Royal Hong Kong Auxiliary Air Force

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Royal Hong Kong Auxiliary Air Force
Badge of the Royal Hong Kong Auxiliary Air Force.gif
Agency overview
JurisdictionHong Kong
HeadquartersHong Kong International Airport
RHKAAF Aérospatiale SA 360 Dauphin at Kai Tak in 1982

The Royal Hong Kong Auxiliary Air Force (RHKAAF) was an auxiliary unit of the United Kingdom Royal Air Force, based in Hong Kong. It was formed in 1949 as part of the Hong Kong Defence Force. In preparation for the transfer of sovereignty from the United Kingdom to the People's Republic of China, the unit was disbanded on 31 March 1993.[1]

Although technically an armed military unit, run on the lines of an RAF squadron, latterly its responsibilities were mostly involved in providing non-military aviation services such as police support, search and rescue, air ambulance and firefighting in the colony.


The RHKAAF came into existence in 1949 as part of the Hong Kong Defence Force. From 1949 to 1950, it was known as HKAAF and the Royal title was approved by King George VI in 1951. The RHKAAF was finally disbanded on 1 April 1993. All non-military operations were taken over by the Government Flying Service (GFS), a newly created civilian unit with the original service staff of the RHKAAF. The remaining military duties were transferred to other RAF units based in the colony, and passed to the People's Liberation Army Hong Kong Garrison (Shek Kong Airfield, Shigang Air Base, Guangdong and Guangzhou Shadi Air Base) on the actual transfer of sovereignty in 1997.

The RHKAAF was based at Kai Tak Airport from 1979 to 1993, with a sub-station at Sek Kong Airfield.


Over the years, the RHKAAF fleet comprised:

Builder/Model Type Number Dates Details
Sikorsky S-70A Black Hawk / UH-60 Blackhawk  United States utility helicopter 3 (B-HZJ, B-HZI and B-HZK) 1992–1993 To GFS
Sikorsky S-76C  United States utility helicopter 2 1991–1993 To GFS
Sikorsky S-76A  United States utility helicopter 6 1990–1993 To GFS
Slingsby T-67M-200 Firefly  United Kingdom trainer 4 1987–1993 To GFS
Beech B200C King Air  United States utility aircraft 2 1987–1993 To GFS
Aérospatiale SA-365-C Dauphin 2  France utility helicopter 3 1980–1990
Cessna 404 Titan  United States light utility aircraft 1 1979–1987
SAL Bulldog  United Kingdom trainer 2 1977–1988
Britten-Norman Islander  United Kingdom light utility aircraft 1 1972–1993
Beech B23 Musketeer II  United States light utility aircraft 2 1971–1979
Aérospatiale Alouette III SA3160  France utility helicopter 4 1965–1980
Auster AOP9  United Kingdom trainer 4 1965–1971
Westland Widgeon  United Kingdom utility helicopter 2 1958–1965
Supermarine Spitfire XIX  United Kingdom fighter 2 1954–1955
Supermarine Spitfire F24  United Kingdom fighter 8 1952–1955
Supermarine Spitfire XVIII  United Kingdom fighter 6 1951–1952
Auster T7  United Kingdom trainer 4 1950–1971
Harvard IIB  United States trainer 11 1950–1958
Auster AOP6  United Kingdom trainer 5 1949–1971
Auster V  United Kingdom trainer 1 1949–1950
DH60 Moth  United Kingdom utility aircraft 2 1941
DH687 Hornet Moth  United Kingdom utility aircraft/trainer 2 1941
Avro Tutor 621  United Kingdom training biplane 4 1936–1941
Avro Avian IVM Cadet 631  United Kingdom biplane trainer 2 1934–1941
Avro Avian IVM 616  United Kingdom light biplane trainer 3 1930s


RHKAAF personnel were a mixture of full-time and part-time staff. Most were locally recruited, in the latter years mostly local Hong Kongers. The ranks used were similar to those of the Royal Air Force.

Commanding Officers

Start Date Name
1 May 1949 Sqn Ldr M.N. Oxford
1 October 1950 Wg Cdr A.W. Wood DFC BEM
1 January 1955 Wg Cdr J.E.L. Larsen, AFC
15 October 1955 Wg Cdr P.O. Scales, AE
12 October 1962 Wg Cdr G.J. Bell, OBE, AE & clasp
19 September 1966 Wg Cdr R.P. Smith, OBE, AE & clasp, JP, QCVSA
1 October 1971 Wg Cdr S.P.J. Ellis, AE
1 June 1975 Wg Cdr R.G. Penlington, OBE, AE & clasp
1 April 1983 Wg Cdr A.P. Asprey, OBE, AE, JP
1 January 1988 Wg Cdr R.W. Brooks, MBE, AE & clasp
1 January 1991 Wg Cdr P.D. Yip, MBE, AE & clasp, JP, QCVSA


The last Badge of the force was used until 1993, after which time, the Hong Kong Coat of Arms was used on GFS aircraft, until the handover in 1997:

  • St Edward's Crown
  • Octagon-shaped badge with a Chinese dragon, propeller
  • Royal Hong Kong Auxiliary Air Force is contained on the band of the badge
  • Motto contain the wording Semper Paratus (Latin, "Always Ready")
  • Oak Laurel wreath


  1. ^ 1st April 1993 immediately after the disbandment of its predecessor, the Royal Hong Kong Auxiliary Air Force. It is one of the disciplined services of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

Further reading[edit]

  • Penlington VA: Winged Dragon - The History of the Royal Hong Kong Auxiliary Air Force (Odyssey Productions Ltd, 1996) ISBN 9622174663

External links[edit]

Media related to Royal Hong Kong Auxiliary Air Force at Wikimedia Commons