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Dyce (Aberdeen)

Major
Also known as: Aberdeen Airport / Aberdeen International Airport / RAF Dyce
County: Aberdeen City
Current Status: Aviation
Date: Opened 28 July 1934
Current Use: Active
Used By: RAF / RAF (Czech) / RAF (Norwegian) / Civil / RCAF

Now better known as Aberdeen Airport, Dyce began as a civil airfield in 1934 after a protracted development period. Its founder Eric Gandar Dower operated Aberdeen (later Allied) Airways, which mainly flew services to northern Scotland. The military appeared in June 1937 when No 612 Squadron formed, initially as an army co-operation unit, before switching to undertake general reconnaissance duties with Avro Ansons. At the beginning of the Second World War Dyce was officially taken over by the RAF and was subsequently used by many different squadrons during this time. 

One of the airfield’s primary wartime uses was as a fighter Sector station for No 13 Group from January 1940. Fighters stationed at Dyce to protect the Aberdeen area included Boulton Paul Defiants, Hawker Hurricanes and Supermarine Spitfires, Hurricanes of No 111 Squadron staying between October 1940 and July 1941. RAF Coastal Command also flew from the airfield to carry out anti-shipping and convoy protection patrols over the North Sea. No 612 Squadron remained until well into 1941, while No 1 Coastal Patrol Flight for example formed at Dyce in December 1939. This unit carried out ‘scarecrow’ patrols with de Havilland Tiger Moths searching for U-boats in the North Sea.

Dyce’s main use from the middle of the war however was for photographic reconnaissance instruction. No 8 (Coastal) Operational Training Unit arrived at the airfield in early 1943 from Fraserburgh and operated Supermarine Spitfires, as well as de Havilland Mosquitoes and other aircraft in this role. Another important and especially hazardous duty carried out at Dyce was to mount civil airline services to and from neutral Sweden during this period.

Immediately prior to the end of the war in Europe, after No 8 (C) OTU transferred to Haverfordwest in January 1945, Dyce once again saw many RAF fighters move through on their way to other airfields and notably Norway. There was then a gradual decrease in military activity, transitioning back to civil use. Aberdeen University Air Squadron and No 612 Squadron did nevertheless continue operating from Dyce, the latter using Spitfires and North American Harvards until 1951. After a brief time away to allow new runway work to be completed, No 612 Squadron returned in late 1952, now equipped with de Havilland Vampires. This unit later disbanded in 1957 along with all other Royal Auxiliary Air Force squadrons.

The airfield then went through a relatively quiet period before the discovery of North Sea oil changed matters dramatically from the late 1960s. Dyce became the busiest heliport in Europe and the airport has since been developed and expanded considerably. It remains a busy civil airport with further redevelopment planned. Most of the wartime facilities have been demolished during reconstruction work, including the original Second World War control tower, replaced in 1980 by a most distinctive building nicknamed the ‘Wedding Cake’ because of its shape. The postwar main runway is now the only one used for fixed wing flying with the other three initial examples, which shared a common intersection, being used for helicopter operations.

 

The following organisations are either based at, use and/or have at least potentially significant connections with the airfield (as at 01/09/2011):

  • Art at Aberdeen Airport
  • Boots
  • Caledonian Airborne Systems
  • Costa Coffee
  • Dixons Travel
  • Dyce & Stoneywood Community Council
  • Dyce Library
  • Dyce Old Churchyard
  • Falck Safety Services Aberdeen
  • Hallmark Hotel Aberdeen Airport
  • Heathrow Airport Holdings
  • Servisair
  • The Globe Freehouse
  • The Granite City
  • The Kitchen
  • Tie Rack and Rolling Luggage
  • Travelex
  • WH Smith
  • World Duty Free
  • World of Whiskies

Notable Past Associated Organisations:

  • Aviance UK
  • BAA Limited
  • BAA plc
  • British Airports Authority

Main unit(s) present:

  • No 1 CPF
  • No 2 Radio Servicing Section
  • No 3 Sqn
  • No 4 Fighter Command Servicing Unit
  • No 5 GS
  • No 7 MU
  • No 8 (Coastal) OTU
  • No 9 BAT Flight
  • No 17 Sqn
  • No 91 Sqn
  • No 111 Sqn
  • No 122 Sqn
  • No 129 Sqn
  • No 130 Sqn
  • No 141 Sqn
  • No 143 Sqn
  • No 145 Sqn
  • No 165 Sqn
  • No 234 Sqn
  • No 235 Sqn
  • No 248 Sqn
  • No 254 Sqn
  • No 289 Sqn
  • No 310 Sqn
  • No 331 Sqn
  • No 332 Sqn
  • No 404 Sqn
  • No 410 Sqn
  • No 416 Sqn
  • No 540 Sqn
  • No 602 Sqn
  • No 603 Sqn
  • No 612 Sqn
  • No 618 Sqn
  • No 662 GS
  • No 663 GS
  • No 887 Sqn
  • No 1509 BAT Flight
  • No 2737 Sqn RAF Regiment
  • No 2776 Sqn RAF Regiment
  • No 2784 Sqn RAF Regiment 
  • No 2858 Sqn RAF Regiment
  • Aberdeen Airways
  • Aberdeen Flying Club
  • Aberdeen UAS
  • Air Anglia
  • Air Ecosse
  • Air France
  • Air Southwest
  • Air UK
  • Air Wales
  • Airgo
  • Allied Airways
  • Atlantic Airlines
  • BA Connect
  • Baladou Flying Group
  • BEA
  • BH Air
  • BMI Regional
  • bmibaby
  • BOAC
  • British Airways
  • British Airways Helicopters
  • British International Helicopters
  • British United Air Ferries
  • Brymon Airways
  • Channel Airways
  • Dan-Air
  • Eastern Airways
  • easyJet
  • Flybe
  • Flyglobespan
  • IDS Fanjets
  • Jetstream Express
  • KLM Cityhopper
  • Knight Air
  • Lufthansa CityLine
  • Malinair
  • North British Aero Club
  • Orbest Orizonia Airlines
  • Pegasus Flying Club
  • Peters Aviation
  • Regional
  • SAS Braathens
  • Scandinavian Airlines
  • Scottish Airlines
  • Thomas Cook Airlines
  • Thomson Airways
  • Viking Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic Airways
  • Wideroe
DP_036419.png

Aerial view of Aberdeen Airport, taken from the north-east, 11 September 2007. © Crown Copyright: Historic Environment Scotland, canmore.org.uk

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Aerial view of Aberdeen Airport, taken from the south-west, 29 June 2015. © Crown Copyright: Historic Environment Scotland, canmore.org.uk

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Aerial view of Aberdeen Airport, taken from the east, 30 July 2015. © Crown Copyright: Historic Environment Scotland, canmore.org.uk

DP_215441.png

Aerial view of Aberdeen Airport, looking south-south-east, 29 June 2015. © Crown Copyright: Historic Environment Scotland, canmore.org.uk

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Aerial view of Aberdeen Airport, looking west-north-west, 30 June 2015. © Crown Copyright: Historic Environment Scotland, canmore.org.uk

DP_217936.png

Aerial view of Aberdeen Airport, looking west, 30 June 2015. © Crown Copyright: Historic Environment Scotland, canmore.org.uk

DP_215442.png

Aerial view of Aberdeen Airport, looking south-east, 29 June 2015. © Crown Copyright: Historic Environment Scotland, canmore.org.uk

DP_215443.png

Aerial view of Aberdeen Airport, looking south-east, 29 June 2015. © Crown Copyright: Historic Environment Scotland, canmore.org.uk

IWM Spitfire.jpg

A Supermarine Spitfire of No 603 Squadron taxiing out at Dyce, 4 February 1942. © IWM (CH 4838)

geograph-707216-by-Michael-Diamond.jpg

Aberdeen Airport control tower, 2 March 2004. © Michael Diamond and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

geograph-4905739-by-Bill-Harrison.jpg

Aircraft on the west apron at Aberdeen Airport, 28 June 2015. © Bill Harrison and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

geograph-3796425-by-Bill-Harrison.jpg

An AS332 Super Puma helicopter in front of the Canadian Helicopter Corporation Hangar (CHC), 28 October 2007. © Bill Harrison and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

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