RAF Cranwell

Royal Air Force Cranwell or more simply RAF Cranwell is a Royal Air Force station in Lincolnshire, England, close to the village of Cranwell, near Sleaford. Among other functions, it is home to the Royal Air Force College, which trains the RAF's new officers and Aircrew. The motto, Altium Altrix, meaning "Nurture the highest" appears above the main doors of the Officers Mess. RAF Cranwell is currently commanded by Air Commodore Suraya Marshall


The history of military aviation at Cranwell goes back to November 1915, when the Admiralty requisitioned 2,500 acres of land from the Marquess of Bristol's estate. And on 1 April 1916, the "Royal Naval Air Service Training Establishment, Cranwell" was officially born.
In 1917 a dedicated railway station was established for RAF Cranwell on a new single track branch line from Sleaford, the train being known as The Cranwell Flyer.
With the establishment of the Royal Air Force as an independent service in 1918, the RNAS Training Establishment became RAF Cranwell. The Royal Air Force College Cranwell was formed on 1 November 1919 as the RAF College.

Role and operations

Royal Air Force College

Cranwell is home to the Royal Air Force College, which trains the RAFs new officers on a 24-week initial course, after which they are dispersed to their Phase II training for specific branch instruction. It is thus the RAF equivalent of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst or the Britannia Royal Naval College.

RAF Recruitment

The station is home to the Officer and Aircrew Selection Centre, where all applicants to the RAF as Officers or non-commissioned aircrew, are put through a 4-day rigorous selection process.

Headquarters Central Flying School

HQ CFS has been located at RAF Cranwell since 1995 when it moved from RAF Scampton. The Central Flying School currently trains all RAF QFI flying instructors.

No. 3 Flying Training School

Cranwell is home to the headquarters of No. 3 Flying Training School. The school provides elementary flying training for fixed wing and multi-engine student pilots from the RAF, Fleet Air Arm and Army Air Corps through No. 57 Squadron, No. 703 Naval Air Squadron and No. 674 Squadron Army Air Corps. The UK Military Flying Training System operates the Grob Prefect T1 in this role. Although nominally based at Cranwell, elementary training largely takes place at nearby RAF Barkston Heath. After elementary training, aircrews streamed to fly multi-engine aircraft and rear-seat roles are trained by No. 45 Squadron, which operate five Embraer Phenom 100.
On 16 January 2018, the Skyes Building was opened at Cranwell by Air Marshal Sean Reynolds, the Deputy Commander Capability and Senior Responsible Owner of the UKMFTS. The building acts as a UKMFTS operational support building and is used to train new RAF pilots. It was named after Air-Vice Marshal Sir Frederick Hugh Sykes, a British military officer and politician who served during the First World War.

Air Cadets

Since the mid-1990s, Cranwell has been home to Headquarters, Air Cadets, and the Air Cadet Organisation's Adult Training Facility.

Based units

The following notable flying and non-flying units are based at RAF Cranwell.

Royal Air Force