Motto: - Regere mare regite caelum - To rule the sea, one must rule the sky

Role: - Royal Navy Pilot Grading

Base: - RNAS Yeovilton


727 Naval Air Squadron was originally formed in 1943 at Gibraltar. The aircraft used were Defiants, Hurricane and Swordfish aircraft until the Squadron disbanded in 1944.

The Squadron was reformed in 1946 at Gosport, providing air courses for non-flying Royal Naval Officers, using Tiger Moths, Seafires, Harvards and a Firefly FR4 aircraft, disbanding in 1950. Six years later, the Squadron reformed as the Dartmouth Cadet Air Training Squadron and operated out of RNAS Brawdy, disbanding in 1960.

In 2001 the Royal Naval Flying Training Flight was commissioned 727 Naval Air Squadron. Pilot grading remains the primary task of the squadron but a variety of other courses are still run including the Royal Navy Special Flying Award Scheme, designed to encourage and enthuse young people to become a naval pilot or observer. The Squadron is now a fully integrated military and civilian (VT Aerospace) Unit.

Fleet Requirements Unit (1943 - 1944)

727 Naval Air Squadron was formed on 26 May 1943 at Gibraltar as a Fleet Requirements Unit covering the area from Bizerta to Algiers. The squadron was equipped with target-towing Boulton Paul Defiants, Fairey Swordfish and Hawker Hurricane IIc. The squadron was disbanded on 7 December 1944.

Air Experience Unit (1946 - 1960)

After World War II it was decided to provide air acquaint courses for junior Royal Navy and Royal Marines officers who were not aviation specialists. 727 NAS was reformed on 23 April 1946 at RNAS Lee-on-Solent with gliders, Tiger Moths, Supermarine Seafires, North American Harvards and a Fairey Firefly. Disbanded on 17 January 1950, the squadron was reformed on 4 January 1956 as the Dartmouth Cadet Air Training Squadron. Now operating from RNAS Brawdy, Pembrokeshire, the squadron flew Boulton Paul Sea Balliols, De Havilland Sea Vampire T22s and a Percival Sea Prince T.1. Two Westland Dragonfly helicopters were provided in September 1958, but the squadron was disbanded on 16 December 1960.

History of the Royal Naval Flying Training Flight

Since 1949 the Britannia Royal Naval College at Dartmouth has operated light aircraft for recreational flying, as well as running summer flying camps. Types flown have included De Havilland Tiger Moths, Auster and De Havilland Chipmunk. Miles Messenger and Miles Gemini aircraft were also introduced. After grading of potential aircrew was introduced, these aircraft were employed during the week for assessing future aircrew and at weekends for recreation. By this time the aircraft were based at Roborough Airport, on the outskirts of Plymouth. By 1966 the flight had been stabilised at 12 Chipmunk aircraft.

Commissioning the RNFTF as 727 NAS (2001 - present)

On 6 December 2001 the Royal Naval Flying Training Flight was commissioned as 727 Naval Air Squadron, at Plymouth City Airport, initially with the de Havilland Chipmunk and later with the Grob Tutor, and in January 2007 the squadron relocated to RNAS Yeovilton. The commissioning ceremony was attended by an original pilot member of 727, Geoffrey Harrington, who served with 727 in North Africa during WW2.


Defiant, Hurricane, Swordfish, Tiger Moth, Seafire, Harvard, Oxford , Firefly, Sea Balliol, Sea Prince, Sea Vampire, Dragonfly, Sea Devon, Tutor



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This webpage was updated 11th June 2021