The Historic Aircraft Association wishes to extend the most heartfelt condolences to the family of Squadron Leader Mark Long, and to his friends and colleagues on the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. His death on May 25 shortly after take-off in a Spitfire, was the first fatality recorded by the historic flight since its establishment in 1957.

Sqn Ldr Long qualified to fly Spitfires in 2021 and was due to take over running the BBMF from its current commanding officer in late 2024. He joined the Air Force in 2003, having graduated from the University of Warwick and well as being the RAF’s Typhoon display pilot in 2016 he was also the last RAF Harrier pilot qualified to fly from an aircraft carrier. During his career on the Typhoon force, Sqn Ldr Long was posted to 11 Squadron at Coningsby, deploying to the Baltics and the South Atlantic.

The RAF confirmed that while an investigation into the cause of the crash takes place BBMF aircraft will remain grounded. 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.”