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UK's Royal Air Force grounds WWII Spitfires after death

By AFP

May 27, 2024 11:55 PM


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Britain's Royal Air Force has grounded a fleet of World War II Spitfire planes following the death of a pilot in a weekend crash, officials said Monday.

The announcement raises questions about the legendary single-seat fighter aircraft's participation in events to mark the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings next month.

Pilot Mark Long was killed when flying a Spitfire belonging to a Battle of Britain memorial fleet crashed near the RAF Coningsby base in Lincolnshire, eastern England, on Saturday.

"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," a RAF spokesperson said.

The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) is a collection of wartime fighter and bomber aircraft that take part in air shows and memorial displays.

A few dozen airworthy Spitfires remain, including six based at RAF Coningsby.

They were due to take part in a national commemorative event in Portsmouth on June 5 to mark 80 years since Allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy in northern France, turning the tide of World War II away from Nazi Germany.

It is not known when the RAF's investigation will be complete or when a decision will be made on whether the vintage planes will fly again.


AFP


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