RAF Linton on Ouse, commanded by a Group Captain, provides basic fast jet pilot training for Royal Navy, RAF and Foreign & Commonwealth students in preparation for advanced training on the Hawk at RAF Valley, and refresher and instructor training for qualified RAF and Royal Navy pilots. In addition to the airfield at Linton-on-Ouse, No 1 Flying Training School (FTS) operates relief landing grounds at Dishforth and Topcliffe.
The almost 900 personnel work in one of the three Wings (Flying, Operations, Support), as part of the Babcock Support Contract, on the Simulator for Thales, or in one of the Lodger Units. There is currently only one Flying Squadron, 72 (Reserve) Squadron, operating the Tucano T1.
The conclusions of the Government’s Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR 2010), which were announced by the Prime Minister in October 2010, had a major impact on the training of pilots and weapons system operators, with the decisions to withdraw the RAF and Royal Navy Harrier fleet, cancel the procurement of the Nimrod MRA4, and reduce the RAF Tornado GR4 fleet by two squadrons. This led to the ending of weapons system operator training and disbanding of No 76 (Reserve) Squadron in May 2011, and a considerable reduction in the number of student pilots undertaking basic fast-jet training on the Tucano, leading to the disbanding of No 207 (Reserve) Squadron in January 2012.
2.0 Operations Wing
The Officer Commanding Operations Wing, a Wing Commander, is tasked directly by the Station Commander with ensuring the operational capability of No 1 FTS.
Operations Wing provides operational support to 72 (Reserve) Squadron and manages the airfields at RAF Church Fenton and Topcliffe in addition to the hub, RAF Linton-on-Ouse. Furthermore, Operations Wing is also responsible for the guarding and physical security of both RAF Linton-on-Ouse and RAF Church Fenton. Finally, the Operations Wing provides training to 1 FTS service personnel that includes Common Core Skills, first-aid, live-armed guard and post crash management.
3.0 72 (Reserve) Squadron
72 (Reserve) Squadron is responsible for flying training strategy, long-term plans, flying publications, personnel management, and ultimately the delivery of trained pilots into further training. It is commanded by a Wing Commander and forms part of a triumvirate with No 22 (Training) Group Flying Training and PMA 31-33 in delivering the output of trained aircrew, on time and to the highest standards.
Personal and Force Development of both staff and students is supported by the Officer Commanding (OC) Force Development Squadron, who also acts as a mentor to the student pilots. The Station Flight Safety officer is also directly responsible to the OC 72 (Reserve) Squadron for the safe execution of all flying-related activities. 72 (Reserve) Squadron is composed of: A Flight; B Flight; CFS Flight; and the Groundschool.
No 1 FTS Ground School is located in the Cheshire Hall teaching complex next to No 1 Hangar. Its role is to prepare all basic fast jet students and future flying instructors for training on the Tucano aircraft. In addition, it offers accommodation for other organisations such as Babcock.
4.0 The Central Flying School Tucano Squadron
The Central Flying School (CFS) Tucano Squadron forms part of the CFS Examining Wing but is a lodger unit within RAF Linton on Ouse.
The CFS Examining Wing, although based within the CFS HQ at RAFC Cranwell, is a diverse unit responsible for examining all aspects of flying and flying instruction. The Commandant CFS is responsible, through their staff, for maintaining the aim of the CFS; which is to develop and maintain the highest possible standards of pure flying and flying instruction on both fixed and rotary wing aircraft throughout the RAF.
The CFS Tucano Squadron is responsible for:
- Training Tucano Qualified Flying Instructors (QFIs).
- Refresher training for pilots returning to flying duties from ground appointments and for pilots returning to fast jet operational conversion units.
- UK orientation course for Foreign & Commonwealth pilots and navigators.
- Second stage ab-initio navigator training.