The Fighter Pilots
Officer Commanding BBMF Squadron Leader Andy 'Milli' Millikin
Squadron Leader Andy Millikin was born in 1973 and was educated at Stamford school. He studied Politics and International Relations at Southampton University. With a long held aspiration to become an RAF pilot he joined Southampton University Air Squadron in 1992 flying the Bulldog where he accrued the imaginative moniker “Milli”. He became an RAF Bursar the following year.
After completing his degree in 1995 he joined the Royal Air Force. Once he had finished flying training in 1999 he was privileged to be selected to fly the Jaguar on 6 Squadron at RAF Coltishall in Norfolk. During this tour he took part in exercises in Alaska, California, France, Denmark and Oman. He also flew on Op RESINATE over Iraq to enforce the No-Fly Zone which protected the Kurds from Saddam Hussein. In 2003 he completed the Jaguar Qualified Weapons Instructor course. Milli joined 54(F) Squadron in 2003 where he flew in Oman, Denmark, France, Gibraltar, Cyprus, Norway and Canada. He accrued over 1200 hours on the Jaguar before he was fortunate enough to be selected for an early posting to the Typhoon in 2005. He joined 17(R) Squadron and was involved in the operational development of the aircraft, specialising in its defensive aids system and its capability as a strike platform. The associated trials flying resulted in a large amount of time spent in the Nevada and Mojave deserts.
Milli was promoted in 2008 and posted as a flight commander on 29(R) Squadron where he became a CFS accredited Qualified Pilot Instructor, teaching both RAF and Royal Saudi Air Force pilots to fly the Typhoon. He ran the first Typhoon Qualified Weapons Instructor course in 2009. Because of his air-to-surface experience he was detached to XI Squadron on Operation ELLAMY flying the Typhoon in the RAF’s highly successful mission to protect the people of Libya against Muamar Gaddafhi. That year he was also lucky enough to intercept 2 Russian Bear bombers off the coast of northern Scotland. He joined the Typhoon Mission Support Centre in 2011 but continued to instruct on 29(R) Sqn and fly the Typhoon with the 3(F) Sqn. He routinely conducted Quick Reaction Alert duties to protect the security of the UK’s airspace. That year he joined the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight as a volunteer pilot flying the Chipmunk, Hurricane and Spitfire. He has been the leader of the Synchro display since 2013. The 2016 display season will be his 5th and his first as the “Boss”.
Milli is a third generation RAF pilot; his grandfather won the DFC during two operational tours on Lancasters as well as flying the Spitfire as a Unit Test Pilot. His father flew and displayed the Vulcan bomber and took part in both the Falklands and Gulf wars. His younger brother is a Voyager tanker captain and has flown in Gulf War 2, Afghanistan, Libya and currently Op SHADER. He is a school governor and when he isn’t allowed to fly he enjoys aviation history, running and photography.
Squadron Leader Mark Discombe AFC
Squadron Leader Mark ‘Disco’ 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 was awarded the Air Force Cross on 10 Feb 2017 for safely landing one of the BBMF Hurricanes following a major failure in the oil system. With leaking oil staining the fuselage and windscreen Disco flew the Hurricane back to RAF Coningsby and, with the oil pressure dropping to critical levels and his visibility restricted by oil on the windscreen and canopy, executed a faultless forced landing on the runway and brought the aircraft safely to a halt. Disco had only 30 hours flying on type when he landed from this emergency.
Disco is married with two young children & when he has some spare time enjoys reading, running, skiing and private flying with his family. The 2015 season was 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.
Flight Lieutenant Andy Preece
Andy joined the RAF in 1991 initially as a navigator before re-training as a pilot. His first posting was to the Tornado GR1 where following a successful operational and weapons conversion, he served in Germany at RAF Brüggen with No. 17(F) Squadron. His next tour was as an instructor at RAF Cottesmore where he taught Italian and German Pilots and Navigators, as well as RAF students. During his time on the Tornado, Andy flew numerous missions over Iraq as part of Operations Jural, Warden and Bolton. During his RAF career he has flown the Tornado GR1, Hawk, Tucano, Harrier GR7/T10, Dominie and the Grob Tutor. Andy is a Qualified Flying Instructor (QFI) and a Qualified Pilot Navigator Instructor (QPNI). He was the RAF Tutor Solo Aerobatic Display Pilot in 2007, 2008, 2014 and 2015 during which time he performed at more than 200 public displays. Andy has over 4000 hrs on 12 different aircraft types. In his spare time he enjoys hill walking, cycling and photography. This is Andy’s first year with the BBMF. When not flying with the Flight, Andy teaches new military pilots to fly the Grob Tutor as part of No 3FTS at RAF Cranwell.
Wing Commander Stu Smiley
WingCommander Stu Smiley’s first ever flight in an aircraft was as an Air Cadet inthe Chipmunk at Exeter airport. He joined the RAF as a direct entrant in1990 and following flying training was selected to be a fighter pilot on theRAFs only Air Defence platform, theTornado F3 – he never wanted to be a bomber pilot! After nearly 10 years,2 front line tours and having become a Qualified Weapons Instructor he waspromoted to Squadron Leader. After a short staff tour he was selected tofly the F15C Eagle on exchange with the US Air Force at Eglin AFB in Floridawhere continued in his aspiration to be a real fighter pilot. After 3challenging, but very enjoyable, years flying Eagles on the beach in Florida hereturned to the UK for numerous staff tours, including a year at StaffCollege. In September 2015 he became Officer Commanding Operations Wingat RAF Coningsby where he has had the privilege to finally fulfil his dream ofbecoming a true fighter pilot while honouring those who gave so much for each andevery one of us.
Stuhas 2 teenage children and enjoys cycling, skiing, reading and spending timewith his children. 2016 will be his first season on the BBMF.