Shropshire Star

Tributes paid at Cosford Air Show to Spitfire pilot killed in Lincolnshire crash

Tributes were paid at the RAF Cosford Air Show to a 'passionate' pilot who was killed in a Spitfire crash a fortnight ago.

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Squadron Leader Mark Long had strong links to RAF Cosford, where he visited when he was a member of the University of Birmingham's Air Squadron and learning to fly.

Sqn Ldr Long, 43, had also taken part in the 2016 Typhoon display at RAF Cosford Air Show and was described by an RAF contemporary as being "passionate about aviation".

A Spitfire and Mustang of the Rolls Royce Heritage Flight also dedicated their display to Sdn Ldr Long, who was killed in the air crash on May 25 in Lincolnshire.

Speaking on behalf of RAF Cosford at Sunday's air show, Squadron Leader Chris Wilson said he had met Sqn Ldr Long at least once.

"He had been a member of the University of Birmingham Air Squadron and visited RAF Cosford as a student," said Sdn Ldr Wilson.

"He also flew here as part of the Typhoon display team in 2016 so he had strong links to Cosford.

"He was a really nice man - passionate about aviation, and helpful. If he could do something for you, he would.

"It is really nice that the Rolls Royce Heritage Flight wanted to dedicate their display to him."

As the Defence Accident Investigation Branch investigates the cause of the crash, the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) was temporarily grounded and did not take part in D-Day commemoration events.

Mark graduated from Initial Officer Training in 2003 and was subsequently sent to RAF Linton on Ouse to fly the Tucano, gaining his ‘wings’ in 2004.

He was the last RAF Harrier pilot qualified to conduct operations off of an aircraft carrier.

In 2012 Sqn Ldr Long joined the Typhoon Force, and was assigned to XI Squadron at RAF Coningsby, before an assignment to 29 Squadron in 2014 on instructional duties. In 2016 he was the Typhoon display pilot. His primary role was to teach the student pilots how to operate the Typhoon.

He lived in Lincolnshire with his wife, two daughters and dog. 2024 was his fourth season with the BBMF.