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RAF Northolt

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RAF Northolt BAe 146.

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5,535ft (07/25)

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RAF Northolt BAe 146.
RAF Northolt BAe 146 - John Bilcliffe

RAF Northolt is located in South Ruislip which is about six miles north of London Heathrow Airport. Northolt operates in the VIP and general air transport roles with No.32 (The Royal) Squadron using four BAe 146 aircraft (shortly to be replaced by two Dassault 900LX 'Envoy IV' aircraft) and an Agusta A109E helicopter.

Two Britten-Norman Islander CC.2s are also operated by the 'Station Flight' at Northolt and used in the electronic intelligence gathering role.

RAF Northolt Satellite View

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Plane Finder tracks mainly civilian flights but does also include some military aircraft such as the Tutor, Tucano, Hawk, Voyager, BAe 146, Squirrel HT1, and Sentinel R1 etc which can be seen over the UK. ADS-B Exchange (Click on ADSBX Radar View) tracks many other military aircraft such as Tornado, Typhoon, F-15, Hercules etc over the UK.

Scanner Frequencies

RAF Northolt Scanner Frequencies
Approach - 126.450
Departures - 129.125
Radar (Director) - 130.350
PAR - 125.875, 343.750, *123.300
Tower - 120.675, 279.925, *257.800
Ground - 121.575
OPS - 389.450
ATIS - 299.800, 125.125
*= NATO Common Frequency

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Aircraft & Squadrons
RAF Northolt is home to No.32 (The Royal) Squadron which operates in the VIP and general air transport roles using four BAe 146 aircraft (2x BAe 146-100 CC.2 & 2x BAe 146-200 C.3) and an Agusta A109E helicopter. The Squadron is tasked to deliver a safe, secure and responsive 'Command Support Air Transport' (CSAT) capability for senior military commanders, Government Ministers and occasionally the Royal Family. RAF Northolt also houses the 'Station Flight', operating two Britten-Norman Islander CC.2s in electronic intelligence gathering (photographic mapping and light communications roles).

Lodger Units at Northolt include No.600 Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force, 621 EOD Squadron Royal Logistics Corps (part of 11 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Regiment RLC), No.1 AIDU (Aeronautical Information Documents Unit), the Central Band of the Royal Air Force, the Service Prosecuting Authority, Naval Aeronautical Information Centre, the British Forces Post Office (BFPO), the Air Historical Branch and the Polish Records Office.

No.32 (The Royal) Sqn - Dassault 900LX 'Envoy IV', AW109SP.
Northolt Station Flight - Britten-Norman Islander CC.2.

The two BAe146 Mk2 aircraft will retire and become the latest exhibits at the British Airliner Collection at Duxford and the South Wales Aviation Museum at St Athan. The other two BAe146 aircraft will be sold to civilian operators. All four BAe146 aircraft will retire by March 2022 and be replaced by two Dassault 900LX 'Envoy IV' aircraft (see news page). See the Strategic Defence and Security Review.

Northolt aerodrome opened in May 1915 and aircraft were used to defend London against Zeppelin raids. The Fairey Aviation Company conducted test flights at Northolt from 1917 until 1928.

By 1939, Northolt had new concrete runways and during World War 2 was an active base with RAF and Polish Air Force fighter squadrons defending the country from German bombers. Northolt was the first RAF station to operate the Hawker Hurricane (111 Sqn). During the Battle of Britain (September 1940), No.1 Squadron RCAF, No.229 Squadron, No.303 Polish Fighter Squadron, No.504 Squadron, and part of No.264 Squadron were based at the station, all under the control of No.11 Group RAF. After the Battle of Britain, the station remained a base for daytime fighter operations and in 1944, reconnaissance squadrons using Spitfires and Mosquitos moved here. RAF Northolt became home to Prime Minister Winston Churchill's personal aircraft, a modified Douglas C-54 Skymaster, in June 1944.

After the War, Northolt was used by civil aviation during the construction of nearby Heathrow Airport and became a major base for British European Airways. During 1952 it was the busiest airfield in Europe and the RAF also maintained a presence throughout this time. Civilian flights ended in 1954 when Heathrow opened and Northolt was used solely by the military again.

In April 1995, following amalgamation with The Queens Flight, the Squadron became No 32 (The Royal) Squadron and operated the HS125, BAe146 and Wessex, Gazelle, Twin Squirrel and now the Augusta 109 helicopter types in the Communications role. Today, the base operates in the VIP and general air transport roles using four BAe 146 aircraft and an Agusta A109E helicopter with No.32 (The Royal) Squadron RAF.


Northolt BAe 146.Northolt BAe 146 - John Bilcliffe.

Northolt Agusta A109E.Northolt Agusta A109E - John Bilcliffe.

Northolt BAe 146.Northolt BAe 146 - John Bilcliffe.

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