Military Wiki
RAF Topcliffe
Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg
Grob 109B 'Vigilant' motor glider. The glider is flown by 645 and 634 Volunteer Glider Squadron, which is based at Topcliffe.
– WMO: 03275
Airport type Military
Owner Ministry of Defence
Operator Royal Air Force
Location Topcliffe, North Yorkshire
Elevation AMSL 92 ft / 28 m
Coordinates 54°12′20″N 001°22′56″W / 54.20556°N 1.38222°W / 54.20556; -1.38222Coordinates: 54°12′20″N 001°22′56″W / 54.20556°N 1.38222°W / 54.20556; -1.38222

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Direction Length Surface
m ft
03/21 1,814 5,951 Asphalt
08/26 430 1,410 Asphalt
13/31 1,262 4,140 Asphalt

Royal Air Force Station Topcliffe or RAF Topcliffe (ICAO: EGXZ) is a Royal Air Force station in North Yorkshire, England. It is a satellite station serving in the role of a Relief Landing Ground for Tucano aircraft of the Central Flying School (CFS), It is also used by the Air Training Corps, or aircadets as a motor glider airfield where GiC's(Gliding induction courses) and Gliding scholarships are achieved. Based nearby at RAF Linton-on-Ouse (one of two, the other being Dishforth Airfield). As such, no RAF personnel are based permanently at the airfield and airfield services are provided by personnel assigned to RAF Linton-on-Ouse.


Topcliffe opened in September 1940 as a bomber station in RAF Bomber Command and was home to 77 and 102 Squadrons flying the Whitley heavy bomber.[1] There was a decoy site at Raskelf. Concrete runways were added in mid-1942,[citation needed] and 419 and 424 Squadrons (RCAF) moved in flying Wellington bombers and later, the Halifax III.[1] On 1 January 1943 the station was transferred to No. 6 Group RCAF and became a training station. The station, along with sub-stations at Wombleton, Dalton and Dishforth were designated as No. 61 (Training) Base in late 1943.[citation needed]

Post-war, Topcliffe continued to be used by the RAF, initially by operational squadrons of RAF Transport Command. Not sure when (or if) it was Transport Command, but by 1955 it was Coastal Command (at least 203 and 210 Sqdns flying Neptunes), and converted to Flying Training Command in early 1957.

The Army moved on to the site in 1972 and renamed much of it Alanbrooke Barracks. However all the flying facilities remain intact. The wartime control tower, with modifications, is still used, and the station is referred to as RAF Topcliffe by the RAF.

During the eighties it was the home of the Royal Navy Elementary Flying School. In the nineties it was temporarily home to a Tucano squadron of RAF Central Flying School. It was the home of the Tucano Air Navigation Squadron, teaching student navigators of both the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy until April 2002 when it moved to RAF Linton on Ouse.

The station is now home to 645 Volunteer Gliding Squadron, who teach Air Cadets to fly The Grob 109B 'Vigilant' Motor Glider and is currently joined by 635 Volunteer Gliding Squadron, who have been temporarily re-located from their former airfield.

Other uses

Handley Page Hastings of 24 & 47 Squadrons based at Topcliffe in 1952

In 1962 The Air Electronics School (for Wireless Operators and Air Electronics Officers) moved to RAF Topcliffe from RAF Hullavington in Wiltshire. In 1968 they were joined by an Air Engineer Training School.

In the early 70s it was also used as a basic Sergeant Aircrew training centre.

During the 1990s and until 2001, the airfield was utilised by Merlin Parachute Club, home to both the 4 Para Parachute display team and the York University Sport Parachute Club. Part of the site is also used for the flying of model aircraft.

As of March 2012, RAF Topcliffe is the permanent base of one of the two Yorkshire Air Ambulances.[2]




  • Jefford, C.G, MBE,BA ,RAF (Retd). RAF Squadrons, a Comprehensive Record of the Movement and Equipment of all RAF Squadrons and their Antecedents since 1912. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing, 1988. ISBN 1-84037-141-2.

External links

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