Battle of Britain Memorial Flight not taking part in Armed Forces Day

Published: 24 June 2024

BBMF Spitfires. Crown Copyright

The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) will not take part in this Sunday's Isle of Wight Armed Forces Day as it remains grounded in the wake of the fatal Spitfire crash.

The Defence Air Investigation Branch is continuing its investigation into last month's accident which claimed the life of Typhoon and BBMF pilot Squadron Leader Mark Long.

The 43-year-old was killed when the Spitfire he was flying crashed in a field in Lincolnshire, just minutes after taking off.

Two BBMF Spitfires were due to put on a 'chase display' over Ryde this weekend, but that has now been cancelled while the cause of the crash is investigated.

Ian Dore, Isle of Wight Armed Forces Day organiser, said: "This announcement will obviously resonate disappointment, but safety remains the number one priority.

"I would personally like to thank the teams at BBMF and the RAF for showing incredible resilience at what is still a very difficult time for all concerned. Our thoughts remain with the Squadron Leader Mark Long and his family.

"People may ask, can we add a civilian aircraft? The fact is, we did try but even at the time, we're way out of the licensing window as non-military aircraft are subject to CAA rules.

"We could have bought in military aircraft with no restriction, but despite further requests, there are none available. It is a shame but as I say, safety is the priority.

"Focusing back on the air activities for Sunday, the Red Arrows will be thundering overhead at 11.30am while the Royal Navy Parachute display team will be landing on the beach at 4pm. Plus of course there is much to see and do on the ground!"

For a full round up of attractions and the running order, visit the official Isle of Wight Armed Forces Day website.

Photo: BBMF Crown Copyright