|This article needs additional citations for verification. (July 2012)|
|Near Topcliffe, North Yorkshire in England|
|Grob 109B 'Vigilant' motor glider. The glider is flown by 645 and 634 Volunteer Glider Squadron, which is based at Topcliffe.|
|Type||Royal Air Force station|
|Owner||Ministry of Defence|
|Operator||Royal Air Force|
|Identifiers||ICAO: EGXZ, WMO: 03275|
|Elevation:||28 metres (92 ft) AMSL|
|Direction||Length and surface|
|03/21||1,814 metres (5,951 ft) Asphalt|
|08/26||430 metres (1,411 ft) Asphalt|
|13/31||1,262 metres (4,140 ft) Asphalt|
Royal Air Force 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. There was a decoy site at Raskelf. Concrete runways were added in mid-1942, and 419 and 424 Squadrons (RCAF) moved in flying Wellington bombers and later, the Halifax III. 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.
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.
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 1970s it was also used as a basic Sergeant Aircrew training centre.
Topcliffe was used for a number of car sprint meetings organised by the MG Car Club - North East and Tyne Tees branches, in the seventies, before the security risks from the IRA closed the aerodrome to non-military use.
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.
- Jefford 1988, p. 00.
- "HRH The Duke of York KG officially opens our Northern Airbase". Yorkshire Air Ambulance. Retrieved 20 July 2012.
- 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.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to RAF Topcliffe.|
- Airport information for EGXZ at World Aero Data. Data current as of October 2006.
- A National Serviceman remembers Topcliffe in 1959