Crail Airfield Torpedo Attack Training

Crail Airfield Torpedo Attack Training - Click to open a 360' panorama tour

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The airfield at Crail was commissioned in 1940 as Royal Naval Air Station HMS Jackdaw to be the main Fleet Air Arm base for training pilots to fly low over the water and drop torpedoes.

For this purpose a large wood and steel supported plaster cyclorama was built, onto which was projected a moving ship target. The cyclorama has a painted sea and horizon, and was lit to simulate different times of day and conditions. The trainee pilot was able to simulate his attack, coordinating dropping his torpedo and its eventual arrival at its intended target. There were no video games in the 1940’s (!).

The shell of the building and whats left inside was listed as Category A in 2006. It appears to have survived to the present day despite the fact that the last permanently based aircraft left the site in 1947, since when it has been a Royal Navy Boys’ Training Facility, an Army Transit Camp, and a School for Linguistics. Some pig farming also took place here, a go cart track exists, and some minor farming is evident. Amateur car racing events (drag racing) are regularly held on the runway.

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