Monday, August 8, 2011

An Ace And His Angel - Memoirs of A WWII Fighter Pilot

In 1942-43-44, pilot training in the Army Air Force consisted of four stages. The first was "Preflight" where you were taught to he a soldier and whipped into some kind of physical fitness. The second was "Primary Flight School" where you learned the rudiments of getting an airplane up and down. The third was "Basic Flight School" where you Hew bigger airplanes, learned the basics of instrument Hying and night flying. The fourth was "Advanced Flight School" with more powerful airplanes, basic formation flying, cross country flying, more night and instrument flying and transition into the airplane you would fly in combat. Each class going into Preflight was given a letter designating its position in that year. My original class was 43G. Each stage was designed to be completed in approximately eight weeks, making the whole course about eight months, presuming you passed muster all along the line. The "wash-out" ratio was high, with the great majority of "washes" coming in Primary.