RAF Linton-on-Ouse (IATA: HRT, ICAO: EGXU) is a Royal Air Force station at Linton-on-Ouse in North Yorkshire, England, 10 miles (16 km) north-west of York. It is currently a flying training centre. It has satellite stations at RAF Topcliffe and RAF Dishforth.
When the Second World War began, bombers were launched from Linton to drop propaganda leaflets over Germany and the base was eventually used to launch bombing raids on Norway, The Netherlands, Germany, and Italy. Linton was one of 11 stations allocated to No. 6 Group, Royal Canadian Air Force during the war.
At the end of the war the station was involved with transporting passengers and freight back to the UK. After which it became a Fighter Command station operating the Gloster Meteor, Canadair Sabre and Hawker Hunter until it was closed for maintenance in 1957.
Today, Linton-on-Ouse provides Basic Fast Jet Training (BFJT) for those students selected for the Fast Jet (FJ) stream. On completion of the course, successful students are awarded their Wings and proceed to No 4 FTS, RAF Valley in Wales for their Advanced FJ Training. In addition, the base is used by 642 VGS (Volunteer Gliding Squadron) which teaches Air Cadets to fly the Grob Vigilant aircraft. The station also houses a memorial room (limited public opening) which recounts the history of the base and the units which have been associated with it.
In 1999 the entire NCO married quarter site at Linton Woods were purchased by The Welbeck Estate Group and underwent a major upgrade.
RAF Topcliffe was opened in 1940 as a bomber station under the control of RAF Bomber Command. In recent years the base has been primarily used for pilot training. It has been used by parachute display teams. The base is currently used by 645 Volunteer Gliding Squadron to training members of the Air Training Corps to fly self-launching gliders.
RAF Dishforth opened in 1936 as a bomber airfield. After the war it began work as a training airfield and was used to convert pilots to the Douglas Dakota transport aircraft. The base is called Dishforth Airfield and currently used as an Army Air Corps helicopter base and as a relief landing ground for Linton-on-Ouse.
The only basic fast-jet training squadron based at RAF Linton-on-Ouse is now 72 Squadron. The squadron holds Reserve status and is designated as 72(R). The squadron operates the Tucano T.1 and include both RAF and RN Fleet Air Arm personnel. Alongside this, Yorkshire Universities Air Squadron relocated to RAF Linton-on-Ouse from the then closing RAF Church Fenton in 2014. YUAS operate the Grob Tutor T1 aircraft.
No 4 Squadron Royal Air Force Police, who form part of 1 Police Wing, RAF Police, are responsible for the policing and security of RAF Linton-on-Ouse and its satellite stations. RAF Police personnel also deploy on operations throughout the world from this role.
Until January 2012, a second training squadron, 207 Squadron was also resident, but was disbanded as a result of the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review on 13 January 2012, 6 months short of the 10th anniversary or the Squadrons' reformation. Some of 207 Squadrons aircraft have been distributed to other units or bases for use or placed in withdrawn storage, but some remain in store on site to be used as reserve aircraft allowing rotation of aircraft to balance out the airframe life and to act as spares sources.
In the summer of 1960 and 1961, the perimeter track and parts of two runways were used to form the 1.7 mile, Linton-on-Ouse circuit, on what was still an operational RAF base, with the racing organised by the Northern of the British Racing and Sports Car Club. It would appear that only two meetings were held; 10 July 1960 and 9 July 1961.
The 1960 meeting was held in torrential rain and Tony Hodgetts recalls blue sparks coming off his fingers as he cranked the field telephone which was used by the marshals to communicate with race control. The meeting was dominated by Jimmy Blumer in his Cooper Monaco.
The final meeting in 1961 was marred by a fatal accident to a flag marshal. The driver of the Formula Junior car involved was a serving RAF officer and, following the inquest into the death of the marshal, the venue was no longer available. After this sad incident and a near fatality to another flag marshal at Full Sutton Circuit, Tony Hodgetts and Garth Nicholls started a campaign which resulted in flag marshals working face to face instead of back to back, a system which is still in use and is considerably safer.
In early November 2008 Wing Commander Paul Gerrard, who is based at the station, was involved in an unusual mid-air rescue. Sixty-five-year-old Jim O'Neill was flying a four-seater Cessna 182 from Scotland to Essex after a family holiday, when he had a stroke which caused temporary blindness. Gerrard was on a training flight, and after being alerted to the situation, located O'Neill's aircraft and over a 45-minute period, guided O'Neill to a safe landing at Linton.