Doncaster’s aviation heritage goes right back to the very dawn of flight.
The first ever aviation meeting in Britain took place at Doncaster Racecourse. Tens of thousands gathered to see the strange early aircraft take to the skies. A replica of the Bleriot monoplane from these 1909 displays can be seen at the South Yorkshire Aircraft Museum at Lakeside in Doncaster on the site of what was RAF Doncaster.
An early airport was opened in the 1930s opposite Doncaster Racecourse and several RAF stations were opened including Finningley and Bawtry. RAF Bawtry, located in Bawtry Hall, was headquarters to Bomber Command during the Second World War while RAF Finningley played a crucial role during the Cold War as base for Britain’s atomic bombers including Avro Vulcan bombers.
Today visitors can see much of Doncaster’s aviation heritage at the South Yorkshire Aircraft Museum and the last flying Vulcan bomber in the world, XH558, is once again based at former air base RAF Finningley, which is now Britain’s newest international airport, Doncaster Sheffield Airport.
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