The Royal Air Force in Texas: Training British Pilots in Terrell during World War II

The Royal Air Force in Texas: Training British Pilots in Terrell during World War II

The Royal Air Force in Texas: Training British Pilots in Terrell during World War II

The Royal Air Force in Texas: Training British Pilots in Terrell during World War II

Synopsis

With the outbreak of World War II, British Royal Air Force (RAF) officials sought to train aircrews outside of England, safe from enemy attack and poor weather. In the United States six civilian flight schools dedicated themselves to instructing RAF pilots; the first British Flying Training School (BFTS) was located in Terrell, Texas, east of Dallas. programme with RAF pilots. Most of the early British students had never been in an aeroplane or even driven a car before arriving in Texas to learn to fly. The cadets trained in the air on aerobatics, instrument flight and night flying, while on the ground they studied navigation, meteorology, engines and armaments - even spending time in early flight simulators. By the end of the war, more than 2000 RAF cadets had trained at Terrell, cementing relations between Great Britain and the United States and forming lasting bonds with the citizens of Terrell.

Excerpt

As a product of the British Flying Training School enterprise, I am delighted to have an opportunity to write the foreword to this splendid and intimate record of its unique history.

In 1939, Britain and its Empire resolved to fight against the threat of European and world domination by Hitler’s Nazi Germany. Early studies showed that whereas raw and manufactured materials necessary to sustain a vastly accelerated aircraft production programme might be viable, training facilities to provide the correspondingly increased number of Royal Air Force aircrew would be the greater problem. the skies above Britain were already overcrowded with rising operational activity. Grass airfields and agricultural land were giving way to a massive and urgent programme of airfield construction including concrete runways, and at night, Britain was in darkness. From early discussions, to which officers from the United States Army Air Corps were party, adequacy of the British Empire Training Scheme that provided flying training facilities in Canada, Rhodesia, and South Africa was questioned. Although at that early stage the United States had not entered the war, proposals for similar flying training facilities in the United States were generously offered, accepted and installed by mid-1941 as British Flying Training Schools.

The bfts system worked swiftly and well. Selected as a potential pilot, a young man underwent brief elementary training in Britain up to solo stage, a fast ocean liner voyage from Scotland to Canada, and then a long train journey south. the temperature change, sometimes severe, was absorbed beneath the excitement of what for many was a . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.