The Fighter Pilots
Officer Commanding BBMF Squadron Leader Dunc Mason
Squadron Leader Dunc Mason joined the Royal Air Force in January 1991 and after flying training, flew the Harrier GR7 at RAF Laarbruch. He was posted to be flying, tactics and weapons instructor at RAF Valley and subsequently cut his teeth on display flying on joining the Royal Air Force’s Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows in 2002.
After displaying with The Reds for the 2003 - 2005 seasons, he rejoined the Harrier Force as a Flight Commander on 1(Fighter) Squadron and 800 Naval Air Squadron and flew on operations in Afghanistan as well as on exercises around the globe on land and sea.
Dunc joined the BBMF for the 2009 display season and has had the privilege of flying all of the fighters for the last six years. He took over as Officer Commanding of the Flight in October 2012.
2015 will be Dunc's seventh and last season with the Flight.
Wing Commander Justin "Hells" Helliwell
Justin got the aeroplane bug flying Bulldogs on Liverpool University Air Squadron whilst occasionally reading Physics. He entered the RAF as a University Cadet joining full-time on graduation in 1992. After completing training on Tucano and Hawk, he was posted in 1998 to 5(AC) Sqn Tornado F3 at RAF Coningsby and served on operations over Iraq and also on homeland defence of the UK and Falkland Islands.
Known imaginatively as “Hells”, he graduated as a Qualified Weapons Instructor in 2002 and was posted to the Operational Test & Evaluation Sqn where he helped introduce the Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missile (AMRAAM); firing the first in-service missile in 2004. Hells transferred to 17(R) Sqn testing Typhoon in 2005 before being selected to serve on exchange in Las Vegas with the USAF’s largest fighter squadron, the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron. In the US he served as an Assistant Director of Operations and flew all blocks of F-16 whilst also participating in the test of A-10, F-15 and F-22.
On return to the UK, Hells undertook a ground tour at MoD Abbey Wood being promoted mid-tour to Wg Cdr. He took command of Operations Wing at RAF Coningsby in June 2013, after completing a Typhoon conversion with 29(R) Sqn.
Hells is married with 3 children and is an avid rugby, cricket and skiing fan, also coaching rugby and cricket in local schools and clubs. This is his first season with the Flight.
Squadron Leader Andy "Milli" Millikin
Squadron Leader Andy Millikin was educated at Stamford school and Southampton University. Imaginatively nicknamed “Milli”, he became a member of Southampton University Air Squadron in 1992.
He joined the RAF in 1995 and after completing his flying training, he was selected to fly the Jaguar on 6 Squadron at RAF Coltishall. There he flew on operations over Iraq to protect the Kurds from Saddam Hussein. Milli was then selected for the Qualified Weapons Instructor course which he completed in 2003 and joined 54(F) Squadron.
In his time on the Jaguar, he accrued over 1200 hours and flew on exercises in America, Oman, Denmark, France, Gibraltar, Cyprus, Norway and Canada.
He crossed over to the Typhoon in 2005 and joined 17(R) Squadron. He was involved in the operational development of the aircraft, specialising in its capability asa strike platform. Promoted in 2008 he became a flight commander on 29(R) Squadron where he became a Qualified Pilot Instructor, teaching both RAF and Saudi pilots to fly the Typhoon. He also ran the first Typhoon Qualified Weapons Instructor course. Because of his strike experience he was detached to 11 Squadron in the summer of 2011 flying the Typhoon on operations over Libya.
He is a third generation aviator; his grandfather, father and brother all being RAF pilots. Milli is married with 2 young children and when he isn’t allowed to fly enjoys real ale, running and photography.
Squadron Leader Mark "Disco" Discombe
Squadron Leader Mark Discombe was aircraft mad from an early age, being taken by his Father to every St Athan airshow since he was 3 and joining the Air Training Corps, where he first experienced flying in a Chipmunk. After joining the RAF straight from school in November 1989 and completing fast jet training, he was selected to become a first tourist Qualified Flying Instructor, a ‘creamie’. It was during this tour, initially flying the Jet Provost, that he became the 1994 RAF Linton-on-Ouse Tucano display pilot as a 23 year old flying officer.
After completing his weapons training he was selected to fly the Jaguar, which he flew for nearly 10 years. Over this period he amassed more than 2200 hours on type becoming the force’s Central Flying School Agent and Command Instrument Rating Instructor. He also flew peace keeping missions over Bosnia and Iraq, partook in all the varieties of ‘Flag’ exercise at the time and was a key part in expanding the Jaguar’s night attack role. After a short UK staff tour and a NATO tour in Germany, Disco is currently the Deputy Chief Instructor for tri-service Elementary Flying Training based at RAF Cranwell.
Disco is married with a 1½ year old son and when he has some spare time enjoys reading, running, skiing and private flying with his family. The 2015 season will be his first with the Flight.
Flight Lieutenant Antony "Parky" Parkinson MBE
Flight Lieutenant Antony Parkinson, known as Parky, joined the RAF at 18 and has been flying ever since. He was privileged to be the first pilot to gain 1000 hours flying the RAF's latest fighter: the Euro Fighter Typhoon and has also flown over 1000 hours on 3 other types - Phantom F4, Tornado F3 and Hawk with the Red Arrows. He also flew the F16 for 3 years with the Royal Netherlands Air Force and has over 6500 flying hours in total.
Married to Ann, most spare time is taken up with 4 children; Edward, James, George and Lucy ranging from 17 to 3 years old. This is his 8th year with the Flight.
Parky is now the Operations Officer as well as one of our fighter pilots.