A bomber airfield built to Class A specification, Rufforth was constructed during 1941 on farmland south of the B1224 adjacent to the village of Rufforth, the main contractor being John Laing & Son Ltd. The site, bordered by Foss Dyke on its eastern perimeter, was only four miles west of the centre of York. The original plan called for a main runway of 1,600 yards and the subsidiaries to be 1,100 yards but these lengths were increased before the station was opened, the main runway 06-24 ending up 1,980 yards, the 11-29 at 1,350 yards and 18-36 at 1,400 yards. These and the encircling perimeter track and 36 hardstandings were all of concrete construction. The hangars were two T2s, one on the main technical site near the York-Wetherby road and the other on the west side of the airfield. A type Bl hangar was added at a later date. Domestic accommodation for a maximum 1,531 males and 251 females was in dispersed sites, mainly Nissen type huts.
Once the runways were ready during the summer of 1942, the airfield was opened to flying but only for use by Operational Training Units based elsewhere. The first operational squadron to arrive, No. 158, had to vacate East Moor, which was to be used by Canadian units of No. 6 Group. No. 158's Halifaxes operated from Rufforth (apart from detachments throughout the winter of 1942-43), being moved to Lissett at the end of February so that Rufforth could be used for the main Halifax Operational Training Unit serving No. 4 Group. Meanwhile, a considerable amount of repair work had to be carried out on the runways and perimeter track due to the concrete cracking.
No. 1663 Heavy Conversion Unit was formed at Rufforth in March 1943 and tutored Halifax crews until disbanded in late May 1945. However, on November 1, 1944, most Bomber Command OTU's were transferred to No. 7 Group, Training Command, although the stations and functions continued much as before. Eighteen Halifaxes were lost flying operations from Rufforth, one being from No. 1663 Heavy Conversion Unit.
In the early post-war years, Rufforth was retained by the RAF for use as a gliding school and by other minor units. It then came under the umbrella of No. 60 Maintenance Unit, which used it largely for storage before the RAF finally departed in November 1974 and the airfield was sold in July 1981. Thereafter the land was reclaimed for farming and the runways, 18-36 and 11-29, retained for use by the Ouse, later York Gliding Centre and private aircraft. The control tower survives having been used in the TV drama series Airline during the 1970s.