BBMF Engineers

BBMF Engineers

Warrant Officer Kevin Ball - Senior Engineering Officer RAF BBMF

WO Kevin Ball Kev joined the RAF in 1980 as a Direct Entrant Propulsion Technician. After training at RAF Halton he was posted to RAF Waddington, serving on Vulcan B2 and K2 until the aircraft was operationally withdrawn in 1984. A move to the Nimrod AEW3 followed prior to 3 years on the Vulcan Display Flight. In 1989, he was posted to the Tornado Engine Bay at Woodhall Spa and then on to the Tornado F3 with 56(R) Sqn. A tour at RAF Cosford followed, undertaking training design and development for the No1 School of Technical Training prior to a posting to RAF Marham as Propulsion Specialist in the Tornado GR4 Aircraft Engineering Development and Investigation Team.

In 2004 he moved to RAF Benson to manage the bay support of mechanical components and engines for the Merlin HC3 and Puma HC1. In 2007 he was posted to 41(R) Sqn, the Fast Jet and Weapons Operational Evaluation Unit, operating Tornado F3 and GR4 and Harrier GR9/9A. In 2011 he was assigned to 32(The Royal) Sqn at RAF Northolt to set up a Continuing Airworthiness Management Organisation for the Command Support Air Transport fleet of HS125, BAe146 and Agusta A109E. Kev has completed operational tours in the Falkland Islands and Iraq and many detachments throughout Europe, the Mediterranean, the Middle East and the USA. He became S Eng O BBMF in Sep 2012.

Kevin is married to Diane and they have two daughters. He enjoys running, cycling and golf and is an avid supporter of Nottingham Forest and all types of motorsport. He is also the Chairman of the Civilian Committee of 204 (City of Lincoln) Sqn Air Training Corps.

Flt Sgt Dean McAllister- Junior Engineering Officer RAF BBMF

Flt Sgt Dean McAllister Raised just 7 miles from the birthplace of Lancaster PA474, Dean joined the RAF in 1987 as an Airframes and Propulsion Apprentice. His first posting was to HQ SAR Wing RAF Finningley maintaining Sea Kings before relocating to RAF St Mawgan. After completing 3 tours in the Falkland Islands on 78 Sqn, life overseas beckoned with a posting onto IV(AC) Sqn Harriers at Laarbruch. IV(AC) Sqn were then relocated to RAF Cottesmore, where he spent a further 2 years. A brief year spent recruiting at the AFCO Nottingham was followed by a return to the Harrier Force on promotion, teaching Harrier Airframes and Propulsion systems to technicians and Engineering Officers.

Spending the majority of his career embedded within Joint Force Harrier, he has completed worldwide detachments and deployments to the USA, Canada, Norway, throughout Europe and in the Middle East. Whilst deployed Out Of Area, the Harrier was to be decommissioned and he was duly posted to RAF Coningsby to run the EJ200 Engine Bay for the Typhoon.

An avid sportsman, any spare time is spent in the gym, cycling or watching football. Summers are spent with his wife Clare and his two children down at the lake training, as he competes for the RAF as a member of the Waterski and Wakeboard team.

Chief Technician Paul Blackah MBE (Airframe Specialist and Engineering Controller)

Chief Technician Paul Blackah Paul joined the RAF in 1975 as an airframe fitter. He has served at West Raynham on Bloodhound missiles with 85 Sqn, Brize Norton on VC10 2nd Line and Benson on Andovers with 115 Sqn. He joined the BBMF in 1993 and converted to Full Time Reserve Service in 2001. This will be his 25th season with the Flight.

Paul lives locally with his wife and four children and has extended his interest in historic aircraft to include the restoration of the Messerschmitt Bf109 G2, Black 6.

More recently he has co-authored Haynes manuals covering the Lancaster, Spitfire, Hurricane, Dakota and Bf109 and also a Spitfire Restoration Manual. His recent passion of restoring Spitfire MkXVI TE311 came to fruition in 2013 with its successful return to flight.

Sergeant Kev Retzback (Mechanical Trade Manager)

Kev joined the RAF in 1999 as an airframe technician. On completion of training he was posted to 20(R) Sqn at RAF Wittering maintaining Harrier aircraft on the Operational Conversion Unit.

In 2005 he was assigned to 41(R) Sqn at RAF Coningsby, operating Harrier, Tornado and Jaguar platforms on the Fast Jet and Weapons Operational Evaluation Unit. As well as completing detachments worldwide, he was involved in the essential trials programme for Lightning III and a number of advanced weapon systems prior to their release to Service.

A move to Typhoon with 17 Sqn in 2011 provided the opportunity to experience working on the most advanced aircraft operated by the RAF.

Following promotion to Sergeant in 2013, Kev completed a brief staff tour with 1 Group Typhoon Force Headquarters where he was responsible for managing the manpower and pre-employment training requirements for personnel deploying to 1435 Flt.

Kev's spare time is mostly spent socialising with family and friends. He enjoys all aspects of country living, cycling, walking his dog and supporting his wife with her equestrian pursuits. A passionate Arsenal supporter, he is interested in most sports.

After returning from a deployment to the Falkland Islands, Kev joined the team in 2015.

Sergeant Matthew Marriott

Corporal Matthew Marriott Matthew joined the RAF in 1998 and after training was posted to XV(R) Sqn, the Tornado GR1 Operational Conversion Unit based at RAF Lossiemouth. After completing further training he was posted to XIII Sqn at RAF Marham on Tornado GR4 aircraft.

Whilst on XIII Sqn he was sent on many detachments to the Gulf region and took part in Op TELIC. Matthew also deployed with them on Op HERRICK and more recently was involved in launching aircraft on missions over Libya on Op ELLAMY. When XIII Squadron disbanded he became an instructor in the Tornado GR4 Line Training Cell before being posted to the BBMF in January 2013.

In his spare time, Matthew is a keen cyclist, taking part in long distance sportive rides. He also enjoys playing football and running. Matthew is married and has a young son who also seems fascinated with the BBMF aircraft.

Corporal Andy Bale

Corporal Andy Bale Andy joined the RAF in 1985 and after completing trade training at Cosford, he worked on the second Line maintenance of F4 Phantom flight systems equipment at RAF Wattisham.

In 1990, he was moved onto the first line maintenance of E-3D AWACS ‘Sentry’ aircraft at Waddington. Andy joined the Flight in October 1999.

At the start of 2007 Andy converted to RAF Reserve Service and continues with the Flight as an Avionic specialist. Andy is happily married and in his spare time enjoys cricket and motor racing.

Corporal Carl Broomhead

Corporal Carl Broomhead Carl joined the RAF in 2003 and following trade training as a propulsion technician, was posted to 2(AC) Sqn at RAF Marham operating the Tornado GR4.

The next 7 years saw him complete numerous exercises and deployments around the globe, Op TELIC (Iraq) and Op HERRICK (Afghanistan) providing plenty of hot and sandy environments.

In 2011 he was posted to RAF Coningsby and after a brief spell in Engineering Records, he achieved the pinnacle of his career by joining RAF BBMF.

He comments, “It is an absolute pleasure working on such iconic aircraft helping to preserve our past for future generations to enjoy”.

Corporal Nigel Bunn

Corporal Nigel Bunn Nigel joined the RAF in 1979 and has served at Linton-on-Ouse and Coningsby, working on Jet Provost and Phantom aircraft. He joined the BBMF in 1988 after a tour on Shackletons at Lossiemouth. He is now a full-time Reservist and is one of the RAF BBMF’s most experienced engine technicians with 27 years of experience on the Flight.

Nigel has a good sense of humour and likes to play practical jokes on the rest of the Flight. He enjoys walks in the countryside with his dog and enjoys flying radio controlled helicopters in his spare time.

Corporal Dave 'Hoppy' Hopkins

Corporal Dave Hopkins

Hoppy joined the RAF in 1999 asan Airframe Technician. After trade training he spent 9 years on the Tornado F3fleet at RAF Coningsby and RAF Leuchars, carrying out first and second line maintenance. During this time, he completed detachments to Saudi Arabia andthe Falkland Islands.

In 2009 Hoppy was presented with his dream posting to the BBMF. After a promotion and a short period working on theEurofighter Typhoons of 29(R)Squadron, he was posted back to the BBMF in late 2012 to work in the EngineeringSupport Cell, where he can pass on his experience and train new members of the Flight onall 5 classic aircraft types.

Corporal Mark Kirkpatrick

Corporal Mark ‘KP’ Kirkpatrick On completion of training as a propulsion mechanic, Mark's first posting was to RAF Bruggen in Germany on the Aircraft Maintenance Flight. Here, he worked on Tornado GR4s. Following further training at RAF Cosford to achieve the rank of Junior Technician, he was drafted to the BBMF for a first tour in Nov 2000. During this time, not only did he serve the Flight, but also completed an operational tour in Al Udeid, Qatar. On promotion to Corporal in 2009, Mark was posted to 20 Sqn at RAF Wittering on Harrier jets and then to 1 Sqn at RAF Cottesmore.

After the disbandment of the Harrier squadrons, he was lucky enough to receive news that he would be returning to the BBMF. Having already been fortunate enough to have had one tour of duty with this historic flight, to return was a great honour and a privilege.

He comments, ‘Returning to the BBMF as a Corporal with previous experience of its magnificent aircraft means that I have been able to provide valuable knowledge and insight, whilst training and supervising other engineering colleagues on the Flight. To serve a second tour does not happen to many and I grasped the opportunity with both hands. Every day the team strives to ensure that these iconic aircraft continue to fly to remind our future generations of the bravery of those who gave us that future’.

Corporal Norman Pringle

Corporal Norman Pringle Norman joined the RAF in 1979 and has served at Brize Norton, Valley, Abingdon and Coningsby. After working on VC10 aircraft he was subsequently employed as a specialist airframe repair technician and in various second line bays. He joined the RAF BBMF in 1996 and transferred to Full Time Reserve status in 2002.

Norman in married; his wife is Head Teacher of a local school and he has two teenage children. His time out of work is spent supporting Market Rasen Rubgy Club, currently Chairman of the Junior Section, and coach of the under 17s.

Corporal Matt Litton

Matt joined the Royal Air Force in Feb 2003 and, after completion of trade training, was posted to RAF Lyneham working first line on the C130K Hercules. After a few years he moved to the more technically advanced C130J. His time at Lyneham included many detachments to Kandahar, several European training detachments and one to the USA. In early 2011, Matt moved with the Hercules to RAF Brize Norton. In January 2012 Matt was posted to the BBMF as an SAC(T) and enjoyed a very busy season. In August 2012 Matt was posted on promotion to Cpl onto 28(AC) Sqn at RAF Benson. His time spent on helicopters has given Matt a new perspective on hotels versus tents. In June 2014, Matt was posted back to the BBMF.

Away from work Matt enjoys a varied amount of sports. He is an avid squash player and also takes part in 5-a-side football. He has previously represented the RAF at Tenpin Bowling, not just in England but also in European tournaments. However, much of Matt’s spare time is spent with his 2 children.

Corporal Dan Nolan

Dan joined the RAF in 2003 and, on completion of trade training, was posted to a world of Merlins – 28(AC) Sqn’s helicopters rather than the BBMF posting he wanted!! Here he worked as part of a busy front-line helicopter squadron that was deployed all over, most noticeably in Basrah as part of Op Telic. He briefly worked in the Sqn Training Cell before being posted in 2010 to work on the mighty Nimrod R1’s of 51 Sqn. In between further detachments in support of Op HERRICK and Op DEFERENCE/ELLAMY, Dan was proud to be part of the team who recovered parts of Lancaster PD259 from her crash site in Scotland back to RAF Waddington. Promoted to Cpl, he was selected to remain on the Sqn after the Nimrod retired to help bring the RC-135W Rivet Joint into service. He achieved his ambition of joining the BBMF in Oct 2014.

Away from work, Dan helps out RAF Waddington’s Heritage Centre and a local ATC Sqn. He also enjoys camping, reading, movies, running, cycling, and model-making. He is also a Tottenham Hotspur fan.

Corporal Andy 'Ski' Piaskowski


Andy joined the RAF in 1976 as a Survival Equipment Fitter and after completion of training, was posted to RAF Finningley in South Yorkshire; working initially on the Jet Provost and Dominie aircraft and also Wessex and Whirlwind helicopters. On completion of a tour at The School Of Combat Survival and Rescue, he was posted to 5 Airborne Brigade. As part of the RAF Detachment he maintained various parachute types and specialist equipment utilised by the Parachute Regiment.

From there he served in the Falklands, 25(F) Sqn RAF Leeming, at RAF Brize Norton, in Germany and Northern Ireland, finally completing his RAF career with the Army Air Corps at RAF Wattisham supporting Apache Attack Helicopters.

He joined the BBMF in April 2014 as a Full Time Reservist. Andy is married with three daughters and four grandchildren.

Corporal James Baynes

SAC (T) James Baynes

James joined the RAF in 2009 as an Aircraft Maintenance Mechanic. After basic training at RAF Halton, he went on to complete phase one of his technical training at DCAE Cosford which lasted 6 months. James was then posted to RAF Coningsby and 41 Sqn Fast Jet and Weapons Operational Evaluation Unit where he worked on both the Harrier GR9 and the Tornado GR4. A usual day involved preparing aircraft for take off as well as checking them for damage and wear after the aircraft returned from flight. He would also be expected to assist with the general maintenance and upkeep of the aircraft such as repairing and replacing damaged components.

After two years on 41 Sqn, he was posted back to the DCAE Cosford to complete his 14 month technical training course and on completion was posted to the BBMF in April 2013. He enjoys going to the gym, playing football and is a keen Tottenham Hotspur fan.

SAC(T) Liam Rose

SAC(T) Liam Rose

Liam joined the RAF in 2009 as an Aircraft Maintenance Mechanic (AMM). After basic training at RAF Halton he went to the DCAE Cosford for his 6 month AMM course. On completion in 2010, he was posted to 41 Sqn at RAF Coningsby working on Tornado GR4 and Harrier GR9/9A. Whilst on 41 Sqn he deployed to RAF Kinloss, supporting the squadron’s participation in a CQWI exercise.

In May 2012, Liam returned to Cosford to complete Further Training to SAC(Technician) prior to being posted to the BBMF in Jun 2013.

In his own time he enjoys both playing and watching football and keeps fit by playing squash and going to the gym. He also enjoys motocross.

SAC(T) Ian Taylor

Ian joined the RAF in 2009 as an Aircraft Maintenance Mechanic. Upon completion of basic trade training, he was posted to 33 Sqn at RAF Benson to work on Puma HC1 aircraft.

During his time on Pumas he completed detachments to Kenya and completed winter survival training in Norway.

After completing Further Training at DCAE Cosford, Ian obtained his dream posting to the BBMF in April 2013. Ian has a keen interest in scuba diving and winter sports.

SAC(T) Chris Lomas

Chris joined the RAF in November 2008 asan Aircraft Maintenance Mechanic. After completing basic training at RAFHalton, and trade training at DCAE Cosford, he was posted to RAF Lyneham on 33Eng Support Sqn, taking part in depth maintenance on the C-130 J and C-130 K Hercules.Whilst there, he completed two tours of Afghanistan and visited severallocations, including Gibraltar.

He returned to DCAE Cosford to complete his Avionictraining, and was then posted to RAF Lossiemouth, working on Tornado GR4aircraft on 12(B) Sqn. Whilst there, he took part in the Nordic Air Meet inSweden, and Ex Red Flag in the USA.

When 12(B) was drawn down, he was posted to the TyphoonMaintenance Flight at RAF Coningsby, where he, once again, was part of a depthmaintenance team. In January 2015, he was selected to join the BBMF.

In his spare time, Chris enjoys playing and watching rugby and football. He also is a magician in his spare time.

SAC(T) Kris Shimmin

Kris joined the RAF in October 2008, completing Basic Training at RAF Halton followed by 6 months of Aircraft Maintenance Mechanic trade training at DCAE Cosford. His first posting was to Nimrod Line Squadron at RAF Kinloss to carry out the first line servicing of Nimrod aircraft. Due to disbandment, he was given the opportunity to transfer to 12(B) Sqn at RAF Lossiemouth,carrying out first line Rectification on Tornado GR4. Following his Further Training course in 2011 at Cosford, he was then posted to RAF Marham, specialising in second line maintenance of the Tornado GR4 avionics equipment and radar. In 2014 he was specially selected to join the BBMF.

In his spare time he works on cars and motorbikes. As a keen cyclist he also enjoys spending time keeping fit and socialising with friends. Since joining the RAF he has qualified as an elementary Paragliding Pilot and is aiming to achieve “club pilot rating” in the near future.

SAC(T) Andy Taylor

After completing his Aircraft Maintenance Mechanic course at RAF Cosford, Andy spent his first tour with Voyager working on the Royal Air Force’s fleet of Airbus A330 aircraft. During this time he enjoyed numerous detachments to Cyprus, Ascension, The Falklands and America before returning to RAF Cosford for his Technician course.

Andy joined BBMF in April 2016 and this is his second flying season.

In his spare time, Andy enjoys mountain biking, motocross and hiking.

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