The Fighter Pilots
Group Captain Johnny Stringer
Group Captain Johnny Stringer joined the Royal Air Force in September 1990, having been sponsored by the Service through both 6th Form and University. After initial officer training and flying training, Johnny was posted to the Jaguar Force from 1993-2003, serving as a squadron pilot, Qualified Weapons Instructor and Flight Commander/Sqn XO. Staff tours followed in MOD (SO2 Future Combat Air Capability in the Equipment Capability area), HQ 1 Group (SO1 Jaguar) and as Military Assistant to Director General Typhoon. From September 2007-October 2009, Johnny commanded No.29 Squadron RAF, the Typhoon Operational Conversion Unit. Promoted on posting, Stringer served as DACOS J3C (Ops Support) at PJHQ from October 2009-September 2011; his responsibilities across Ops HERRICK and ELLAMY included Air and Aviation, Targeting, ISR, Joint Fires, ROE, Influence/IO, Cyber, Geo, and the TLAM and Storm Shadow Cruise Missile planning/support agencies within J3. Stringer’s deployed operational experience includes Op DENY FLIGHT over the Former Yugoslavia from 1994-1998 and Op RESOLUTE (NORTH) over the Iraqi Northern No Fly Zone from 1999-2002. Educated at Watford Boys’ Grammar School and New College Oxford, Johnny has Masters degrees in Modern History from Oxford, and Defence Studies from Kings College London. Following a single term Visiting Fellowship at Oxford in October 2011, Johnny attended Higher Command and Staff Course in 2012 before assuming command of RAF Coningsby in October 2012. Married to Lisa, the Stringers have two sons (James, 14, going on 21, and Henry, 12). Interests include history, literature (albeit as a pathetically slow reader), cycling, and food and drink. This is his first season with the Flight.
Wing Commander Paul "Godders" Godfrey
Wg Cdr Godfrey joined the RAF in 1991 progressing through flying training on the Jet Provost and Hawk. Posted to the Harrier in 1994, he flew in various operations in the Balkans with IV(AC) Sqn, based at RAF Laarbruch in Germany between 1995 and 1998. Returning to IV(AC) Sqn as a Qualified Weapons Instructor, he moved with them back to the UK where he began an instructional tour on 20(R) Sqn, the Harrier OCU. In 2000, he was selected for an exchange tour as the first non-USAF pilot to fly the F-16CJ, serving on the 55th Fighter Sqn at Shaw AFB, South Carolina. Here he contributed to the post-9/11 homeland defence task and twice deployed on operations to the Middle East. On return from the USA Godders undertook a ground tour as a Typhoon Requirements Manager and, in 2005, was posted as a Flight Commander to 3(F) Sqn, the first Operational Typhoon Sqn. After completion of Staff College in 2009 he was posted to MOD as the Typhoon desk Officer and is now the Officer Commanding Operations at RAF Coningsby. This is his third season with BBMF.
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 will take command of Operations Wing in June, from Godders, 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 Duncan Mason
Joined the Royal Air Force in 1991 and after flying training completed tours on 3(F) Squadron RAF Laarbruch on the Harrier GR7 and 19(F) Squadron RAF Valley as a Flying and Weapons Instructor, on the Hawk T1. In 2002, Dunc was selected for the Royal Air Force Aerobatic team; The Red Arrows, displaying with them until 2005. He was then posted back to the Harrier as a Flight Commander on 1(F) Squadron and subsequently to 800 Naval Air Squadron, both based at RAF Cottesmore. Dunc undertook operations in the Balkans and Afghanistan with the Harrier GR9 and numerous exercises globally on land and at sea. Dunc is married with 3 children and in his spare time he enjoys all sports, particularly squash, cycling and mountaineering. Dunc is also Officer Commanding BBMF and one of only two full time pilots.
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 as 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.
Flight Lieutenant Antony Parkinson MBE
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 6000 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 6th year with the Flight. Parky is now the Operations Officer as well as one of our fighter pilots