The 2023 BBMF Members’ Day was held at RAF Coningsby on Saturday 30th September, the latest in a long line of the annual exclusive events to say thank you to the members of the RAF Memorial Flight Official Club and the Lincolnshire’s Lancaster Association for their support. Traditionally held at the end of the flying display season, Members’ Day sees the BBMF welcoming a large crowd of Club and Association members and their personal guests. BBMF Members’ Day is an exclusive tickets-only event, open only to members and not to the general public.
The extremely well-organised park-and-ride system, with double-decker buses ferrying people quickly and efficiently to and from the car park, a system that was introduced last year, was once again very successful, with queuing times shorter than for the previously-used entrance of earlier years. The bus tour through the base at RAF Coningsby also allows members to see parts of the airfield not normally open to the public.
On arrival at the BBMF there was a good number of stalls in the hangar providing additional interest and retail opportunities, and there were also several outlets selling a variety of hot food.
This year the small display of static aircraft included a 29 Squadron Eurofighter Typhoon, the BBMF’s two Chipmunks and the Polish Heritage Flight’s Hurricane Mk XIIA G-HURI which wears the 302 (City of Poznan) Squadron markings of P3935 ‘WX-D’ on its port side, and P2954 ‘WX-E’ on its starboard side. In addition, four unusual aircraft from the Real Aeroplane Club at Breighton were present in the static park: a Miles Magister open-cockpit Second World War trainer, a Bucker Jungmann biplane, a Piper Cub and a French Max Holste MH1521 Broussard (similar to a de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver).
Under cloudy skies, the flying display began at 12.15 with a BBMF fighter tail-chase display featuring Hurricane Mk IIC PZ865 and Spitfire Mk Vb AB910. This was followed by a superb BBMF five-ship formation which arrived from crowd rear with the Lancaster leading four fighters: Hurricane PZ865 on its starboard wing, Spitfire AB910 on its port wing and Spitfires Mk IX MK356 and IIa P7350 in line astern behind. The formation was neat and tight and the sound was glorious.
Next up was the Rolls-Royce fighter pair, supporting the BBMF Members’ Day for a second year in a row with their North American P-51D Mustang and Spitfire PR Mk XIX PS853. They flew some passes in formation and then split for individual displays before departing back to their home at East Midlands Airport before the weather there drew in.
BBMF then flew their signature three-ship display with the Lancaster and Spitfires MK356 and P7350. The Lancaster element of the display also involved the Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4 display aircraft in tight line astern formation on the Lancaster. This is a special display, a tribute to the ‘Dambusters’ in the year of the 80th anniversary of the ‘Dams Raid’, that has been seen at several air shows this year. When the pair split, the Typhoon flew its full, solo, ear-shattering display. The show closed with a final Spitfire tail-chase with Spitfires MK356 and P7350. As the final BBMF aircraft landed at 15.00 it began to rain; perfect timing!
The 2023 BBMF Members’ Day has met with complimentary comments and wide acclaim from all those who attended; it was a wonderful event enjoyed by all who were there and a fine way for the BBMF to thank its supporters.