RAF Battle of Britain Flight to miss Trooping the Colour flypast after fatal Spitfire crash

Squadron Leader Mark Long was killed in the crash,with the cause still unknown

Credit: Crown Copyright

The RAF’s Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) is to miss its traditional Trooping the Colour flypast,after a fatal Spitfire crash earlier this year.

The group of Second World War-vintage aeroplanes was grounded after one of its Spitfires crashed in May,killing its pilot,Squadron Leader Mark Long.

Last year,the RAF sent its Lancaster,two Hurricanes and a Spitfire to pass over the royal parade,flying up the Mall and over the top of Buckingham Palace.

An RAF spokesman said: “Due to the ongoing pause in flying for the BBMF after the tragic accident on May 25 2024,regretfully,the BBMF will not be participating in the forthcoming flypast for His Majesty the King’s birthday on June 15 2024.”

The BBMF includes a Lancaster bomber

Credit: Paul Marriott/Alamy

Other RAF aircraft will still take part in Trooping the Colour,including a Typhoon fighter jet painted in D-Day commemorative colours,the RAF said.

Sqn Ldr Long was killed in May after taking off in the flight’s Mark IX Spitfire for a routine air display.

The BBMF was grounded for this year’s 80th commemoration of D -Day and senior RAF sources had previously hinted it might also miss Trooping the Colour,which takes place this year on Saturday June 15.

An inquiry into Sqn Ldr Long's death is ongoing

Credit: MoD

The Spitfire in which Sqn Ldr Long was killed was itself a D-Day veteran,having shot down a German Messerschmitt over France the day after the invasion. The RAF was forced to fill in some of the BBMF’s planned appearances for the Normandy landings with modern aircraft. 

Experts from the Defence Accident Investigation Branch are still examining the wreckage of the Spitfire,and RAF sources have said that an expedited formal investigation,known as a service inquiry,is taking place.

Sources familiar with BBMF engineering practices said the flight’s aircraft were some of the best-maintained in the world,but highlighted the age and provenance of some spare parts.

Sqn Ldr Long’s family paid tribute to the father of two after the crash,saying he was “cherished and deeply missed by us all”.

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