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RAAF Base Pearce
RAAF Pearce PC9s.jpg
Lineup of PC-9 aircraft from No 2 FTS at RAAF Base Pearce
Airport type Military
Operator Royal Australian Air Force
Elevation AMSL 150 ft / 46 m
Coordinates 31°40′04″S 116°00′54″E / 31.66778°S 116.01500°E / -31.66778; 116.01500Coordinates: 31°40′04″S 116°00′54″E / 31.66778°S 116.01500°E / -31.66778; 116.01500
YPEA is located in Western Australia
Location in Western Australia
Direction Length Surface
m ft
05/23 1,691 5,548 Asphalt
18L/36R 2,439 8,002 Asphalt
18R/36L 1,741 5,712 Concrete
Sources: Australian AIP and aerodrome chart[1]

RAAF Base Pearce (ICAO: YPEA) is the main Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) base in Western Australia. It is located in Bullsbrook, north of Perth. It is used for training by the RAAF and the Republic of Singapore Air Force.

Pearce is the busiest RAAF base in the country in terms of total aircraft movements, including civil movements at the Joint User bases. Although its primary role is pilot training, it remains the only permanent Air Force base on the west coast, and thus has a significant logistics role.

RAAF Gingin is a small airfield located near Pearce that is also used for flying training. The airfield is owned by the Air Force and is managed by RAAF Base Pearce. A rotation of Air Traffic Controllers travel from Pearce each day to provide services, when requested by the flying units.



RAAF Base Pearce was officially granted "station" status on 6 February 1939. It was named in honour of Sir George Pearce, a long-standing Senator from Western Australia. Pearce was elected to the inaugural Senate in 1901 and remained a Senator for Western Australia until 1938. He was Minister for Defence in four separate ministries including the period 1910 to 1913 when the Central Flying School was established.[2]

The base opened with two resident squadrons, Nos. 14 and 25 Squadrons.

During World War II, No. 5 Initial Training School (ITS) was formed at RAAF Pearce as part of the Empire Air Training Scheme. Recruits commenced their military service at the ITS, learning fundamentals such as mathematics, navigation and aerodynamics.

On 10 September 1950 a one-off motor race meeting, called the "Air Force Handicap" was held as a part of an RAAF air show.[3] The circuit was triangular in shape, and used all three runways of the base.[4] The feature race was won on handicap by Syd Negus in a Plymouth Special, ahead of Syd Barker in a Ballot V8 and Arthur Collett in an MG TC.[3]

Air showsEdit

The 2005 Defence Force Air Show, held at Pearce on 19–20 November, marked the first visit to Perth of the United States Air Force (USAF) B-1B Lancer bomber. The 2012 Defence Force Air Show, held at Pearce on 19–20 May, included visits by a USAF B-52 bomber, a USAF KC-135 tanker, an RAAF AEW&C Wedgetail and an RSAF C-130 Hercules.


The Republic of Singapore Air Force's Flying Training School (No. 130 Squadron) is located at RAAF Base Pearce.

Data from RAAF Base Pearce official site,[5] except where noted:

Unit name Force Element Group Remarks
No. 2 Flying Training School Air Force Training Group[6] Operates PC-9 trainers
No. 25 (City of Perth) Squadron Air Force Training Group[6] Air Force Reserve
No. 79 Squadron Air Combat Group[7] Operates Hawk 127 fighter-trainers
No. 453 Squadron Pearce Flight Surveillance and Response Group[8][9] Air traffic control
No. 1 Airfield Operations Support Squadron Detachment Pearce Combat Support Group[10] Airfield engineering
No. 1 Expeditionary Health Squadron Detachment Pearce Combat Support Group[10]
No. 1 Security Force Squadron Detachment Combat Support Group[10]
Combat Support Unit Pearce Combat Support Group[11] Base managers

The Republic of Singapore Air Force's No. 130 Squadron is also located at Pearce, and operates training aircraft.


The base is home a mockup of a Boeing 747 used for counter-terrorism training[12] and has been used by the Special Air Service Regiment. Built in 2010 the mockup is smaller than an average Boeing 747 and has two non-flying engines with a fictional Emu Airlines livery.

Other usesEdit

RAAF Base Pearce is used by the Australian Air Force Cadets as a headquarters and for promotional courses, as well as serving as headquarters for No. 7 Wing and premises for No. 701 Squadron (AAFC).[13] An airliner mock-up has been built on base to serve as an anti-hijacking training aid for the Australian Special Air Service's counter-terrorism squadron, also known as Tactical Assault Group (West). It is used to practise airliner entry and hostage rescue drills.

In 2014 the base was the hub for the search of the southern Indian Ocean for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. It hosted search aircraft from six other nations including a United States Navy P-8 Poseidon, P-3 Orions of the Royal New Zealand Air Force, Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force and Republic of Korea Navy, and Ilyushin Il-76s of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force.[14][15]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ YPEA – Pearce (PDF). AIP En Route Supplement from Airservices Australia, effective 10 November 2016, Aeronautical Chart Archived 10 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ Beddie, B. "Pearce, Sir George Foster (1870–1952)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. Retrieved 10 March 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Walker, Terry (1995). Fast Tracks - Australia's Motor Racing Circuits: 1904-1995. Wahroonga, NSW: Turton & Armstrong. p. 124. ISBN 0908031556. 
  4. ^ Galpin, Darren. "Pearce". GEL Motorsport Information Page. Retrieved 3 April 2016. 
  5. ^ "RAAF Base Pearce". Royal Australian Air Force. Retrieved 4 April 2014. 
  6. ^ a b "Air Force Training Group". Royal Australian Air Force. Retrieved 4 April 2014. 
  7. ^ "No. 79 Squadron". Royal Australian Air Force. Retrieved 4 April 2014. 
  8. ^ "Surveillance and Response Group". Royal Australian Air Force. Retrieved 4 April 2014. 
  9. ^ "Senator Feeney celebrates the reformation of No. 452 and 453 Squadrons at RAAF Base Williamtown". Media release. Senator The Hon. David Feeney MP Parliamentary Secretary for Defence. 16 February 2011. Retrieved 4 April 2014. 
  10. ^ a b c "Combat Support Group". Royal Australian Air Force. Retrieved 4 April 2014. 
  11. ^ "No. 396 Expeditionary Combat Support Wing". Royal Australian Air Force. Retrieved 4 April 2014. 
  12. ^ Cenciotti, David (10 May 2012). "Boeing 747 mock-up used for Special Forces counter-terrorism training in Western Australia". The Aviationist. Retrieved 13 April 2015. 
  13. ^ "7 Wing AAFC". Australian Air Force Cadets. 2015. Retrieved 13 April 2015. 
  14. ^ "Malaysia plane search: China checks new 'debris' image". BBC. 22 March 2014. Retrieved 22 March 2014. 
  15. ^ "Defence supports search for aircraft". Department of Defence. 23 March 2014.