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No. 6 Flying Training School
Active 26 Apr 1920 - 1 April 1922
1 Apr 1935 - 22 Apr 1942
17 Dec 1945 - 30 Jun 1968
1 May 1970 - 31 Mar 1996
7 Sept 2015 - present
Country  United Kingdom
Branch Royal Air Force Ensign Royal Air Force
Base RAF Cranwell
Motto(s) Latin:Aspice et Imitare
Aircraft Grob Tutor T1
Group Captain Andrew (Chas) Dickens

No. 6 Flying Training School is a Flying Training School (FTS) within No. 22 (Training) Group of the Royal Air Force that delivers flying training to University Air Squadrons[1] and Air Experience Flights.[2]


Initially formed by renaming 39 Training School at RAF Spitalgate

After moving from RAF Netheravon, becoming the first flying unit at RAF Little Rissington in August 1938 with their Audaxes, Furies, Harts and Ansons as No. 6 Service Flying Training School. Disbanded here by being redesignated No.6 (P)AFU (Pilot-Advanced Flying Unit) on 22 April 1942.[3]

From 30 April 1946 6 FTS was based at RAF Ternhill[4] equipped with North American Harvards, receiving Percival Prentices in late 1948 and from July 1953 Percival Provost T1 piston engine training aircraft replaced both types.[5] However on 24 July 1961 the school moved out to RAF Acklington where it closed again on 30 June 1968.[6]

Operational Jet Provost T.5 of No.6 Flying Training School in 1977

Reformed 1 May 1970 at RAF Finningley, within No. 23 Group RAF as an Air Navigation School (ANS) from an amalgamation the BAe Dominie T1 s of No. 1 ANS from RAF Stradishall and the Varsities No 2 ANS from RAF Gaydon. Low level navigation training took place on the Jet Provost from August 1970, eventually using the T5B variant which had extra fuel capacity in the form of wingtip tanks due to the extra fuel burn at low level. This part of the school was known as the Low Level and Air Defence Training Squadron (LLADTS). The Vickers Varsity was phased out in 1976 making No 6 FTS an all-jet school.

During the 1960s and 1970s all the RAF's Colleges and Flying Training Schools had their own Jet Provost aerobatics team. One of the less known and publicised display teams was flown by 6 FTS. They flew a team for five seasons between 1962 and 1966 and it was unofficially christened the "Cocks O'the North".[7]

On 14 August 1993, the LLADTS made its final farewell to the Jet Provost in the navigation training role when four aircraft staged a "dying swan" formation over the airfield.

6 FTS also played host to the Multi-engine Training Squadron (METS) and was responsible for the Operational Navigation training all the RAF multi-Engine pilots using twin-turboprop Handley Page Jetstream T1 aircraft. METS was granted the No. 45 (R) Squadron number plate in July 1992 before leaving 6 FTS and moving to 3 FTS at RAF Cranwell in October 1995.

The school was disbanded on 31 March 1996 with the closure of RAF Finningley.


On the 7th September 2015, 6 FTS was reborn, to command and manage the University Air Squadrons & their associated Air Experience Flights located across the UK. This role has been transferred from 3 FTS, which will undergo a change with the implementation of the new Military Flying Training System. The Elementary Flying Training (EFT) in the Royal Air Force and the other services upgrades to the Grob G 120TP in 2017, while the University Air Squadrons and Air Experience Flights will remain on the Tutor T.1.[8]

The task of 6 FTS is also to ensure continual recruitment of UAS cadets into the Royal Air Force proper, and that those who do not will at least have a better appreciation for the military which they will take forward into their careers.

Current Units[]

University Air Squadrons & Air Experience Flight bases

RAF Cosford

  • University of Birmingham Air Squadron
  • 8 AEF

Colerne Airfield

  • Bristol University Air Squadron
  • 3 AEF

RAF Wittering

RAF Cranwell

  • East Midlands University Air Squadron
  • 7 AEF

RAF Leuchars

Glasgow International Airport

RAF Woodvale

RAF Leeming

RAF Benson

MOD Boscombe Down

MOD St Athan

  • University of Wales Air Squadron
  • 1 AEF

RAF Linton-on-Ouse

  • Yorkshire Universities Air Squadron
  • 9 AEF


  • Sturtivant, R.C. (1997). Royal Air Force Flying Training and Support Units. Air-Britain (Historians) Limited. ISBN 0-85130-252-1. 

External links[]

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