Lossiemouth is home to one of the largest and busiest RAF bases in the UK and the only remaining fast jet base in Scotland.

Most weekdays you’ll be able to hear and see planes over the town, particularly if you’re walking on West Beach.

Access to the base is restricted to personnel, however, if you’re keen on aircraft, here are some ideas to help you make the most of your visit.

Before your visit

Check the RAF Lossiemouth Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/RAFLossiemouth). Details of major exercises and visiting aircraft are often publicised in advance.

The RAF Lossiemouth Spotters Facebook group is an active group with plenty of discussion and photos from enthusiastic spotters.

Aircraft movements

Most weekdays will see Typhoon and P-8s taking off and landing throughout the day. Exact timings will vary and are not publicly shared. Busier times tend to be between 10am and 5pm, although some weeks the station will operate night flying. Be prepared to allow a few hours to increase the likelihood of seeing any activity.

Talk to the local spotters, they’re a friendly and knowledgeable group and are happy to share information.

Best places to watch

You can experience the thrill of aircraft from all over town. Some of the best spots to see the jets are:

  •       West Beach
  •       Covesea Lighthouse
  •       Twenty Nineteen Coffee
  •       Duffus Castle

For a close-up encounter, there are several points around the perimeter fence where it’s possible to get quite near to aircraft ground manoeuvres.  A detailed map on https://www.spotterguide.net/planespotting/europe/united-kingdom/lossiemouth-raf-base-lmo-egqs/ will point you to the best spots.

Please remember:

  •       Park off the road.
  •       Do not drive across the golf course.
  •       Don’t climb the fences.
  •       Do not stand in front of the red and white striped fences at the end of the runway, it can be dangerous.
  •       Observe signs and do not do anything that could distract or interfere with the aircraft.
  •       Please behave responsibly and with consideration to residents, businesses, the RAF and other spotters.
  •       RAF police monitor the area and will come off base to investigate any concerns.

Visit

RAF & Fleet Air Arm Heritage Centre- http://covesealighthouse.co.uk/

The heritage centre was opened in 2018 and offers a fascinating insight into the history and heritage of RAF Lossiemouth, formerly known as RNAS Lossiemouth or HMS Fulmar. Open Saturdays and Sundays, from 1100-1600.  Other times by appointment. Free entry, donations welcome.

Covesea Lighthouse - http://covesealighthouse.co.uk/visiting_us.php

The best view in Lossie! You can go to the top of Covesea Lighthouse on a guided tour. Open every Saturday from April to October at 11am and then again at 12pm. Book in advance by calling 01343 810664 and leaving a message.  Alternatively email info@covesealighthouse.co.uk.

Also see Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/LossieLighthouse

Eating and drinking

Lossiemouth has plenty of places to eat and drink, see here for details: http://www.lossiemouth.org/business-directory/wpbdp_category/eat-drink/

There is a café, Twenty Nineteen Coffee, near the lighthouse offering takeaways and eat-in food.

Windswept Brewing on the Coulardbank Industrial Estate just outside the gates of the base has a tap room where you can enjoy award-winning craft ales brewed onsite (other drinks available). Pizzas are served at weekends.

There’s a large Co-op, not far from the RAF base, for stocking up.

The aircraft

There are two main aircraft operating out of Lossie, the Typhoon jet and the Poseidon P-8A maritime patrol aircraft.

Typhoon FGR4

The original ‘Eurofighter’, the Typhoon is an advanced multi-role combat aircraft. It’s used in overseas missions and is also

RAF Lossiemouth is one of two stations providing quick reaction alert (QRA) service in the UK, the other being RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire. Typhoon jets are on constant state of readiness to provide air defence.

Find out more about the Lossie Typhoons here - https://www.raf.mod.uk/aircraft/typhoon-fgr4/

Poseidon MRA1 (P-8A)

Poseidon MRA1 (P-8A) is a maritime patrol aircraft, equipped with sensors and weapons systems for anti-submarine warfare, as well as surveillance and search and rescue missions.

There are currently five P-8s stationed at Lossiemouth, with a further four planned.

Find out more here: https://www.raf.mod.uk/aircraft/poseidon-mra1/

Useful links

RAF Lossiemouth official website -

https://www.raf.mod.uk/our-organisation/stations/raf-lossiemouth/

RAF Lossiemouth Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/RAFLossiemouth

Lossiemouth Royal Air Force Base Spotting Guide - https://www.spotterguide.net/planespotting/europe/united-kingdom/lossiemouth-raf-base-lmo-egqs/

RAF Lossiemouth Spotters Facebook Group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/239452936627405

RAF & Fleet Air Arm Heritage Centre- http://covesealighthouse.co.uk/