RAF temporarily grounds Battle of Britain planes during investigation into spitfire pilot's death

RAF temporarily grounds Battle of Britain planes during investigation into spitfire pilot's death
RAF Confirm death of Spitfire pilot
Holly Bishop

By Holly Bishop

Published: 27/05/2024

- 16:19

Updated: 27/05/2024

- 17:38

Squadron Leader Mark Long was killed when the spitfire he was flying crashed into a field in Lincolshire

The Battle of Britain Memorial flight has been grounded by the Royal Air Force following the death of a pilot.

Squadron Leader Mark Long died after his spitfire crashed into a field near RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire.

The RAF said it has decided to temporarily ground the aircraft while investigations take place.

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)."

Squadron Leader Mark LongRAF temporarily grounds Battle of Britain planes during investigation into spitfire pilot's deathRAF

Officials also posted on Facebook to add that the BBMF visitor centre would remain closed until further notice.

The BBMF planes, which include Spitfires, Hurricanes and a Lancaster bomber, are a popular attraction at summer shows. A flypast had been due to take place at Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre, near Spilsby, today.

The RAF paid tribute to the pilot, describing him as a "great friend, colleague, and a passionate, professional aviator."

A spokesperson has asked members of the public to respect the privacy of Mark's family.


Commander Display Air Wing Group Captain Robbie Lees said: "It is with great sorrow that I must confirm the death of Squadron Leader Mark Long.

“Mark was a Typhoon pilot here at RAF Coningsby and for the last four years he has been a pilot with the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. A great friend, colleague and a passionate, professional aviator, he will be sorely missed by all that knew him.

“An investigation into the cause of this tragic event has now begun. The RAF will not be offering any comment on the accident until that investigation has concluded, and likewise we ask others not to speculate.

"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."

\u200bEmergency services at the scene in LincolnshireEmergency services at the scene in Lincolnshire Submitted

A spokesperson from Lincolnshire Police said: "We are sad to confirm that a man has died after a plane crashed into a field on Langrick Road in Coningsby earlier today.

"The man was the pilot and sole occupant of the aircraft. Police are not in a position to confirm his name but his next of kin have been informed. Nobody else is thought to have been injured as a result.

"The incident was called into police just before 1.20pm today (Saturday, May 25) and emergency services were immediately dispatched to the scene.

"Sadly, the injuries the pilot sustained were not survivable and he was declared deceased at the scene. Investigations are ongoing into the cause."

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