Falcon Field

Airfield
media-47366.jpeg UPL 47366 AT-6 Texans over Falcon Field No 4 British Flight Training School collection

Kathryn Masters daughter of Hugh Harrison

Object Number - UPL 47366 - AT-6 Texans over Falcon Field

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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.

People

  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: British
  • Unit: 4 British Flight Training School
  • Role/Job: Pilot
John Bedding wearing Volunteer's Badge awaiting call up
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: British
  • Service Numbers: 1808530
  • Role/Job: Pilot
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: British
  • Unit: 4 British Flight Training School
  • Service Numbers: 540701
  • Highest Rank: Flight Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Pilot
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: British
  • Unit: 4 British Flight Training School
  • Role/Job: Pilot
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: British
  • Unit: 4 British Flight Training School
  • Role/Job: Pilot

Revisions

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ContributorKathryn_4BFTS
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Sources

Kathryn Masters daughter of Hugh Harrison Course 27

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ContributorKathryn_4BFTS
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Sources

Kathryn Masters daughter of Hugh Harrison Course 27

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ContributorEmily
Changes

Falcon Field: Gallery (257 items)