Central Flying School History
The Beginning
Inter-War Years
Little Rissington
Up to Date
CFS Helicopters
CFS Mascot


CFS Formations
CFS 1985



Click red text
and pictures

Up to Date

In 1976 CFS Headquarters, Groundschool and the Jet Provost Sqns moved to RAF Cranwell in Lincolnshire where Examining Wing was expanded by the formation of Rear Crew Squadron, the first time that the Central Flying School included aircrew other than pilots on its staff. The Bulldogs moved to RAF Leeming in North Yorkshire and the Gnats moved from RAF Kemble to RAF Valley on Anglesey. However, this disposition was not to last for long and by November 1977 the packing cases were out again and the Headquarters, Groundschool and Jet Provosts moved up to RAF Leeming to join the Bulldogs. The CFS Helicopter Squadron was also on the move over this period, being transferred to RAF Shawbury in Shropshire when RAF Tern Hill was closed.

The Gnat Squadron re-equipped with the Hawk in 1977. The Red Arrows put away the Gnats for the last time in September 1980 and moved to RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire in March 1983 where they were joined by the RAF Leeming units in September 1984. With some cooperation from the engineers all of the unit's aircraft were available to depart from RAF Leeming on the same day. Two formations set off separated by about an hour. The first was of 9 Bulldogs led by the Sqn Cdr, Sqn Ldr Jim Baker, and the second was of 16 JPs (8 Mk 3s and 8 Mk 5s) and 2 Meteors led by the Comdt Air Cdre Kip Kemball flying a Vampire. Both formations arrived overhead Scampton at the same time having overflown RAF Linton on Ouse, RAF Church Fenton, RAF Finningley, RAF Cranwell and finally Lincoln Cathedral.

In 1989 the Shorts Tucano was introduced to replaced the Jet Provost. With the new aircraft came computer aided groundschool instruction, a part task trainer to learn the FRC drills and a dynamic simulator. All a huge improvement on the JP "CPits" and "JPits" which bore little resemblence to the real aircraft. In 1992 the Commandant in Chief presented CFS with a 'new' Colour at a parade at RAF Scampton. With the closure of Scampton in 1993 as a result of the reduction in the overall size of RAF Flying Training, HQ CFS, the RAFAT and the Bulldog Sqn moved to RAF Cranwell and the Tucano Sqn moved to Linton on Ouse, which by then was the only Tucano unit. Although training on the Tucano and Bulldog Sqns continued as normal, like the Hawk Sqn at RAF Valley, they came under the command of the local FTS.

After April 1993 Tactical Weapons Training became the final phase of Advanced Flying Training within PTC and as a result CFS Hawk Sqn became directly involved with the training of Tactics Instructors and Qualified Weapons Instructors, in addition to the training of QFIs. In 1999 the Grob G115E Tutor started to replace the Bulldog at the University Air Squadrons in the EFT role. CFS Examiners were involved in in every stage of the evaluation of several types before the Grob aircraft was selected. The Tutor is a civilian registered aircraft, all 99 of which were owned by a bank. They were then leased by the contractor who not only services the aircraft, but provides all of the support at the 11 airfields which operate the aircraft. The CFS Bulldog Sqn operated both types for over a year and throughout the 2 year introduction period were involved in converting individual UASs and AEFs to the new aircraft. Further rationalisation of RAF Cranwell's task in 2000 meant that the RAFAT moved once again to RAF Scampton, where they had been conducting most of their training while based at Cranwell. In early 2003 command of the CFS Tutor Sqn was transferred from No 3 Flying Training School to HQ Elementary Flying Training thus bringing all Tutor squadrons under one command.