwavering passion” and “will be cherished and deeply missed” in a statement. An RAF spokesperson said earlier this week that a temporary pause was in place while an investigation into the incident is ongoing.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
The late Sqd Ldr Mark Long who flew with the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.The late Sqd Ldr Mark Long who flew with the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.
The late Sqd Ldr Mark Long who flew with the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

On Friday, the RAF said the cause of the incident “remains unknown”, so a decision has been made to continue the pause in flying for the BBMF. As a result, BBMF aircraft are not expected to be able to participate in the D-Day 80 commemorations on June 5 and 6.

An RAF spokesperson said: “On May 25 2024 a Spitfire from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) crashed in the vicinity of RAF Coningsby, resulting in the tragic death of the pilot, Sqn Ldr Mark Long. The Defence Air Investigation Branch (DAIB) are continuing their investigation. At this stage, the cause of the incident remains unknown and therefore, after extensive consultation between the Chief of the Air Staff and relevant senior RAF officers, it has been decided to continue the pause in flying for the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF).

“As always, flight safety remains the RAF’s primary concern, therefore BBMF flying will only resume when it is safe and appropriate to do so. As a result, regretfully, BBMF aircraft are not expected to be able to participate in the forthcoming D-Day 80 commemorations over June 5-6 2024.”

RAF Coningsby is home to the BBMF, a collection of wartime fighter and bomber aircraft that take part in air shows and memorial displays. Only a few dozen airworthy Spitfires remain, including six that belong to the BBMF. The RAF announcement comes after a planned Spitfire flyover for the Denmead Overlord Show was cancelled on Monday, May 26.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.