Red Arrows pay tribute to Spitfire crash pilot

Home UK News Red Arrows pay tribute to Spitfire crash pilot
Red Arrows pay tribute to Spitfire crash pilot

MOD Sqn Ldr Mark LongMOD

Sqn Ldr Mark Long was described as a “passionate aviator” in a tribute by the RAF

The Red Arrows have shared their “heartfelt condolences” after the death of a pilot when his Spitfire crashed into a Lincolnshire field.

Emergency crews were called shortly before 13:20 BST on 25 May to the site near RAF Coningsby where Sqn Ldr Mark Long crashed.

Red Arrows team leader Sqn Ldr Jon Bond said he and fellow pilots were supporting Sqn Ldr Long’s family “as much as we can”.

The display team is getting ready to start its 60th anniversary season after returning from winter training in Greece on Saturday.

Sqn Ldr Jon Bond

Sqn Ldr Jon Bond said “things can change quickly” when flying

The RAF said a “comprehensive investigation” was now under way to determine the cause of the Spitfire crash.

Speaking to BBC Radio Lincolnshire, Sqn Ldr Bond said: “Awful news to come back to on Saturday.

“Our absolute heartfelt condolences go to Mark’s family, all at the BBMF (Battle of Britain Memorial Flight) and all at RAF Coningsby.

“It’s hit us very hard. Most of us were either instructed by Mark or saw him on the display circuit over the years.

“All we can do is support Mark’s family and the team as much as we can.”

He added: “It’s always in the back of our minds whenever we go flying that things can change so quickly.”

PA Red Arrows PA

A nine-aircraft show will perform across the UK to celebrate the 60th anniversary

The first show of the team’s diamond display season will take place on Friday at the Midlands Air Festival in Warwickshire.

The aerobatic team will continue to appear at shows throughout the UK until their final 2024 show on 5 October in Cambridgeshire.

Sqn Ldr Bond said the public will see special manoeuvres including a 60 shape made in the air to mark the anniversary.

He said: “We can’t wait to get started and are hoping people will enjoy what they see.”

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