Header image: The 2019 BBMF Experience Day prize winner, Club member Anthony Andrews (right), with his guests, granddaughter Melissa, daughter Katrine and her husband Philip. (Photos: Clive Rowley)
For the fourth successive year, the RAF Memorial Flight Official Club has been able to offer a fantastic ballot prize of a ‘money cannot buy it’, chance-of-a-lifetime Experience Day with the BBMF. Long-standing club member Anthony Andrews was this year’s lucky winner of the Experience Day prize. He was able to spend the day with the BBMF at the Flight’s home at RAF Coningsby on Saturday 29th June, Armed Forces Day. His guests, who shared the day with him, were his daughter Katrine, her husband Philip and their daughter Melissa. The group were allowed special access to the RAF Station at Coningsby and were hosted by former OC BBMF and your Club publications editor, Clive Rowley.
The weather on the day was fantastic, almost too warm at 30°C, but not as hot as it was for the pilots and crews who baked in the ‘glasshouse’ cockpits of the uncooled BBMF aircraft that day. Being Armed Forces Day it was an extremely busy day for the BBMF, with the Lancaster, the Dakota and two Spitfires departing, and all, except one Spitfire that landed away overnight, returning later in the day. Meanwhile, Hurricane Mk IIC PZ865 was flown on two sorties by the RAF Coningsby Station Commander, Group Captain Mark Flewin CBE, who completed no fewer than 14 flypasts over different venues that day, as well as a display at the Cleethorpes Armed Forces day event!
Anthony and his guests were treated to a behind the scenes tour of the BBMF HQ, they observed the Lancaster formation sortie briefing, watched all the many aircraft comings and goings, had a tour of the BBMF hangar to view the remaining aircraft, helped the ground crew to push a Hurricane and a Spitfire out of the hangar, and watched the ground crew do an engine run on Spitfire AB910, which wasn’t flying that day and so needed to be run. They also chatted with the BBMF pilots, aircrew and engineers and left with a clear impression of the complexities of a busy BBMF flying day. Anthony said: “We all really enjoyed the day and were so lucky with the weather and the numerous aircraft movements. There is a unique feeling of real team spirit at the BBMF, of which I am sure all current and former members are very proud.”