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RAF Cottesmore

RAF Cottesmore was a major Tornado base for many years, being the home of the Tri-National Tornado Training Establishment (TTTE) with aircraft from all three original operators (UK, Germany and Italy) being based here. With the disbandment of that unit in 1999, Cottesmore changed its role to become the second of the RAF's two Harrier bases (the first being at nearby RAF Wittering). It was also chosen to host the RIAT in 2000 and 2001 while the show's usual home at RAF Fairford was undergoing major work.

I've only visited once for one of the RIAT shows, so I can't comment on possibilities for photography on a 'normal' day, although judging from other available information there would seem to be a few spots around the perimeter where this can be done.

Wrecks and Relics

RAF Cottesmore is somewhat unusual amongst RAF airfields nowadays in being home to no less than four preserved aircraft. Presumably it has got round the unpopular 'one base, one gateguard' ruling by virtue of the fact that only one of the aircraft is an official gateguard, with the others being preserved by the individual squadrons concerned. All are located inside the base, and are presumably impossible to photograph (or even see) unless you have permission to visit. So basically, unless you went to one of the two RIAT displays held here, you've probably lost your chance!

LA255 XE606 XW924
Spitfire F21
Hunter F6A
Harrier GR3

RIAT 2001 (28/29 July 2001)

The second of the two RIATs to be held at Cottesmore while Fairford was being repaired and upgraded, somehow the 2001 show didn't seem to be quite as spectacular as previous RIATs that I've been to. On the plus side, however, for some reason I thought the photo opportunities here were much better than at Fairford, both for the static aircraft and the flying display. Whether this was due to the different layout, the fact that there were fewer people (?), or just my imagination, I couldn't say, though. As always there was more than enough of interest to keep everyone happy, anyway.

46+44 MM7126 AS9516 34610 B-77
German AF Tornado ECR
('Tiger' markings)
Italian AF AMX
(special markings)
Malta Armed Forces Islander
R Netherlands AF Bö105
(special markings)


9526 FA-116 XX320 22 188724
Romanian AF MiG-21UM
(special markings)
Belgian AF F-16
(special markings)
RAF Hawk T1
(special markings)
Hungarian AF MiG-29
CAF CF-188
(special markings)
Last visited on 29 July 2001 Top of page


Click on the icons below to see maps relating to RAF Cottesmore. Note that these are all external links to other sites, and will open in a new window.

Street Map   Area Map
OS street map of the RAF Cottesmore area

Courtesy of:

  General map of the Cottesmore area

Courtesy of:
Maps by Travel

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Royal Air Force Cottesmore (official)
A fairly small and simple website, giving basic information about the station (mission, history, units etc.)

RAF Cottesmore
Part of the 'Spotter's Guide' section of the superb Thunder & Lightnings website, containing full and very comprehensive details of everything you'll need to know about viewing or photography at Cottesmore. Highly recommended.

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