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Falcon Field

Military site : airfield

Detailed history

The 'Arnold Scheme' (1941-43) and the British Flying Training Schools (1941-45), with the co-operation of Squadron Leader Mills DFC and President Roosevelt, enabled the setting up of flight training in the USA for RAF pilots to train alongside American servicemen. The Lend-Lease Act was instrumental in paving the way for training British pilots and aircrew in the USA and in total seven BFTS were set up in the USA in Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona, California and Florida.

There were minimum requirements for each airfield used. Each BFTS was required to be one mile square with two runways and a control tower. PT-17A (Stearman) and AT-6A (Harvard) aircraft were mainly used for training giving RAF pilots an opportunity to train on more suitable aircraft than the Tiger Moths used in the UK and in an environment where they would not be under attack.

The BFTS were RAF establishments with the Commanding Officer, Adjutant, CFI’s and PT instructors being RAF personnel. American civilians became instructors trained to RAF standards.

4 BFTS was based at Falcon Field Arizona from 16 June 1941 to 10 September 1945. During that time 27 courses were trained involving over 2300 pilots.

Training usually lasted about 28 weeks and involved 3 stages on different aircraft: Primary on the Stearman, Basic on the Vultee and Advanced on the Texan. As student pilots successfully completed each stage they were promoted. At the end of the Primary stage, cadets were promoted to the rank of Leading Aircraftman. By the time Advanced training was completed, cadets graduated with the presentation of their Pilot's Wings and were promoted to Sergeant. Approximately the top third of each class was commissioned as Pilot Officers.

Once flying training was completed, graduates returned to Great Britain for reassignment in the skies over Europe. Courses 26 and 27 were cut short by the end of World War 2 and the cadets returned home without graduating.

Sadly, 23 RAF cadets lost their lives in cadet training and are honoured every year in a Memorial Service at the City of Mesa Cemetery.

Falcon Field is now a general aviation airport owned and operated by the City of Mesa.

English Heritage's record description

Not yet known

Service

Units

  • 4 British Flight Training School

    4 British Flight Training School

    School
    The 'Arnold Scheme' (1941-43) and the British Flying Training Schools (1941-45), with the co-operation of Squadron Leader Mills DFC and President Roosevelt, enabled the setting up of flight training in the USA for RAF pilots to train alongside American...

People

  • Roy Annis

    Military | Pilot
    Roy Annis trained on Course 27A at Falcon Field starting on 26 June 1945 and ending on 10 September 1945. ...

  • Kenneth Beeby

    Military | Flight Lieutenant | Pilot
    Ken Beeby started training on Course 11 at Falcon Field on 20 September 1942 and graduated on Course 12 (the gap caused by a broken arm) on 8 April 1943. ...

  • Ron Bishop

    Military | Pilot
    Ron Bishop trained at Falcon Field on Course 23 starting on 5 September 1944 and graduating on 1 April 1945. He joined the ATC and then the RAF as all he had ever wanted to do was fly. Ron was sent for pilot training at Falcon Field.

  • James Bourne

    Military | Pilot
    Jim Bourne trained on Course 27A at Falcon Field starting on 26 June 1945 and ending on 10 September 1945. ...

  • Derick Broadbank

    Military | Pilot
    Derick John Broadbank trained on Course 27 at Falcon Field from 26 June 1945 to 10 September 1945. He preferred flying the Stearman to the Harvard and remarked that the cadets used to play tag when flying! After the war, Derick returned home to London...

  • Herbie Buckle

    Military | Pilot
    Herbie Buckle trained on Course 20 at Falcon Field, starting on 14 February 1944 and graduating on 26 August 1944. ...

  • Nicol Cafferty

    Military | Pilot
    Nicol Cafferty trained on Course 25 at Falcon Field starting on 29 January 1945 and graduating on 25 August 1945. Nicol and his wife Annie had two sons, Colin and David and a daughter Jane. Colin’s wife, Jessie photocopied an album made by Nicol which...

  • Cecil Combes

    Military | Pilot
    Cecil "Kip" Combes trained on Course 23 at Falcon Field starting on 5 September 1944 and graduating on 1 April 1945. ...

  • Derrick Croisdale

    Military | Pilot
    Derrick Croisdale trained on Course 20 at Falcon Field starting on 14 February 1944 and graduated on 26 August 1944. ...

  • David Crosby

    Military | Flight Officer | Pilot
    David Crosby trained at Falcon Field on Course 10 starting on 23 June 1942 and graduating on 1 January 1943.

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Revisions

Date Contributor Update
22 March 2021 10:13:54 Kathryn_4BFTS Changes to known as, closure date and history
Sources

Kathryn Masters daughter of Hugh Harrison Course 27

Date Contributor Update
22 March 2021 10:01:53 Kathryn_4BFTS Changes to name, known as and history
Sources

Kathryn Masters daughter of Hugh Harrison Course 27

Date Contributor Update
13 October 2020 09:23:29 Emily Created entry with name, latitude, longitude, usaaf from date, usaaf to date and construction date
Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falcon_Field_(Arizona)

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