Farewell flight for RAF's Dominie aircraft

The oldest active aircraft left in the RAF has marked the end of its service with a final flypast.

The Hawker Siddeley 125 Dominie aircraft will retire from service at the end of January.

The Dominie, operated by 55 (Reserve) Squadron at RAF Cranwell in Lincolnshire, provided training for all rear crew in the RAF.

It has been in service for more than 45 years, and was originally used in the 1960s to train navigators.

The RAF said 22 aircraft were built initially, with 55 Squadron operating the last seven.

But the cancellation of the Nimrod and a reduction in the number of Tornado fighters means its services are no longer needed.

Six Dominies flew in formation out of RAF Cranwell then carried out final flypasts over the base to mark the end of its service.

'Training platform'

It also made flypasts over Rolls-Royce plants in Derby and Bristol where its engines were made and over RAF bases in High Wycombe and Lyneham.

Squadron Leader Stuart Reid said: "The aircraft was introduced in 1965 as a training platform for what were then the first generation of jet bombers for the RAF, the Victor, Vulcan and Valiant.

"It was configured in the back end for navigators to learn how to operate their kit as they would in the bombers of those days."

The flypast was also Sqn Ldr Reid's last flight as an RAF pilot after 35 years of service in the RAF.

Group Captain Dave Waddington, station commander of RAF Cranwell, said it was a "poignant day".

"The Dominie aircraft has been in service for just over 45 years so it's given a fantastic service and training to many aircrew who are flying today and have done in the past, so it's a very poignant day," he said.

Wing Commander Suraya Marshall, commanding officer of 55 Squadron, who led the flypast, said final decisions had not been made on the future of people who currently work with the Dominies.

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