RAF Lossiemouth

Crown Copyright

RAF Lossiemouth viewing map

RAF Lossiemouth (ICAO code EGQS) in the north of Scotland must rate as one of the countries best bases for both viewing and photography.  Situated on the Moray coast with Inverness 40 miles to the west and Aberdeen 60 miles to the east, Lossiemouth is the most northerly of the RAF airfields with the bombing ranges of Tain and Cape Wrath located to the west and north west. The RAF’s other remaining airfields in Scotland are RAF Kinloss, nine miles to the south west and RAF Leuchars approximately ninety miles to the south south east.

RAF Lossiemouth is home to Tornado GR.4s of three operational Squadrons (Nos 12 (B), 14 and 617) along with XV (Reserve) Sqn and the Sea King HAR 3A’s of 'D' Flight, 202 Sqn.  Two ground defence units – Nos 51 and 2622 (Highland) Sqns RAF Regiment are also based here.  Flying normally takes place between 08:00 and 23:00hrs Monday to Thursday with Friday seeing the base close around 13-14:00hrs.  English Bank and Public holidays are best avoided though.

Lossie receives its fair share of visitors and in the past year F-4F Phantoms from JG71 (Richthofen), Mirage 2000N’s from EC01.004 and Aeronavale Rafales from 12F took part in Exercise Neptune Warrior. Tornado IDS aircraft from Saudi Arabia undertook an historic exchange visit with 617 Sqn during the summer of 2007 and throughout the year Hawks, Harriers, Tucanos and Typhoons are frequent visitors. With RAF Kinloss being so close Nimrod MR.2s frequently use Lossie as well.

Approaching RAF Lossiemouth from the south you pass the main gate on the B9135.  We head in an anti-clockwise direction and take a left at the junction with the B9040 towards Hopeman.  500m past the main approach lights to runway 23 there is a track on the left (1) which doubles back towards Lossie town.  Please do not park down the tarmac road as this is access for one of the crash gates.  There are plenty of parking opportunities along the hardcore track but please keep the area at the end free for vehicles to turn (2).  Anywhere along this track gives excellent views of the XV(R) Sqn line and VAS (Visiting Aircraft Section).  At the end of this track there is a grass track in use by the golf course – follow this along towards Lossie town and you will pass directly under the 23 flightpath (3).  Please be aware of the safety aspects if standing in this area and please use ear defenders – it gets extremely loud here.  Moving east along the grass track there are several vantage points to be had by the low wooden fence (no steps necessary) and you finally end up at the disused Sentry post or Pill Box (4).  Access to this is either round the back or sometimes there is a path worn directly from the track to the ‘front door’.  You can climb up onto this excellent vantage point either round the back or through the door and up the central access.

Moving along the B9040 towards Hopeman you pass the entrance to Silver Sands Caravan park and about a mile later there is a junction left towards Duffus on an unclassified road.  Half a mile further on and the entrance to the famous Gordonstoun School is on the right.  There is a wood to the left and just beyond this is a tarmac track which takes you to the end of runway 10.  This single-track road ends at a low wooden fence (5) where you should park on the left hand verge keeping the entrance to the field on the right and the farm track to the left clear.  Please do not double park on this track or block field entrances as the farmer is ‘sensitive’.  Follow the edge of the field which passes directly below the flightpath and this takes you to the junction of the main chain-link fence (6). From here you can see XV(R) Sqn HAS site, 617 Sqn HAS site, 202 Sqn hangar and the 14 Sqn line.  Please do not cross the low wooden fence at this point however tempting it might seem.

500m further on from this track junction takes you to a bad right hand corner.  You can park here for taxi shots but you can get better access a bit further on so there’s no need.  If you do park here please keep the crash gate clear.

Traveling further along the Duffus road takes you to the 05 end (7).  Please do not park in the passing places but use the verge and keep field entrances clear – the farmer uses these all year round.  Again you can walk along the field boundary and this can get you really close to the action.  Most folk congregate around the fence line here (8) but standing further back gets just as good pics.  You can usually walk round the fence boundary all year round but please be careful if the field is in crop.  Photos from the centreline (9) can be had here.

Still traveling in an anti-clockwise direction brings you under the approach to 05 (10).  Please do not park directly under the approach or you will be moved by the RAF Police.  Either park on the verge (11) or in the field opposite (12), again keeping the entrance clear.

At the junction take a left back towards Lossie.  There are rough lay-by's along the road where parking off-road is available but the main parking area is at the metal compound 500m further on (13).  Keeping clear of the gates, parking is on the grass but be aware that this gets boggy in the winter and care has to be taken.  You can walk round the compound by the edge and good photos can be had from either end (14/15).  Occasionally the field can be crossed and this offers excellent head-on taxi shots of aircraft coming from 617 Sqn (16).  The corner of the fence is popular although standing further back does have equal benefits.

100m on from the last junction is another junction to the right which takes you to Elgin.  Opposite this junction is a crash gate (17) which gets you really close to the taxiway - park on the main road here, avoiding the field entrance and the track itself.  A small walk (100m) takes you to the gate but you will need a big pair of stepladders to see over the chain link fence either side of it.  There is a small gap beside the gate itself and with a small enough lens you could easily grab a side-on shot here.

Further along the road again takes you to a set of RAF houses and a crash gate behind 202 Sqn hangar.  Parking is on the road here.  Please note though that there have been occasions where the RAF Police have visited enthusiasts at this location so a polite exchange is advised and you should be ok.

There are a couple of field entrances a bit further back from this track (18) and when the aircraft are taking off from runway 23 you can see them retracting their undercarriage.  This can also be a good spot to see aircraft banking from the circuit towards their downwind leg although at 1,000ft a reasonable crop is required on all but the biggest zooms.

Back now to the junction with the B9135 and an opportunity to view movements on runway 28.  Park on the verge before the junction or on the bellmouth to the cycle path either side of the road making sure the track and field entrances are unobstructed.  A short walk takes you to the flightpath (19) but again, better views are to be had from the side.  Secondary parking can be had beside the graveyard opposite the Station Commanders house which is situated 100m back from the main gate.

Scanner Frequencies

118.200 – Tower
118.250 – Ground
118.900 – Departures
119.350 – Zone
234.050 – 12 Sqn A2A
234.875 – Approach
240.375 – XV(R) Sqn A2A
258.700 – Director
264.775 – DATIS
268.625 – Ground
277.875 – XV(R) Sqn A2A
279.050 – Tower
293.770 – 14 Sqn A2A
293.775 – XV(R) Sqn Ops
294.900 – 617 Sqn A2A
308.850 – Departures
312.400 – PAR
337.975 – 14 Sqn 'Medusa' Ops
339.850 – 617 Sqn 'Nigger' Ops
360.450 – 12(B) Sqn 'Oxide' Ops
362.175 – XV(R) Sqn A2A
366.556 – 617 Sqn A2A
369.300 – 'Costa' Wing Ops
375.450 – 14 Sqn A2A
379.950 – XV(R) Sqn Ops
386.825 – XV(R) 'Roebuck' Ops
409.775 – 'Sooty' Ops
409.900 – Ground Movements



12(B) Sqn

Axis - Badger - Jackal - Macho - Vermin - Wolf

14 Sqn

Knight - Scarab - Serpent - Snake

XV(R) Sqn

Abbott - Alien - Aston - Axis - Banshee - Baton - Cactus - Club - Cutlass - Mentor - Mitre
Poker - Staple - Stella - Stiletto - Sunshine

617 Sqn

Fozzy - Gibson - Midas - Saxon - Trojan - Vandal

202 Sqn 'D' Flight

Rescue xxx - Sierra xx - SRG xxx

Tornadoes also use Los xx or Lossie xx


RAF Lossiemouth Residents

12(B) Sqn

Tornado GR.4 ZA543 12(B) Sqn


14 Sqn

Tornado GR.4 ZA473 14 Sqn

Tornado GR.4 14Sqn


XV(R) Sqn


Tornado GR.4 ZD842 XV(R) Sqn

Tornado GR.4 XV(R) Sqn


617 Sqn

Tornado GR.4 ZA601 AJG 617 Sqn

202 Sqn 'D' Flight

Sea King ZE368 202 'D' Flight


Back to the top

RAF Lossiemouth History

© On Target Aviation 2008