Pilot killed in Spitfire crash as Battle of Britain planes grounded

Squadron Leader Mark Long has been named as the Royal Air Force pilot who died in a Spitfire crash near RAF Coningsby.
-Credit: (Image: MoD/PA Wire)


The Royal Air Force has temporarily paused the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight after a pilot died in a Spitfire crash. Squadron Leader Mark Long was killed in the crash at RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire at around 1:30pm on Saturday (May 25).

The RAF said it has taken the decision to ground the aircraft while investigations take place, the BBC reports. A spokesperson said: "Following the tragic accident at RAF Coningsby, and while the formal investigation is ongoing, the RAF has instigated a temporary pause in flying for the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight [BBMF]."

The BBMF had several events planned to mark the 80th anniversary of the D-Day Landings and Operation Market Garden. These included displays at the English Riviera Airshow in Paignton on June 1 and June 2, and Plymouth Armed Forces Day on June 29.

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In a statement, the RAF said Sqn Ldr Long was "a great friend, colleague and a passionate, professional aviator". He was a Typhoon pilot at RAF Coningsby and for the last four years he had been a pilot with the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

The Prince and Princess of Wales were among those who earlier paid tribute to the pilot. They said they were "incredibly sad" to learn of the death, adding their thoughts were with the pilot's family, the BBMF and the wider RAF.

Group Captain Robbie Lees, Commander Display Air Wing, said in an official statement following the incident: "I would like to extend a sincere thank you to the RAF personnel and our emergency services colleagues who responded so swiftly yesterday.

"Our thoughts remain with Mark's family and friends to whom we offer our deepest sympathies. We ask that their privacy be respected at this tragic and shocking time."