RAF Coningsby Crest

Crown Copyright

RAF Coningsby map

RAF Coningsby (ICAO identity = EGXC) is well known as one of the better RAF stations in England for aviation photography and viewing. Located on the southern edge of the Lincolnshire Fens, Coningsby village is on the A153 Sleaford to Louth road, 14 miles north east of Sleaford and the A15. Within a 30 minute drive are RAF Stations Cranwell & Waddington, with Scampton around 45 minutes away to the north of Lincoln.
The RAF east coast Weapons Ranges at Donna Nook, Wainfleet and Holbeach are around an hour away to the north east and south east.


1. Respect all farm property; the farmers are very tolerant of people in their fields BUT always walk around the edge of fields to avoid damage to crops and without fail dispose of your litter in the correct manner, there are suitable facilities in Coningsby village.
2. Please park sensibly and be aware of the B1192, it can be a very busy road with fast traffic.
3. Do not lean ladders against the chain link fences, however tall steps are generally tolerated by the RAF Police. 

RAF Coningsby is currently home to the Typhoon of 3(F), XI(F), 17(R) and 29(R) Sqns along with 41(R) Sqn and its fleet of Harrier GR.9s & Tornado GR.4s.

Also based at Coningsby is PA474, the only flying Lancaster in Europe and five Spitfires, two Hurricanes, Dakota and two Chipmunks of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

Foreign visitors were fairly uncommon until recently, however foreign Typhoons from the German, Italian and Spanish Air Forces have started to make visits to the station. More regular visitors are RAF Tucanos, Hawks, Harriers, Tornado GR.4s & F.3s and USAFE F-15s from Lakenheath. Almost without fail you will find Dominie's & King Airs from nearby Cranwell circuit bashing or making practice approaches.

Flying normally takes place during Monday to Thursday from 08:00 to 18:00 and Friday 08:00 until around 15:00. There are also regular periods of night flying until 23:00 or later during the winter months. Coningsby is the southern Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) base so flying will take place outside of published operating hours. Weekends do see the very occasional fast jet movement when aircraft deploy or return and during the airshow season the BBMF are very active; the last Sunday of September usually results in a number of BBMF aircraft flying for the gathered members of the Lincolnshire Lancaster Association, a time when the airfield perimeter becomes extremely congested, especially at the 07 end.

Located alongside point (3) is an information board detailing the flights weekly movements during the airshow season and the BBMF’s website is also a useful point of reference.

Airfield Viewing

Approaching from the A153 (Sleaford direction), you'll pass through Tattershall and enter Coningsby village. Located nearby at Tattershall Thorpe Camp, alongside the B1192, is Lightning F.1A XM192.

The following guide takes you in an anti-clockwise route around the airfield:
Turn off the A153 at the junction besides Lloyds Bank and head south on the minor road - both RAF Coningsby and the BBMF are clearly signposted from here. You will soon approach a mini roundabout, proceed straight across to Dogdyke Road (signposted for the BBMF).

You will pass through a residential area and then with the airfield in view you’ll arrive at the first stop (1). The first hangar on your left is the home of the BBMF – opposite here is large and clearly marked car park for visitors. Please cross the road with caution. The visitors centre has an excellent shop with toilets and award winning displays. Catering is often available just outside the entrance to the visitors centre.

Opening hours are Monday to Friday 10:00-17:00, with guided tours of the hangar available from 10:30-15:30 (15:00 November – February). Please note the visitors centre is normally closed at weekends, Bank Holidays and for a two week period over Christmas & New Year.

A short walk along the road to the left of the BBMF visitors centre brings you to the aircraft wash bay (2). Aircraft parked here are photographable through the fence with a short lens but beware of the ditch between the road and the fence!  Head back along the fence line and any BBMF aircraft parked outside the hangar will be seen along with open views across the main Aircraft Servicing Platform (ASP). Visiting aircraft occasionally park in this area and photos can be taken of visitors on the ASP through the fence, a 200mm or 300mm lens is sufficient for all but the furthest aircraft. The nearest line of Typhoons at this point will be 29(R) Sqn and the furthest away are 17(R). 41(R) Sqn aircraft park behind the 17(R) Sqn line.

To the south (looking across the runway) are the Hardened Aircraft Shelters (HAS) and the Typhoons of 3(F) Sqn.

Within a short distance south along Dogdyke Road is a small lay-by on the left hand side (3) with views across the ASP and BBMF. The BBMF information board is located here and is often updated with the Flight’s movements during the airshow season. Carrying on past this area and round the bend to the right is the main viewing area for Coningsby (4). This is part of the disused airfield dispersals and has recently been surfaced with tarmac and provided as a viewing area thanks to the MoD and RAF. From the viewing area you can get reasonable landing shots of aircraft approaching runway 07 with anything over 200mm however unless late in the day you will be photographing into the sun.

If you’re looking for taxiing shots of aircraft heading to/from the ASP to 07, park in the viewing area and then walk across the road to the wooden perimeter fence. You will need at least a 3 step ladder to see over the fence but aircraft taxi alongside the fence line here, resulting in pleasing opportunities. Beware of the black anti climb paint along the tops of the fence (5).

Walking further along the fence line takes you to the end of runway 07 (6). Once again, aircraft heading to/from the ASP can be photographed here along with aircraft heading to/from the southern HAS sites.

Carrying on southwards and just at the point where the airfield fence turns east away from you is a farm track (7). There’s room here for quite a few cars to park but please park off the track on the verge. From the fence line corner here you have a good view of the 07 approach. However, a walk down the track brings you to a mound which gives excellent views across the airfield. Whilst it is too distant for photos of aircraft on the ASP, it’s an excellent spot for 07 approach and landing shots. The other advantage of this location is aircraft taxiing to and from the southern HAS complex can easily be photographed over the fence, thus allowing the opportunity to obtain shots looking down on to the aircraft.

Although a great location to photograph from the area becomes very dusty in the summer and a cold mud bath during the winter months.

To view the southern HAS complex you will need to return to your car and turn left out of the track, once again onto Dogdyke Road.  Follow this road round the sharp left and carry on straight towards Hawthorn Hill. At the crossroads turn left, and follow the road, taking the sharp right down the single track road.

Initially views along this road are limited and distant however you’ll soon be alongside the Visiting Aircraft Service Section (VASS). Pull off the road and park on the verge (beware of soft ground). Any parked aircraft here can be photographed with steps tall enough to get you over the chain link fence (8).

Continuing along this track brings you to a T junction and you'll pass crash gate 5 on the corner; take a left for more views of the VASS with the 3(F) Sqn HAS site in the distance to the west. Runway 30 is also located in this area (9) along with a taxi way between the two HAS sites; this presents the opportunity for slightly distant photography. Carry on to the end of the track and you’ll arrive at the edge of the XI(F) Sqn HAS site with Lightning F.6 XR753 on display right in front of you. Please do not obstruct the gate at this location.

This area often provides the opportunity to take top side shots of the BBMF aircraft or a Typhoon manoeuvring during display rehearsals.

Go back down the track towards Scrub Hill and at the cross roads turn left towards New York; when besides the derelict church, turn left on to the B1192. Look out for a bright yellow house on the left and then after a short distance is Reedham Lane, also on the left – this leads to crash gate 4 (10). Parking is normally OK here with plenty of room, but as with other areas the verges can be soft. This can be an excellent location to take photographs from, although you will need tall steps to photograph over the chain link fence. Your view to the west, across most of the airfield, is obscured by the 11(F) Sqn HAS site but this location still offers decent photo opportunities - the southern taxiway is directly in front of you (complete with a gentle slope towards 25 so watch your horizons!) and aircraft landing on 07 complete their landing roll on the runway within easy range of a 300mm lens; Obviously, when 25 is in use you have similar shots of initial touchdown and the occasional break overhead from arriving aircraft. It's also another useful spot during display rehearsals as the sun is behind you for most of the day.

To get to the 25 threshold go back out the way you came in and turn left onto the B1192 again. The 25 approach is clearly visible thanks to the traffic lights. There is a no parking restriction in force (double yellow lines) on this stretch, which includes the verge itself, but there is a rough lay-by on the left (11) and please park sensibly and not past the traffic lights. As one of the better locations for photography it can become very busy here. Be aware the B1192 is a very busy road and cars do speed by you here. Approaching aircraft are extremely easy to photograph from this point and a lens in the 300-400mm range can get you good shots of aircraft taxiing onto the runway end. Although the wooden slat fence here is fairly low you will still need a 2-3 step ladder to see over it.    

If you want photos of anything taxiing out of the southern HAS sites, or a closer look at aircraft lining up on the runway, go for a walk along the field edge to the taxiway corner (12). You'll be shooting through a chain link fence unless you take a step ladder with you - a reminder that if you do, please do not lean it against the fence. Also please note that the farmer does not mind people using this corner of the field but you must stick to the edge of the field and not cut across it! As well as head-on shots down the southern taxiway, this location offers the opportunity for side-on shots until early afternoon, by which time the sun will have moved in front of you.

If you are looking for the elusive topside photograph a good location for photography is found by heading north from point (11) on the B1192 and once past the disused weapons storage area take the first right (Moor Side) and head south. Follow this road until you see double yellow lines on either side of the road, this is when you’re under the approach again. Carrying on a little way brings you to farm track on the right. The farmer doesn't generally object to cars parking here as long as you do not obstruct the track entrance but there is plenty of room for sensible parking. From here you’ll need at least a 400mm lens but there are frequent opportunities to photograph aircraft turning in on finals.

When finished at this location drive back to the B1192; once again you'll see the disused weapons dump, now on your left. Turn in here and follow the track that goes along the northern edge of the dump, turning left at the T junction. Continue straight on and you’ll arrive at a crash gate on the northern side of the airfield (13). Parking here is only really limited to one or two cars near the gate. This location is far from the best for photography but is a quiet area to watch aircraft. Photography is best during the winter months after mid afternoon as the sun will have moved round to your right (west) to allow excellent close-up shots of anything taxiing to or from the ASP. The fence here is wooden slats and only a two or three step ladder is required.

Head back up the lane and carry straight on past the disused weapons storage area. This is Cross Keys Lane leading to the main road. At the junction turn left on to the B1192. At the junction of the B1192/A153 is a petrol station with toilets and a well stocked shop. Turn left onto the A153 and head into Coningsby village. As with the start of the guide you’re looking to turn (left) at Lloyds Bank.

Carry on past the entrance to the car park with toilets – opposite the doctor’s surgery - and you’ll arrive back at the mini roundabout; however, this time turn left and follow the sign for RAF Coningsby. Eventually you’ll pass the main entrance to the station on your right. Do not turn into the station entrance but proceed straight on and after a slight bend in the road you’ll arrive at Crash Gate 1 (14). Parking is not normally a problem here thanks to extensive grass verges but please do not obstruct the crash gate.

The chain link fence is reasonably low, but short steps will be required for photography unless you take advantage of the low earth mound behind you.  Aircraft taxi by here from/to the ASP and rotation shots are possible although the position of the sun means it's really only a workable option late in the day or when the weather is overcast. The pad used by 41(R) Sqn Harriers for vertical landings is located in front of this area, often presenting memorable (and noisy) landings.

Returning back along this road, you'll pass the station entrance again. The F-4 Phantom and Tornado F.3 gate guards are located well inside the station entrance but can be glimpsed through gaps in the hedge and fencing. Close photography and access will not usually be allowed without prior permission from the Station’s Media and Communications Officer.


Scanner Frequencies

120.800 - Zone
121.175 - BBMF A2A
124.675 - BBMF A2A
234.675 - Base Op's 'Seagull'
241.325 - 29(R) Sqn 'Buzzard' Op's
242.250 - 41(R) Sqn A2A
243.325 - 29(R) Sqn 'Buzzard' Op's
244.450 - 41(R) Sqn A2A
253.225 - 3(F) Sqn A2A
268.700 - 3(F) Sqn A2A
269.150 - 29(R) Sqn A2A
277.500 - Director
279.075 - Ground
279.080 - Ground
279.200 - 11(F) Sqn A2A
280.300 - DATIS
281.125 - PAR Secondary
281.375 - PAR
282.725 - Approach
284.400 - 3(F) Sqn 'Cockatrice' Op's
290.725 - 3(F) Sqn A2A
339.250 - 17(R) Sqn 'Monkey' A2A
339.300 - 41(R) Sqn 'Rebel' Op's
340.250 - Tower
341.200 - PAR Primary
359.475 - 29(R) Sqn A2A
362.050 - 29(R) Sqn A2A
362.125 - 41(R) Sqn A2A
362.400 - 11(F) Sqn 'Diamond' Op's
368.275 - 3(F) A2A
376.350 - Departures
377.550 - 17(R) Sqn 'Laser' Op's
377.500 - 41(R) Sqn 'Rebel' Op's
379.100 - 11(F) Sqn A2A
379.200 - 11(F) Sqn A2A
379.275 - 17(R) Sqn Op's
389.675 - 29(R) Sqn A2A


3(F) Sqn
Chaos – Rampage – Zenith – Savage – Getsum - Nightmare

11(F) Sqn
Razor – Havoc – Tyrant - Gringo

17(R) Sqn
Monkey - Zircon

29(R) Sqn
Triplex – Relax – Fazer - Bluster

41(R) Sqn
Apollo – Rebel - Tonic

Plus Typhoon xx or xxx allocated to individual pilots and BBMF identified by type flown i.e. Chippy, Spitfire, Hurricane, Dakota and Lancaster.


RAF Coningsby Residents


3(F) Sqn

Typhoon T.1A
Typhoon FGR.4
Typhoon FGR.4
Typhoon FGR.4
R2/WASMU Warton
Typhoon FGR.4
Incorrectly coded Q-OA
Typhoon FGR.4
Typhoon FGR.4
Typhoon FGR.4
R2/WASMU Warton
Typhoon F.2
Typhoon FGR.4
R2/WASMU Warton
Typhoon F.2
Typhoon F.2
Incorrectly coded QON
Typhoon F.2
Typhoon F.2
Typhoon F.2

Typhoon F.2 ZJ917 3(F) Sqn


XI(F) Sqn

Typhoon T.1A
Typhoon F.2
Typhoon FGR.4
R2/WASMU Warton
Typhoon F.2
Typhoon FGR.4
R2/WASMU Warton
Typhoon F.2
Typhoon F.2
Typhoon F.2
Typhoon FGR.4
Typhoon FGR.4
Typhoon FGR.4
Typhoon FGR.4
Typhoon FGR.4
Typhoon FGR.4
Damaged China Lake, USA, 25/04/2008



17(R) Sqn

Typhoon T.3
Typhoon FGR.4
Typhoon FGR.4
Typhoon FGR.4

Typhoon F.2 ZJ913 17(R) Sqn



29(R) Sqn

Typhoon T.1
Typhoon T.3
R2/WASMU Warton
Typhoon T.1
Typhoon T.1
Typhoon T.1
Typhoon T.1
Typhoon T.1
Typhoon T.1
R2/WASMU Warton
Typhoon T.3
R2/WASMU Warton
Typhoon T.1
Typhoon T.1A
Typhoon T.1A
Typhoon FGR.4
R2/WASMU Warton
Typhoon F.2

Typhoon T.1 ZJ809 29(R) Sqn




41(R) Sqn

Tornado GR.4
Tornado GR.4
Tornado GR.4
Harrier GR.9
Harrier GR.9
Tornado GR.4
Harrier GR.9

Tornado GR.4 ZA611 41(R) Sqn

Harrier GR.9 ZG503 41(R) Sqn





Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF)

Spitfire II.A
Spitfire V.B
Spitfire LF.IXE
Spitfire PR.XIX
Spitfire PR.XIX
Spitfire LFX.VIE rebuild
Hurricane II.C
Hurricane II.C
Chipmunk T.10
Chipmunk T.10
Dakota C.3
Lancaster B.1

Lancaster B.I  PA474 BBMF

C-47 Dakota ZA947 BBMF

Spitfire MkIIA P7350 BBMF

Hurricane IIC LF363 BBMF

Chipmunk T.10 WG486 BBMF




Lightning F.6 XI displayed outside 11(F) Sqn Ops
Phantom FGR.2 Z on display at main gate
Harrier GR.3 on display 3(F) Sqn HAS site
Tornado F.3 AP on display at main gate
Ground Instruction


Typhoon DA4 ZH590


RAF Coningsby History

6 Sqn Disbandment

Back to the top

© On Target Aviation 2008