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Last update: 2015-09-10 08:09:14
Flight line RAF Leuchars Air Show
RAF Leuchars Air Show
In September 1945 the Royal Air Force opened the gates of many of its stations to the public to celebrate the victory in the Battle of Britain and World War II. These events, which continued an annually, were known as "Battle of Britain at Home Days". In this anniversary celebration of the ending of WWII, RAF Leuchars is the last remaining RAF Station to hold this traditional event near to the Battle of Britain weekend. Leuchars Airshow 2013 was the 65th and final Battle of Britain at Home Airshow to be held by the RAF.

RAF Leuchars is located in Leuchars, Fife, on the east coast, north of St Andrews, and is the most northerly Air Defence Station in the United Kingdom. Because the Base Commander at RAF Leuchars also fulfils the role of Air Officer Scotland, the position is held by an Air Commodore, rather than a Group Captain who would normally occupy command such a base.

It was a privilege for RAF Leuchars to host the only remaining Battle of Britain Air Show, and 2nd largest non-sporting outdoor event in Scotland. The Air Show provided an opportunity for RAF Leuchars to celebrate the RAF at its best, showcasing its wide range of roles and highlighting its rich heritage; it was also an important opportunity for the Station to welcome its neighbours throughout Scotland (and beyond) onto the base and to thank them for their support throughout the year. In recent years the event have hosted crowds in excess of 40,000 people. Scotland’s National Airshow is a thrilling day of air displays, military jets, historic war birds, aerobatics, motorcycle stunts and family activities.

The Norwegian Air Force Historical Squadron had the pleasure of displaying at RAF Leuchars Air Show for three years on a row. Displaying at Leuchars was for us always a great honor, and it was one amazing event. First time we displayed the

D.H. Vampire T.55 in a solo aerobatic display. The second time we flew the T.55 & FB.52. in a formation display, and we was really unlucky with the weather when our slot came up with rain and reduced visibility.  The last time for us at Leuchars Air Show in 2012, we brought all our three jets: D.H. Vampire FB.52 & T.55 and T-33.

Each time we participated at Leuchars we flew up from Duxford or North Weald as we had displayed there the previous week end. The flight home was made straight over the North Sea crossing the Norwegian coast near Lista and then further on to Rygge AB. Flight time back home was about 1h 40 min in a Vampire.

For the Norwegian Air Force Historical Squadron pilots and crew, our participation in Leucars was one of our absolute highlights. Beside a fantastic airshow it was always lots of nice people to meet and new bands could be linked in a friendly atmosphere. All of us also enjoyed Scotland and St. Andrews immensely. Thank you Scotland.

The RAF Leuchars Airshow combined a day-long flying programme with a varied and extensive park of static aircraft and supporting displays in some of the hangars. Plus aircraft arrivals and flying display practice on the preceding Friday for aviation enthusiasts. For those who wanted more from a day out than just aeroplanes, the airshow also offered an interactive area, fun fair, simulators, vintage military displays, and a wide range of traders with a distinctly aviation theme.

Father and son. Per Morten (left) and Per enjoying themselves at Leuchars.

The 2011 airshow celebrated 100 years of military aviation in North East Fife. It was perhaps ironic that this milestone should have arrived soon after it had been announced that the RAF would be leaving Leuchars in April 2015 and that it would thereafter become an Army base. The 2010 airshow included a parade of the 6 Squadron standard before the Duke of Kent in the morning, accompanied by a unique flypast of Spitfire, Tornado and Typhoon. 6 Squadron had reformed at Leuchars a few days before the 2010 airshow as the first of the three Typhoon squadrons expected to form in Scotland.

Crew chief Per Morten helping Kenneth starting up the T.55

Press clips 2011: Also suffering at the hands of the weather were the Noggie Vampires who did make for a beautiful sight and sound as they put on a graceful display despite the dreich conditions.

333 Norwegian Squadron at LeucharsThe first Norwegian Catalina unit started life on 8 February 1942 when the Norwegian Detachment of Coastal Command's No. 210 Squadron was established at Woodhaven in Scotland. On 10 May 1943 333 squadron was formed from with Mosquito Mk.IIs at RAF Leuchars, Fife, Scotland and PBY-1b Catalinas at Woodhaven, Fife, Scotland. The Mosquitoes were operated on shipping reconnaissance flights along the Norwegian coast, whilst the Catalinas carried out anti-submarine patrols to the north of Scotland. The squadron's Catalinas also operated in the 'Special Duties' role landing both personnel and supplies at points along the Norwegian coast. In September 1944 the Mosquito flight joined the Banff strike wing and acted in the Pathfinder role. However, on 30 May 1945 this flight was redesignated No. 334 (Norwegian) Squadron RAF and No. 333 became a pure Catalina unit. 

Mette decorated the T.55 with Norwegian flags to commemorate the Royal Norwegian Air Force presence at RAF Leuchars during World War II.

The 2012 Leuchars Airshow was a celebration of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. The flying display began shortly after 11am, and continued under beautiful blue skies (albeit with a strong and gusting wind) for over six hours. As well as the Red Arrows and the Vulcan, those attending were treated to the "stand up" parade by 1 Squadron to celebrate its re-formation at Leuchars with Typhoons, and to a spectacular "role demonstration" by Tornado Gr4s from 15 Squadron at Lossiemouth, simulating a ground attack against the airfield. The most spectacular sight of the show was, without doubt, the diamond nine formation of Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft which brought it to a conclusion.

Norwegian Air Force Historical Squadron jets line up at RAF Leuchars Air Show 2012.

Of course, all good things must come to an end and so has RAF Leuchars Airshow. As is the annual tradition, the sunset ceremony ended the airshow and bought a lump to everyones throat as we realised this is the end. Symbolising the future, a based Typhoon was joined by a 617 Squadron Tornado to perform the final flypast, bringing to end 65 years of Battle of Britain at Home airshows at the base. What the future holds for airshows in Scotland is very unclear and I understand the RAF are currently studying possibilities. These range from a new show at RAF Lossiemouth to increased support for another Scottish airshow; however there is also the outside chance that a new event may be arranged at Leuchars as I understand the runway will remain serviceable after the RAF move out.

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