RAF Tornado Farewell Flypast: Where and when North East aircraft fans can see finale flights

Ministry of Defence handout photo of three specially painted Tornado GR4's flying a unique photographic sortie as part of the Tornado Force farewell to the GR4 on Wednesday. Picture by Cpl Lee Matthews RAF
Ministry of Defence handout photo of three specially painted Tornado GR4's flying a unique photographic sortie as part of the Tornado Force farewell to the GR4 on Wednesday. Picture by Cpl Lee Matthews RAF
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RAF Tornado jets are in the skies this week for a finale flypast to mark their retirement from service after 40 years in operation.

The iconic military jets, which saw service in the first Gulf War, as well as performing duties in Kosovo, Libya, Afghanistan, and more recently against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, have been among the best-known in the Royal Airforce since their introduction in 1979.

The aircraft will have been fully retired by the end of March this year.

The RAF’s new fleet of F-35 Lightning jets will form the backbone of the UK’s combat air fleet alongside the Typhoon jets in the coming years.

Full flight times for the farewell flypast have now been released. The North East's RAF Boulmer in Northumberland has not been included on the list.

The closest locations are RAF Spadeadam in Cumbria, close to the border with Northumberland, and three bases in North Yorksire: RAF Leeming, RAF Topcliffe –andRAF Linton-On-Ouse.

Route information between airbases is not available. The Spadeadam flypast takes place this afternoon, making tomorrow your best bet if you wish to see the aircraft in flight, unless you happen to be in the Spadeadam area already.

People are being advised that timings are approximate, and are subject to weather conditions and aircraft serviceability.

A post on RAF Leeming's website reads: "After careful consideration of a number of factors, the flypast route has been set to incorporate as many UK locations as possible that have had a link to the Tornado GR Force over the years.

"Unfortunately it is not possible to fly over every location and it will not be possible to add any additional locations.

"Please note that the flypast route may need to be amended on the day due to weather or other operational reasons. We cannot promise that aircraft will be visible between locations as they will fly at different heights in different areas.

"The Tornado will retire from RAF service at the end of March 2019, no flying will occur after this point."

"The flypast timings are as below and are APPROXIMATE. If you are planning to travel, please bear in mind that the flypast is subject to serviceability and weather conditions. We cannot guarantee height or visibility in different areas. Route information between Stations is not available."

Tuesday February 19

1315 – 1330 Kendrew Barracks (RAF Cottesmore) – National Memorial Arboretum – DECA Stafford – RAF Cosford

1330 – 1345 RAF Shawbury – DECA Sealand

1345 – 1400 RAF Valley

1415 – 1430 BAES Warton – BAES Samlesbury

1430 – 1445 RAF Spadeadam

1445 – 1500 RAF Leeming – RAF Topcliffe – RAF Linton-On-Ouse

1500 – 1515 RAF Waddington – RAF College Cranwell – Royal Air Force Coningsby

1515 – 1535 RAF Donna Nook – RAF Holbeach – RAF Wyton

Wednesday February 20

1300 – 1315 Royal Air Force Honington

1315 – 1330 Imperial War Museum Duxford – Former RAE Bedford – Cranfield Airfield – Royal Air Force Halton – RAF High Wycombe

1330 – 1345 RAF Benson – HQ Land Forces, Andover, MOD Boscombe Down

1400 – 1415 RAF Pembrey – MOD St Athan – Cardiff Airport

1415 – 1430 Rolls Royce Filton – MOD Abbey Wood – MOD Shrivenham – RAF Brize Norton

Thursday February 21

1115 – 1130 Leuchars Station

1130 – 1145 RAF Tain

1145 – 1200 RAF Lossiemouth