We Are Working to Cross Pollinate Our Many Years of Experience and Knowledge to Give the IAF Vintage Flight a Move Forward
Officer Commanding Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF), Squadron Leader Duncan Mason

Squadron Leader Duncan Mason How expensive is it to operate a unit like the BBMF?
We are an RAF unit but in terms of the scale of costing, we are a drop in the ocean, when compared to what it costs to run other frontline units. We always look at how we conduct our business, how we go about our business and making sure that we give the best value for money. We are confident that this is exactly what we do and for instance, last year, we did over a 1,000 individual aircraft appearances in the six month period of 2014, for huge events like 70 years of D-Day, we were representing the RAF and in many ways the UK to the world. The value that we represent as a result of there being so few units like ours makes us utterly convinced to have this unit in the UK and we are the envy of many in the world. In terms of the air force it really is insignificant the amount of money, that we as a unit cost, compared to what we bring to the nation. So absolutely, I would say that we bring enormous value for money and actually in the big scheme of things we cost relatively little to operate.

What does it take to operate and maintain these precious aeroplanes?
We have very complex maintenance plan and what that means is that it is very detailed in terms of when we service the aeroplanes and we have an agreement on how many hours we can fly on each aeroplane. This refers not to each particular aeroplane but each aeroplane type. So for instance, on the Lancaster we can fly 104 hours every year and the Spitfires we can fly 200 hours between the six of our Spitfires, so we split those hours between the six aeroplanes. For our two Hawker Hurricanes that we have, we can put about 140 hours between them. We have to stick to these hours as we can’t fly any more than that because in terms of cost everything is broken down so that after a certain number of hours, those aeroplanes will have to go in for a certain amount of servicing.

So, the whole programme is costed to ensure that we spend within our allocated budget and we aren’t just flying them day in and day out. We have to be very careful with those hours but the intention is to fly the aircraft and display them and not just have them sitting in a hangar. We definitely use all the hours that we have allocated for a particular aircraft type and we most definitely fly them till all of those hours are accumulated.

How closely does the BBMF interact with the IAF Vintage Flight?
We are working to cross pollinate our many years of experience and knowledge to give the IAF Vintage Flight a move forward. I think the Chief of the Air Staff of the IAF, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha absolutely sees the value of what we do in terms of engagement of the public and also in terms of representing the UK to other countries. Our engagement with the IAF Vintage Flight has been there right from the start and we would have loved to do more. Unfortunately, we are not a training unit and we only have two full time air-crew and we have an enormous engineering and operational task to do. We would love to be able to do a little more with the Indian Vintage Flight and I do hope that I can come and help them in any way in the future at some point.


Comments (4) Share

  © 2015 FORCE ARROWHEAD MEDIA PVT. LTD. All Rights Reserved. Private Area | Old Link Directory | Privacy Policy | Terms & Conditions | Sitemap