RAF Cottesmore Crest

Crown Copyright



The opportunity to view aircraft operating at RAF Cottesmore provides the aviation enthusiast, photographer, or casual observer some of the best views of aircraft operation in the country. This guide is prepared with the photographer particularly in mind.

RAF Cottesmore is a very large airfield and as such has areas that while visible are way out of the reach of the photographer. The best opportunities are all located on the south side of the runway affording the perfect scenario of sun to the rear and illuminating the subject.

Looking at the map Location (1) is the runway 22 threshold which allows views of the southern taxiway with its associated hold point, the threshold and unobstructed views of the runway approaches. The sun can become a little difficult after about 14:00 on the south of the runway, but by walking past the end of the runway threshold access can be gained to the northern side of the approach providing differing angles on approaching aircraft and better light conditions. It should be noted that aircraft approaching the hover pads on the north of the airfield can and do pass directly overhead this position and can be very noisy and low; you have been warned!

Access to the approach is best made by parking from Location (2) on the map. This is Crash Exit 4 from the airfield and when parking in this area particular attention should be paid to not obstructing the free access of the emergency services through these gates.

From Crash Exit 4 head alongside the fence past the engine test facility towards a large Oak tree in the distance. The walk to the threshold is only about a quarter of a mile, but is along the edge of a farmer’s field which is in use for arable crops and consequently is ploughed. Sturdy footwear is recommended at all times of the year and particularly during the winter months when the ground can become very muddy.

At any point from Location (1) to Location (2) photography is possible, but the best results are to be obtained at the runway threshold.

From Location (2) by walking the opposite direction down the fence line about 200 metres views of the Visiting Aircraft Servicing area can be taken in. The fence line here is a high chain link design with a barbed wire top. Photography is possible here but a large step ladder is required to see over the fence for an unobstructed view.

The view around the remaining area on the southern side to Location (3) is impossible as this area is dominated by the stations domestic service areas, barrack blocks etc.

At Location (3) viewing is generally poor. The runway 04 threshold is set back in a farmer’s field with little access and parking is a lottery on a busy main road with no real parking places available. A view of the airfield can be obtained by accessing the farmers track adjacent to the grave yard but this area is in a dip and views are limited and very poor for photography.

Continuing around the airfield from Location (3) to Location (1), viewing along the north of the airfield is very limited and has little value for photography. The few vantage points that can be found are in areas of low ground and little can be seen of the airfield. Some aircraft come into view if using the northern hover pads but these are of at distances that make photography pointless.

To summarise the airfield at Cottesmore provides good and varied opportunities to get close to the action for the casual observer or enthusiast alike, but these are mainly to be found on the southern side between the 22 threshold and crash exit 4.


Scanner Frequencies

122.100 - Tower
231.725 - Zone
308.825 - Ground
369.350 - Tower
278.450 - Departures
281.900 - Approach
379.075 - Director
338.250 - PAR Primary
339.325 - Talk down secondary
277.775 - London Mil East
278.600 - Swanwick Mil
252.875 - Swanwick Mil central
282.865 - Scottish Mil
281.375 - Holbeach range
375.225 - Holbeach range
275.300 - 4 Sqn Skeleton Ops
241.000 - 800 NAS Demon Ops
368.300 - 1(F) Sqn Moonshine Ops
277.825 - 4 Sqn A2A
247.025 - 4 Sqn A2A
260.950 - 800 NAS A2A
386.725 - 4 Sqn A2A
242.450 - 1(F) Sqn A2A
386.725 - 800 NAS A2A
262.950 - Leeming Radar
278.000 - NATO Low Level
250.850 - Waddington Approach
372.225 - Wittering Tower
308.775 - Spadeadam Range
262.625 - DATIS
281.125 - Coningsby PAR1
339.225 - PAR/talkdown



Callsigns

1(F)
Jedi - Neon - Psycho - Ranger - Stonecat - Wellard

IV(AC)
Crater - Nightowl - Ninja - Poison - Sunburst

800 NAS
Cougar - Satan


 

RAF Cottesmore Residents

 


1(F) Sqn

ZD332
03A
Harrier GR.9A
ZD376
24A
Harrier GR.7A
ZD409
38
Harrier GR.9A
ZD411
40A
Harrier GR.7A
ZG508
79
Harrier GR.9A
ZG858
90
Harrier GR.9A


Harrier GR.9 ZD328 1(F) Sqn

 



IV(AC) Sqn

ZD321
02
Harrier GR.9
ZD375
23
Harrier GR.9
ZD378
26
Harrier GR.7
ZD402
31
Harrier GR.9
ZD435
47
Harrier GR.9
ZD436
48A
Harrier GR.7A
ZD438
50
Harrier GR.9
ZG859
91
Harrier GR.9

 

Harrier GR.7 ZD410 IV(AC) Sqn

 


Naval Strike Wing
800 & 801 NAS
Currently deployed on Operation HERRICK duties

 

Harrier GR.9 ZD465 800 NAS Naval Strike Wing


 

 

Harrier GR.9 ZD406 800 & 801 NAS Naval Strike Wing


RAF Cottesmore J.U.M.P.
(Joint Upgrade and Maintenance Programme)

ZD323
04
Harrier GR.9
 
ZD329
10
Harrier GR.9
 
ZD346
13A
Harrier GR.9
 
ZD347
14A
Harrier GR.9
 
ZD348
15
Harrier GR.9
 
ZD403
32
Harrier GR.9
 
ZD433
45A
Harrier GR.9A
 
ZD461
51A
Harrier GR.9A
 
ZD470
60
Harrier GR.9
 
ZG472
62A
Harrier GR.9
 
ZH656
104
Harrier T.12
 
ZH659
107
Harrier T.12
 
ZH664
112
Harrier T.12
 

 


RAF Cottesmore Service and Maintenance Flight

ZD330
11
Harrier GR.9
 
ZD351
18
Harrier GR.7
 
ZD352
19A
Harrier GR.9A
 
ZD379
27
Harrier GR.9
 
ZD405
34A
Harrier GR.7A
 
ZD406
35
Harrier GR.9
 
ZD410
39
Harrier GR.9
 
ZD463
53
Harrier GR.9
 
ZD466
56
Harrier GR.7
 
ZG471
61A
Harrier GR.7A
 
ZG478
68A
Harrier GR.9
 
ZG479
69A
Harrier GR.9A
 
ZG480
70
Harrier GR.9
 
ZG500
71A
Harrier GR.9
 
ZG504
75A
Harrier GR.9A
 
ZG507
78
Harrier GR.9
 
ZG531
85
Harrier GR.9A
 
ZG862
94A
Harrier GR.9A
 
ZH657
105
Harrier T.10
 

 

 


 

RAF Cottesmore History

Falklands 25th Anniversary

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© On Target Aviation 2008