The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) is investigating the factors behind a fatal crash involving a Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF)-operated Supermarine Spitfire on 25 May.

Squadron Leader Mark Long was killed when the Mk IXe aircraft – registered MK356 – crashed near the BBMF’s home at RAF Coninsgby in Lincolnshire. He had four years of experience in flying the type for the historic flight, displaying it in addition to his frontline duty operating the Eurofighter Typhoon.

“An investigation into the cause of this tragic event has now begun,” says Group Captain Robbie Lees, commander display air wing. “The RAF will not be offering any comment on the accident until that investigation has concluded,” he adds.

BBMF Spitfire

Source: Lisa Harding/Bav Media/Shutterstock

BBMF-operated Spitfire Mk IXe fighter crashed near RAF Coninsgby on 25 May

The incident is the first fatal loss to have involved a BBMF aircraft since its formation in 1957. The Flight Safety Foundation’s online Aviation Safety Network reports that the accident aircraft was built in 1944.

An RAF fact page details the BBMF’s inventory as having included six Spitfires prior to the loss. It also has two Hawker Hurricanes, and single examples of the Avro Lancaster and Douglas DC-3 Dakota.