RAF East Fortune

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RAF East Fortune
Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg
East fortune airfield.jpg
RAF-era buildings still stand on the airfield, now the National Museum of Flight
IATA: noneICAO: none
Airport type Military
Owner Air Ministry
Operator Royal Naval Air Service
Royal Air Force
Location East Fortune, East Lothian
Built 1915 (1915)
In use 1915-1920, 1940-1947 (1947)
Elevation AMSL 0 ft / 0 m
Coordinates 55°59′06″N 002°42′50″W / 55.98500°N 2.71389°W / 55.98500; -2.71389Coordinates: 55°59′06″N 002°42′50″W / 55.98500°N 2.71389°W / 55.98500; -2.71389
RAF East Fortune is located in East Lothian
RAF East Fortune
RAF East Fortune
Location in East Lothian
Direction Length Surface
ft m
00/00 0,000 0,000 Concrete
00/00 0,000 0,000 Concrete
00/00 0,000 0,000 Concrete

Royal Air Force Station East Fortune or more simply RAF East Fortune is a former Royal Air Force station, just south of the village of East Fortune, a short distance east of Edinburgh in Scotland. It was used as a fighter station during World War I and for training and night fighters during World War II. The motto of the station was "Fortune Favours the Bold".

In the post-war era the runways have been taken over for local private aviation use, while the former RAF buildings have been used for the National Museum of Flight since 1976.


The foundation of East Fortune as an flying station pre-dates the creation of the RAF; East Fortune was established as a fighter and airship airfield in 1915. In 1919 the British airship R34 made the first ever return flight across the Atlantic and the first east-west crossing by air, flying from East Fortune to Mineola, New York. The flight took 108 hours and 12 minutes.

During WWII, RAF East Fortune was a flying training establishment, initially for night-fighter operations, changing to training for daylight operations from 1942, and eventually becoming a station for a group of de Havilland Mosquito aircraft. It was also made available as an emergency landing option for bomber aircraft.

Current use[edit]

After the war the site ceased to be used by the RAF. The runway was extended across the B1347 to take American bombers during the cold war but was never used for this purpose. During the summer of 1961 Turnhouse Airport was closed for construction work and all civil and air force traffic was diverted through East Fortune. The extended runway at East Fortune was used for the summer of 1961 and on a very wet Sunday in April 1961 a BA Viscount from Heathrow overshot the runway and ended up in the grass at the end of the runway after a 180 degree turn. The aircraft was fully laden but there were no injuries. The concrete extension of the East Fortune runway is now used as a runway for microlight aircraft. In 1976 the Scottish Museum of Flight was opened on the site of the former RAF station.

The museum is now called the National Museum of Flight. It occupies the southern part of the old airfield. The northern side is given over to a car-boot sale each Sunday. The western side, across the B1347 is the microlight airfield. This is the only part of the East Fortune airfield that can now handle aircraft, and they can be no larger than a microlight. The east side of the old airfield is now used as a motorcycle racing circuit, and is home to the Melville Motor Club.

Each summer the museum hosts an airshow. It is the only airfield-based airshow in the UK where the aeroplanes can't land at the airfield.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]