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National Aviation History Month: Remembering Our Past

Our airfield was originally a Royal Canadian Air Force training base, RCAF Station Centralia. It grew to be one of the largest training stations in Canada.

Follow along as we remember our past in celebration of National Aviation History Month!

two men outside rcaf station centralia sign
Photo Credit: © David R. Hill 2006

World War II

Flying schools were established across Canada as part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. Centralia was home to No. 9 Service Flying Training School (SFTS).

Trainee pilots flew the Avro Anson and North American Harvard.

aerial view of sfts centralia ontario
Photo Credit:

By June 1945, over 1,300 flight cadets earned their wings at RCAF Station Centralia.

June 1945

No. 9 SFTS was replaced by No. 1 Aircrew Conditioning Unit (ACU), training service personnel for operations in the war’s Pacific theatre.

When No. 1 ACU closed, the RCAF formed No. 1 Flying Training School (No. 1 FTS) which flew Ansons and Harvards.

1945 arvo anson 7557 at rcaf station centralia
Photo Credit: © 2013 Vintage Wings of Canada

January 1947

Centralia was reactivated to provide accommodation and training facilities for No. 1 Radar and Communications School based in RCAF Station Clinton.

The Expeditor was the aircraft used for this training.

number 9 SFTS Centralia Base Graduation
Photo Credit: Jacques Morin - Pierre Lagacé,

September 1947

RCAF Station Centralia became the aerodrome’s official designation.

Students participating in this school flew Harvards.

Harvards and C-45s View from Centralia Control Tower
Photo Credit: Whip Watson -

April 1948

RCAF’s School of Flying Control was formed at Centralia.

The school trained Flying Control Officers and Aircraft Control Assistants for deployment in control towers and operations rooms in RCAF stations.

RCAF Centralia Control Tower 1956
Photo Credit: Whip Watson -


The NATO Training & Induction School re-located to RCAF Station Centralia.

Pre-Flight School was formed at Centralia, providing ground instruction to students before flight training with the Chipmunk.

DHC Chipmunks on the flight line at Centralia in 1963
Photo Credit: gordonhunter © flickr
Centralia Gen Book Map
1957 PFTS "Gen-Book" Map - Photo Credit:

Between 1942-1966, thousands of pilots and navigators from Canada, USA, and other NATO nations trained at RCAF Centralia.


Canadian military was reorganized and many bases closed, including Centralia.

In 1992, a monument was dedicated to the men and women who served at both the war-time school and RCAF Station Centralia by the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #167.

SFTS Centralia Piper and daughter of Elmer Fullerton beside Centralia memorial
Photo Credit: 1992 Air Force Magazine -

Before closing, the service strength was 500 – employing 250 civilians.

Present Day

Today the airport operates as Centralia/James T. Field Memorial Aerodrome. We have occupied the airport since 1997 and acquired the entire airfield in 2007.

The area is now known as Huron Industrial Park and is home to over 10 different businesses/services.

aerial view of huron industrial park in 2018

Some former RCAF buildings still remain, including one of our hangars.


  1. Hill, D. R. (2006). The reminiscences of a “National Service” RAF pilot trained in Canada. Retrieved November 6, 2018, from
  2. The War Years. (2013). Retrieved November 6, 2018, from
  3. Lagacé, P. (2011, November 06). No. 9 SFTS Centralia, Ontario. Retrieved November 6, 2018, from
  4. Centralia, Ontario. (2005). Retrieved November 6, 2018, from
  5. Hunter, G. (2015, February 22). RCAF Station Centralia, Ont. Retrieved November 6, 2018, from
  6. Centralia Gen Book [PDF]. (n.d.).
  7. TRIBUTE TO RCAF STATION CENTRALIA 1942-1967. (n.d.). Retrieved November 6, 2018, from


  1. Forsyth, B. (n.d.). ONTARIO. Retrieved November 6, 2018, from
  2. RCAF Station Centralia. (2018, October 24). Retrieved November 6, 2018, from