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RAF Odiham

Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg

File:RAF Odiham crest.png
Grob glider similar to that used by 618 VGS
IATA: ODH – ICAO: EGVO
Summary
Airport type Military
Owner Ministry of Defence
Operator Royal Air Force
Location Odiham, Hampshire
Built 1925 (1925)
In use 1925-present
Elevation AMSL 404 ft / 123 m
Coordinates 51°14′03″N 000°56′34″W / 51.23417°N 0.94278°W / 51.23417; -0.94278
Map

Lua error in Module:Location_map at line 510: Unable to find the specified location map definition: "Module:Location map/data/Hampshire" does not exist.Location in Hampshire

Runways
Direction Length Surface
ft m
10/28 6,052 1,838 Asphalt
Approach 131.30 Mhz, Tower 122.1 Mhz

Royal Air Force Station Odiham or more simply RAF Odiham (IATA: ODH, ICAO: EGVO) is a Royal Air Force station situated a little to the south of the historic small village of Odiham in Hampshire, England. It is the home of the Royal Air Force's heavy lift helicopter, the Chinook HC2, HC2A and HC3. Its current station commander is Group Captain D J Toriati OBE MA RAF.

History[edit | edit source]

Aircraft operations began from the site in 1925 but it was not until October 1937 that it was opened as a permanent airfield, ironically by Erhard Milch, then the Chief of Staff for the Luftwaffe.[1]

Second World War[edit | edit source]

During the Second World War North American Mustangs and Hawker Typhoons were flown out of the base. After the Allied invasion of Europe the site became a prisoner of war camp.

Postwar[edit | edit source]

Following the end of the War RAF Fighter Command assumed control of the base and operated Supermarine Spitfires, Hawker Hunters and Gloster Javelins. No. 54 Squadron RAF moved in 1949, flying de Havilland Vampires, before being reequipped with Meteors and being relocated to RAF Stradishall in 1959. As part of her coronation celebrations Queen Elizabeth II reviewed the Royal Air Force at Odiham in 1953.

After a short period in "care and maintenance" status the base was reopened as part of Transport Command. In this role Westland Whirlwind and then Bristol Belvedere helicopters were operated from the base. From 1961 to 1981 the Westland Wessex was based here, joined by the Aérospatiale Puma of 33 Squadron and 230 Squadron in 1970.

In 1981 the Wessex helicopters of 72 Squadron moved to RAF Aldergrove, followed by 33 Squadron's Pumas in 1997 to RAF Benson.

Current role[edit | edit source]

The first Chinook HC.1s were delivered to the RAF in 1980 and arrived at Odiham in 1982. The first HC.2 arrived in 1993. The RAF ordered the Chinook HC.3, a special forces variant, in 1995. After being in storage for eight years due to avionics certification problems, the HC.3 airframes were retro-fitted with HC.2 avionics during 2009 and 2010, to enable them to finally enter RAF service.[1][10] In 2009, orders were placed for additional aircraft, but this is subject to the Strategic Defence Review due to be published in late 2010.[11] Additional aircraft are likely to be based at nearby RAF Benson.

618 Volunteer Gliding Squadron arrived in July 2000. The Unit operates the Vigilant T Mk 1 self-launching glider. The Unit provides basic flying and gliding training to members of the Air Cadet Organisation. The Squadron operates normally at weekends and also runs four continuous week courses each year.

In 2010 it was announced that Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire Police would share Air Support. RAF Odiham will house one of two helicopters covering the three counties, the other being based in Shoreham in Sussex.

The Kestrel Gliding Club continues to fly from Odiham at weekends, having become part of the Royal Air Force Gliding and Soaring Association in 2006.

Resident units[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

Citations[edit | edit source]

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

  • Jefford, C.G, MBE, BA, RAF (Retd). RAF Squadrons, a Comprehensive Record of the Movement and Equipment of all RAF Squadrons and their Antecedents since 1912. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing, 2001. ISBN 1-84037-141-2.

External links[edit | edit source]


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