RAF grounds Battle of Britain Memorial Flight amid probe into Spitfire crash

The RAF has grounded the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) amid an investigation into the death of a pilot in a Spitfire crash.

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 in Lincolnshire just before 1.20pm on Saturday. Mr Long was declared dead at the scene.

An RAF spokesperson said a temporary pause is in place while an investigation into the incident is ongoing.

“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,” the spokesperson said.

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.

On Saturday, the Prince and Princess of Wales said on their Kensington Palace X account: “Incredibly sad to hear of the news this afternoon from RAF Coningsby.

“Our thoughts this evening are with the pilot’s loved ones, the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, and the wider RAF family. W & C.”

William was Honorary Air Commodore of RAF Coningsby from 2008 to August 2023, when he handed the role over to Kate.