The final day of our aircraft profile for the B/E Aerospace Festival of Flight in Newcastle is the RAF Eurofighter Typhoon. A regular in Newcastle making its 5th appearance. And with being one of the most impressive and most talked about displays in 2015, The Typhoon Display is sure to be the star of the 2016 show!
When you see the Typhoon performing on this year’s display circuit it will be the culmination of months of hard work, detailed preparation and concerted effort by the team behind the display. Whilst it is the pilot who displays the aircraft, he cannot even begin to do his job without the unfaltering commitment and backing of the dedicated group of professionals that make up the Typhoon Display Team.
This year’s team, from 29(R) Squadron, comprises a specialist from every aircraft trade along with support and management teams to assist both the pilot and the trades, all of whom work closely together to bring you the dazzling spectacle that is the Typhoon Display.
Every member of the team has been hand picked from what is already an elite cadre of skilled personnel at RAF Coningsby. They have proven themselves in their day jobs and are now privileged and proud to represent the very best in excellence and dedication that the Royal Air Force can offer.
The teams look forward to the unique challenges that a display season brings and the opportunity to showcase the Royal Air Force Typhoon 2016 display to the general public.
The Eurofighter Typhoon is the world’s most advanced swing-role combat aircraft providing simultaneously deployable Air-to-Air and Air-to-Surface capabilities.
It is in service with 6 customers across 20 operational units and has been ordered by a seventh. The aircraft has demonstrated, and continues to demonstrate, high reliability across the globe in all climates. It has been combat proven during operations in Libya.
Development of the aircraft effectively began in 1983 with the Future European Fighter Aircraft programme, a multinational collaborative effort between the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. Because of disagreements over design authority and operational requirements, France left the consortium to develop the Dassault Rafale independently instead.
A technology demonstration aircraft, the British Aerospace EAP, first took flight on 6 August 1986; the first prototype of the finalised Eurofighter made its first flight on 27 March 1994. The name of the aircraft, Typhoon, was formally adopted in September 1998; the first production contracts were signed that same year.
Flight Lieutenant Mark Long
The 2016 Typhoon Display Pilot is Flt Lt Mark Long, known as ‘Schlongy’, whowas born in Bury St Edmunds and grew up in Essex.
Mark was introduced to flying with frequent visits to both Duxford and Mildenhall Airshows, and always aspired to join the RAF. Without his parents knowledge, on his 17th Birthday Mark walked into Cambridge Armed Forces Careers Office and professed his ambition to fly fast jets in the Royal Air Force…. 4 months later he was awarded a RAF Bursary to study Economics.
Whilst studying at the University of Warwick, Mark learnt to fly the Bulldog and Grob Tutor on the University of Birmingham Air Squadron.
Mark graduated from Initial Officer Training in 2003 and was subsequently sent to RAF Linton On Ouse to fly the Tucano. He was awarded his ‘wings’ in 2004 and began his Advanced Flying Training (AFT) on the Hawk in 2005. Mark was selected to remain on 208(R) Sqn to take on the role of a ‘creamie’ instructor.
On completion of his instructional tour, Mark was role disposed to the Harrier GR7/9 and was posted to 1(F) Sqn, RAF Cottesmore. During his time on the Harrier, Mark achieved Combat Ready status and participated in a number of major exercises. He was also the last RAF Harrier pilot qualified to conduct operations off an aircraft carrier.
In 2012 Mark joined the Typhoon Force, and was assigned to 11 Sqn at RAF Coningsby, where he revalidated his Combat Ready qualifications. Mark has deployed on Air Policing duties in the Baltic States, in addition to holding QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) duties in the UK and South Atlantic.
It was back to instructional duties in 2014, with a posting to 29(R) Sqn. His primary role is to teach the student pilots how to operate the Typhoon, ensuring they are trained and ready to join a Typhoon frontline squadron. Additional to his instructional duties, Mark contributes to RAF Coningsby’s primary task of defending UK sovereign airspace.
Mark lives in Lincolnshire, with his wife Beth and his two daughters. In his spare time Mark enjoys spending time with his family, cooking, playing all racket sports, golf and getting out on his motorbikes. He regularly rides at Cadwell Park, striving to achieve respectable lap times on his Track Bikes.
Last years Typhoon display was called the best ever seen at Newcastle, so there are high expectations on Mark Long this year, and from what we have seen already of him in the Typhoon in 2016 he is really making a case for best Typhoon display yet!
Info from RAF Website. Photo from Fighter Control.
We hope you have enjoyed our Aircraft profiles each day in the run up to the B/E Aerospace Festival of Flight in Newcastle. We believe this Saturday will see some amazing displays. So to you all, have a great weekend, and enjoy the main event, kicking off at the new time of 2:15pm on Saturday 6th August!