Cranfield Airport in Bedfordshire played a key role in a special flypast by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, to celebrate Captain Tom Moore’s 100th birthday on Thursday 30 April.

Cranfield’s air traffic control staff controlled the flight using the airport’s state-of-the-art Digital Air Traffic Control Centre and let the aircraft crews use its frequency to wish Captain Tom a happy birthday, live from the cockpit as the Hurricane and Spitfire flypast took place over Captain Tom’s home in Marston Moretaine nearby.

Cranfield Airport was originally a World War II aerodrome, RAF Cranfield, opened in 1937 to strengthen the RAF in response to the growing threat from the continent. After the war, in 1946, the College of Aeronautics was established on the site, offering specialist postgraduate courses. The College of Aeronautics was the forerunner to Cranfield University, which includes its global research airport and the first operational Digital Air Traffic Control Centre in the UK.

The airport was pleased to assist with this special event, as Director of Aviation Operations, Rob Abbott, explains: “Captain Tom Moore is an absolute inspiration and a local hero. The sight of a flypast is really something very special, and we were more than happy to support this and ensure that the crew could send a personal message to him. With Cranfield’s heritage, it seemed very fitting to play our part.”

Cranfield University will recognise Captain Tom Moore’s services to the local community and the country by awarding him an Honorary Degree later this year.


About Cranfield University

Cranfield University is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.