BCATP Revisited: The Wartime Evolution of Flight Training in Canada (RCAF Journal - SPRING 2016 - Volume 5, Issue 2)

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By Matthew Chapman

Reprint from the Canadian Air Force Journal Vol. 4, No. 2, Spring 2011

Originally presented at the 2010 Military and Oral History Conference, hosted by the University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, 6 May 2010.

Aviation in Canada underwent dramatic changes between 1939 and 1945. This was evident not only in the number of aircraft, airports, and navigational aids spanning the nation, but also in terms of the technical skills and professional culture of Canadian aviators. During the Second World War, pilot training in Canada began following a trend already well established in the United States and parts of Europe. Shifting focus from preparing students primarily for the “stick and rudder” skills required of bush flying and aerial combat reminiscent of the First World War, Canadian flight schools began emphasizing training on instrument flying procedures, thus allowing student pilots to gain the required proficiency to safely and reliably operate highly sophisticated, multi-system, high performance aircraft in increasingly adverse atmospheric conditions. In so doing, this shift in training drove the development of a new professional aviation culture which helped shape and define the rapidly expanding post-war Canadian aviation industry.

This shift in training was driven by a combination of technological developments and political and military pressures which together expanded and complicated the environment in which substantial numbers of aviators were able to operate for the first time. While the growth of major airlines south of the border and across the Atlantic during the late 1920s and early 1930s resulted in increased emphasis placed on teaching instrument procedures in those locations, a similar process had only begun in Canada in the late 1930s with the consolidation of small bush operations around James Richardson and the burgeoning Canadian Airways, and the development of the logistical facilities of the Trans-Canada Air Route and the founding of Trans-Canada Airlines (TCA), the forerunner of Air Canada. What modest advancements that were made in interwar Canadian flight training with respect to teaching instrument flying procedures were, however, for the most part relegated to the isolated world of these larger airlines as well as the relatively small cadre of pilots in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) who nevertheless retained the moniker of Canada’s “bush pilots in uniform.”[1]

The broad changes that came to professional aviation during the war were not, of course, unique to Canada. Between 1939 and 1945, pilots of all nations faced similar operational challenges in the air and employed comparable adaptive strategies to cope. Yet given the unique role that Canada played in flight training during the war through the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP), the ability of Canadian flight instructors, flight school administrators and civilian and military policy makers to adapt to the challenges faced in the skies both at home and abroad proved to be of vital importance in shaping not only Canadian aviation history, but also that of global aviation more broadly. As such, just how prepared Canada was in 1939 to adapt to the new era of aviation heralded in by the Second World War, and just how rapidly and at what cost those adaptations were made, are important to consider when studying the history of a technology and a profession that have changed not only the way humans travel, but also how they have come to conceptualize time and space in a continually shrinking world.

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Referencing the relatively small body of secondary source academic literature on the topic, a collection of primary source documents from Library and Archives Canada and the Department of National Defence, and, in the spirit of the conference for which this paper was originally written, oral histories, the following will assert that while Canada was well positioned strategically and geographically for training aircrew for the war, it was relatively poorly positioned with respect to the professional experience of Canadian aviators with the type of flying the vast majority of BCATP-trained pilots were expected to perform after graduation. The following will defend this assertion through an examination of the challenges faced and adaptations made by plan administrators, instructors and, perhaps most importantly, BCATP students.

At the commencement of BCATP training in 1940, few fully operational RCAF pilots were kept in Canada to act as instructors. Rather, the vast majority of fully qualified military pilots were sent overseas to take part in the defence of Britain. As a result, the first instructors in the BCATP were civilians who flew for privately operated, commercially run flying clubs. These men were typically ex-bush pilots or veterans of the First World War who had trained both civilians and military personnel in the methods of flying demanded by interwar Canadian aviation. That is to say, skills associated primarily with bush flying.

The scale of flight training demanded by the war outstripped the capabilities of the civilian run clubs to a significant extent. Pre-war RCAF training plans, which included a civilian instruction component, were built around the expectation that approximately fifty pilots were to be trained annually for the then still fledgling air force.[2] While the civilian clubs had a capacity for producing considerably more pilots than this, they still fell far short of the capabilities required to produce the thousands demanded by the war effort. To make up for the shortfall in instructors, the RCAF allowed clubs to nominate student pilots of their choosing to quickly receive a minimum of 150 hours of flight experience and then placed them into Central Flying School for instructor training. Upon completing a four-week course in instruction, these students were made sergeants in the RCAF and granted temporary leaves of absence to instruct at the civilian-run BCATP schools.[3] This practice effectively lasted until 1941 when the plan began producing enough pilots to internally staff instructor positions.

Commercial airline pilots from Canadian Airways and TCA, who had perhaps the most experience of any Canadian aviators in 1939 with the type of flying that the vast majority of BCATP recruits would eventually perform overseas, that is, long distance, multi engine, instrument flying in bombers and maritime patrol aircraft, were largely barred from leaving their civilian employment to join the RCAF.[4] Canadian Airways was put to use producing BCATP recruits in the staffing of an Air Observer School where the airline’s pilots acted as “air-chauffeurs”[5] to RCAF instructors and their Air Observer (navigator) students. TCA was involved in training pilots for the trans-Atlantic ferry program with Royal Air Force (RAF) Ferry Command,[6] and helped RCAF Eastern Air Command aircrew convert from the twin engine Digbys to the four-engine B24 Liberators; however, no formalized agreement was ever arranged to allow the airline’s pilots to instruct directly in the BCATP.

In 1940 and early 1941, in an effort to rapidly produce more pilots to supplement the civilian instructors in the BCATP, instructional time at Elementary Flight Training Schools (EFTS) was reduced from the initial plan of 8 weeks to 7, and Service Flight Training Schools (SFTS) from 16 to 14.[7] This was, as a Department of National Defence post-war historical report noted, a “temporary and dangerous expedient and was abandoned as soon as possible.”[8] Nevertheless, the reduction of flight hours for the first classes of BCATP recruits had lasting impacts on both the Plan and operational flying both at home and abroad. Before these impacts are directly addressed, however, it is useful to examine the experiences of the first generation of BCATP trained pilots to understand the role they played in subsequent training.

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Upon graduating from SFTS, the vast majority of the first BCATP recruits were, much to their general disappointment, trained as instructors and sent back into the Plan to teach.[9] The practice of recirculating graduates back into the scheme meant that the bulk of instructors who remained in the BCATP during the first critical years of wartime training had themselves been taught in abbreviated fashion. Furthermore, they had been instructed primarily by civilian pilots whose skills were geared more towards bush flying in rugged simple aircraft rather than long distance, high altitude, poor weather flying in the type of aircraft then being developed for the war.

In 1940, Initial Training School (ITS), the first step along the aviation-oriented path of a pilot’s career, was little more than a holding area for uncategorized aircrew. ITS instructors were given general course syllabi to teach, most of which focused on military procedures and protocols as well as academic subjects such as mathematics and physics, but few of those instructors received any educational training for the task.[10] There was, furthermore, little oversight of training both in the classroom and the Link trainer, a pneumatically controlled flight simulator, from any central agency. This resulted in a wide range of instructional quality between schools.[11] It was not until August 1941 that aviation theory began to be taught at ITS, and even longer before instructors with educational training were put to the task.[12] These changes, when they came, extended ITS training from four to ten weeks and represented just one of the myriad of improvements in theory of flight training made in the BCATP throughout the war.

Upon graduating from ITS, candidates selected for pilot training proceeded to EFTS. In 1940, these schools were staffed primarily by the aforementioned civilian instructors who had received abbreviated service instruction at RCAF Central Flying School. The syllabi used to teach students at EFTS, where they were indoctrinated into the basic principles of flying, included teaching emergency procedures, basic aerobatics, navigation, and take-offs and landings among other fundamental manoeuvres. These were taught using a form of instruction known as “patter,” where the instructor memorized a series of verbal commands to give to the student through a primitive intercom system.[13] As Major-General G. J. J. Edwards, who became an EFTS instructor following his own training within the BCATP in 1941, recalls, “you were to become a human tape recorder.”[14] Both instructors and students reported that this method of communication “was very poor,”[15] and as such, training was often tedious for the instructor who had simply to repeat memorized instructions, and frustrating for students who were unable to easily ask questions in the air. The monotony of the experience, both for instructors and students, may be one explanation, admittedly among many, for a problem which plagued the BCATP for the duration of the war, though one that was particularly troublesome in its early years.

Unauthorized low flying was the most significant cause of accidents and fatalities in the BCATP.[16] Often explained as the result of pilots’ “skill(s) not matching their daring,”[17] the rash of accidents attributed to low flying was in fact more endemic than the result of a few exuberant students pushing their luck. Indeed, such accidents were just as often caused by instructors as by students, particularly in the first years of the war. A 1940 accident investigation branch report noted that more than 50 per cent of low flying accidents occurred while trained pilots, that is, instructors, were in command of the aircraft.[18] Illustrating this problem in a somber vignette, Lewis Duddrige, who trained as a pilot in the BCATP in 1941, recalls an accident where four instructors perished as a result of a breach of regulations:

When four young men (all instructors) were killed west of Saskatoon in a Cessna Crane, it was utterly ridiculous. They were overstressing the wings. They were cloth covered … (and the pilot in command) put it into a dive and pulled it out, and the wing uncovered and it crashed. Somebody had a stupid idea, they should never, ever have allowed that aircraft to do that. Why somebody else in the crew, the other three, didn’t manhandle him is more than I know.[19]

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By late 1941 the problem of students and instructors breaking regulations, particularly with respect to low flying, had only increased in parallel with the expansion of training. Of 170 fatalities in the BCATP that year, 40 were directly attributed to “low aerobatics and low flying.”[20] Indeed, memories of unauthorized low flying are common amongst veterans who trained in the BCATP, and particularly so for those who trained early on in the war. Major-General Edwards recalled that shortly after take-off on his first flight his instructor quickly diverted from the planned orientation exercise and brought the aircraft to treetop level to complete an inspection of a local herd of cattle. “I found that a little nerve racking,”[21] Edwards remembers. Andrew Robert MacKenzie, a pilot trainee in 1940, recalled that it was common for trainees to follow the lead of instructors like the one who trained Edwards. While training plans called for specific manoeuvres to be practiced while recruits went up without an instructor, MacKenzie recalls that, “ninety-nine percent of us went up and did aerobatics … instead of practicing the set sequence … down, kicking the tree tops, flying around just like a high speed car.”[22] Even for students at SFTS where unauthorized low flying remained officially prohibited, the official history of the RCAF notes, “as future fighter pilots they were also ‘almost encouraged’ to experiment with the aircraft.” There was “still something of the First World War’s adventurism and romanticism in flying, an air of exciting improvisation about the whole experience.”[23]

Accidents appear to have played only a limited role as a deterrent to other students and instructors who sought to push the limits of their own skills and abilities. Such was the case given the continuing rash of accidents attributed to both recruits and instructors breaking regulations by performing risky and unauthorized aerobatic manoeuvres throughout 1941 and 1942. Recalling his memory of accidents in the BCATP during training in 1941, Major-General Edwards recounts:

I forget how many of my classmates killed themselves … . Out of the sixty or seventy students, I think we killed … I think there were killed, eight or ten … we didn’t hear much about the accidents, you know, they backed and filled them in immediately (holes caused by the impact of aircraft). They didn’t want to panic the balance of the course … we buried quite a few. But you knew it was never going to happen to you.

You suspected all along that the other fellow, as much as you liked him, was not nearly as skilful as you were and he made a nonsense of it somewhere and killed himself.[24]

Asked about the impact of other students’ accidents on one’s own attitude towards training, Lewis Duddridge recounts, “I would say there was more flippancy about accidents then … I do not think that too many student pilots were afraid of the airplane as they walked towards it.”[25]

A sample of accident report summaries from a typical month of BCATP operations from September 1942, a period where the first generation of recruits had already—like Major-General Edwards—been recirculated back into the Plan as instructors, tells of tragic consequences of regulations routinely being broken by student and instructor alike:

A Sergeant instructor with a student flying a Stearman aircraft engaged in unauthorized low flying. Through an error of judgment the aircraft struck the water of the Bow River and both occupants were killed … . A Pilot Officer instructor with a student flying a Harvard aircraft was engaged in (prohibited) mock fighting manoeuvres with an Oxford which was flown by an experienced pilot with a crew of two. The Harvard collided with and destroyed the tail of the Oxford, the crew of which were killed, together with the student in the Harvard. The instructor escaped by parachute. This mock air fighting was pre-arranged by the pilots concerned before leaving their home station … . A Pilot Officer with a student in a Crane aircraft engaged in unauthorized low flying collided with a straw stack and crashed. Both instructor and student were killed.[26]

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In this one non-exceptional month alone, 12 fatal crashes caused the deaths of 24 personnel. In 7 of those 12 accidents, instructors were implicated in the accident’s cause.[27]

While fatal accidents in the BCATP in 1941 totaled one per 11,156 hours flown, total accident rates were much higher. During the summer training season of 1942 the average accident total was 445 per month.[28] By the last year of the war, in an indication of improvements made in training and the establishment of safety protocols which placed a high value on precision instrument flying, the total number of fatal accidents, in proportion to the total number of students in the system at the time, was halved.[29]

The relatively few BCATP-trained pilots who were sent to Europe rather than recirculated back into the Plan as instructors in 1940 and 1941 encountered a new type of flying in England for which many were simply unprepared. Norman L. Magnusson, an air observer who graduated from SFTS in 1941, recalls that the flying experienced at Operational Training Units (OTU) in Britain:

was a maturing period for most of the aircrew and pilots who began to realize that war was a pretty serious business. Prior to that time it was a great deal of fun. Learning how to fly, being involved in flying activities was great fun … . We lost a number of crews (at OTUs) … it seems to me that the memories I have of the operational training unit were the difficult flights that we had, the other was carrying coffins to the cemetery. We spent a great deal of time burying our friends.[30]

Fatal accidents at OTUs were alarmingly routine, particularly during the early years of the war. This may have been due to a number of factors, one of which was that preparatory training was likely insufficient for preparing the students for the poor weather, congested airspace, and blackout conditions of wartime England. Another factor was that the length of time required to move a pilot from a Canadian SFTS to an overseas OTU allowed for too long a period of flight inactivity for the then still junior pilots to safely make the transition. Whatever the reason, it was clear that many Canadian-trained pilots were unprepared for overseas OTUs and subsequent conversion training. Illustrating this problem, Major-General Edwards recalls the impact of having operationally experienced pilots relate their experiences of OTUs back to him while he was still instructing in the BCATP:

By the summer of 1942 we were shaking ourselves down. We were getting people back from the European theatre as instructors. That was interesting because a lot of these chaps came back and I recall the long discussions with some of them, and they were saying you are just not teaching them the right way, you are not teaching them the right thing. There is all kinds of bad weather flying over there, they are not getting it back in Canada … . I gather a great many of the graduates that went across wiped themselves out very early in the subsequent conversion training programs in the United Kingdom because of the bad weather conditions. … The more experienced people could handle it easily. Most of the less experienced found out in a hurry and survived. But some, perhaps even many, flew into hills, flew into trees. People getting lost all the time. Flying into balloons … dying.[31]

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Reports from the United Kingdom on the quality of pilots that Canadian schools were producing indicated that training at BCATP schools in Canada was deficient in certain areas. One report from as late as the spring of 1943, which was representative of prior assessments, suggested that the skills of Canadian-trained pilots were “low in relation to the flying hours completed.” Navigation was “found to be of a low standard,” and night flying skills were determined to be “not compatible with the hours of night flying recorded in log books.”[32] Such results, although highly contentious as the official history of the RCAF notes,[33] seem to correspond with the relative lack of emphasis placed on instrument training given to Canadian students prior to late 1942. That reports were issued later in the war vindicating Canadian training is likely in no small part due to the presence of experienced operational pilots returning to the training system as instructors, and a realization by Plan instructors and administrators that they needed to adapt their instruction to meet the challenges posed by operational flying.

Interviewed for the second volume of the official history of the RCAF, the lead historian for the first volume, S. F. Wise, recalls that as a pilot recruit in late 1943 he was processed through a system that was notably different from that experienced by Edwards and MacKenzie. Beginning even before recruits stepped into the cockpit of an airplane, combat experienced pilots began to play a role in the first stages of BCATP training. At ITS, Wise recalls the experience of having an “all important” fifteen minute interview with combat-experienced pilots for the purpose of selecting recruits for pilot training:

You were brought before a board which consisted of officers who themselves had had (operational) tours. It was really the first time we had ever been up against what I would refer to as the “real” air force, the real fighting air force, instead of training … they may not have been that old but, my god, they had old faces. It was an extremely serious business … I can remember that I sweated.[34]

Whereas MacKenzie went through 12 weeks of training in 1940 where adventurism and bravado were encouraged among young recruits who attempted to fly their Tiger Moths “like the Canadian Red Baron,”[35] in 1943, Wise endured 21 weeks of intense, precision-oriented flight training. Included in the extended time was more emphasis placed on instrument flying through increased night, hood,[36] and Link Trainer experience. Wise commented that this training encouraged students to fly with precision, and:

a sense of professionalism. Not military professionalism, real professionalism as a pilot. The sense that you were training for a highly skilled kind of occupation. That’s not a proper thing for a service person to feel, and yet it’s true. I think one of the effects of the BCATP was to create that sort of a sense of professionalism, pride in being a pilot. Their indoctrination reinforced that. The indoctrination had less to do with the RCAF as a fighting unit than it had to do with the creation of an aircrew spirit in which there was a high level of professionalism.[37]

By the end of the war, BCATP course structure and syllabi had adapted to the demands of overseas flying considerably. Tour-expired pilots were recirculated back into the training system, educating not only students in the process, but Plan administrators as well. By 1945, training at ITS had been extended from four to ten weeks, passing through seven editions of course syllabi along the way.[38] EFTS training syllabi had progressed through eight editions, all of which placed increased emphasis on instrument and night training, with the last appearing as late as February 1945. At SFTS, while training programs early on in the war called for as little as five hours of synthetic, instrument-oriented training on the Link trainer, the final syllabus required no less than 48 hours of synthetic training, most of it on new versions of the Link, and given by instructors with considerably more experience and knowledge of what it was they were teaching.[39] Emphasis was likewise increasingly placed on preparing students for poor weather flying with improved instruction offered on instrument and navigational procedures. “Stunting” and low flying had not been eliminated, but associated casualties had dropped.

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As the experiences of MacKenzie, Edwards, Duddridge, Magnusson, and Wise help illustrate, the Plan evolved as the war progressed. At some level this evolution was administrative and organizational, as there clearly were a number of logistical hurdles to overcome in the development of an undertaking as ambitious as the BCATP. Much of the evolution in flight training, however, was the direct result of Canadian aviators experiencing a new type of flying for the first time and having to adjust their attitudes towards safety and professionalism in the process. It was the successes and failures of those aviators which instructed the next generation on how to handle the challenges posed by a new era in aviation history. To summarize and conclude here, in the words of Lewis Duddridge:

I think, if you wanted to call flying in Canada in 1939 a vacuum, then the things that happened in 1940 and 1941 were things that were happening if you put an aircraft into service before you had wind-tunnels to test it. Some things had to change because of the trial and error system … this improved our system and what we were putting out. That’s what I really believe.[40]


Matthew Chapman is currently completing his Master’s degree in Canadian military history at the University of Victoria. Graduating from Selkirk College in 2002 with a diploma in professional aviation, he received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Victoria in 2007 before working as a researcher and writer for the West Coast Canadian Forces Auxiliary Fleet at Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt. Matthew’s Master of Arts thesis is combining his professional experiences and academic interest to examine the impact of wartime aviation on the post-war Canadian commercial aviation industry.

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Abbreviations

BCATP―British Commonwealth Air Training Plan
EFTS―Elementary Flight Training Schools
ITS―Initial Training Schools
LAC―Library and Archives Canada
OTU―Operational Training Units
RAF―Royal Air Force
RCAF―Royal Canadian Air Force
RG―record group
SFTS―Service Flight Training Schools
TCA―Trans-Canada Airlines
UVSC―University of Victoria Special Collections

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Notes

[1]. Allan D. English, The Cream of the Crop: Canadian Aircrew, 1939–1945 (Montreal: McGill University Press, 1996), 11. (return)

[2]. W. A. B. Douglas, The Creation of a National Air Force, vol. 2, The Official History of the Royal Canadian Air Force (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1986), 201.(return)

[3]. By having these men enlist, the RCAF prevented them from leaving Canada to instruct in the United States where pay was better. Douglas, Creation of a National, 230.(return)

[4]. By an Order In Council, TCA was deemed an essential service provider, thereby preventing the airline’s employees from leaving the company to join the RCAF or RAF unless they received permission from both TCA and the government. D. B. Colyer, Vice-President TCA, “Letter to Captain R. Allen, Training Superintendent, British Ministry of Aircraft Production,” 18 August 1941, Record Group (RG) 70, Vol. 6, File TCA-1-2-8, Library and Archives Canada (LAC).(return)

[5]. W. A. B. Douglas, The Creation of a National Air Force, vol. 2, The Official History of the Royal Canadian Air Force (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1986), 224.(return)

[6]. Trans-Canada Airlines Internal Memo, “Re: War Effort in the Form of Air to the Royal Air Force Ferry Command,” RG 70, Vol. 6, File TCA-1-2-8, LAC.(return)

[7]. W. A. B. Douglas, The Creation of a National Air Force, vol. 2, The Official History of the Royal Canadian Air Force (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1986), 224.(return)

[8]. “British Commonwealth Air Training Plan - Flight Training” (Historical Narrative) Circa 1950, 181.09(D89)(A) Directorate of History and Heritage, 3.(return)

[9]. W. A. B. Douglas, The Creation of a National Air Force, vol. 2, The Official History of the Royal Canadian Air Force (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1986), 237.(return)

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[10]. “British Commonwealth Air Training Plan - Flight Training” (Historical Narrative) Circa 1950, 181.09(D89)(A) Directorate of History and Heritage, 17.(return)

[11]. “British Commonwealth Air Training Plan - Flight Training” (Historical Narrative) Circa 1950, 181.09(D89)(A) Directorate of History and Heritage, 17–18.(return)

[12]. “British Commonwealth Air Training Plan - Flight Training” (Historical Narrative) Circa 1950, 181.09(D89)(A) Directorate of History and Heritage, 16.(return)

[13]. Known as Gossport Tubes, the intercom was simply a tube running from the mouth of the instructor to the ears of the student and vice-versa.(return)

[14]. Air Vice-Marshal Gerald J. J. Edwards, interview, Reel 1, Side 2, 13 June 1975, ID 207, University of Victoria Special Collections (UVSC), Canadian Military Oral History Collections, Dr. Reginald H. Roy Collection.(return)

[15]. W. A. B. Douglas, The Creation of a National Air Force, vol. 2, The Official History of the Royal Canadian Air Force (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1986), 242–43.(return)

[16]. “British Commonwealth Air Training Plan - Flight Training” (Historical Narrative) Circa 1950, 181.09(D89)(A) Directorate of History and Heritage, 85.(return)

[17].“British Commonwealth Air Training Plan - Flight Training” (Historical Narrative) Circa 1950, 181.09(D89)(A) Directorate of History and Heritage, 85.(return)

[18]. “British Commonwealth Air Training Plan - Flight Training” (Historical Narrative) Circa 1950, 181.09(D89)(A) Directorate of History and Heritage, 85.(return)

[19]. Lewis Duddridge, interview with author, July 2009.(return)

[20]. F. J. Hatch, Aerodrome of Democracy: Canada and the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan 1939–1945 (Ottawa: Minister of Supply Services Canada, 1983), 148.(return)

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[21]. Air Vice-Marshal Gerald J. J. Edwards, interview, Reel 1, Side 2, 13 June 1975, ID 207, University of Victoria Special Collections (UVSC), Canadian Military Oral History Collections, Dr. Reginald H. Roy Collection.(return)

[22]. W. A. B. Douglas, The Creation of a National Air Force, vol. 2, The Official History of the Royal Canadian Air Force (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1986), 279.(return)

[23].W. A. B. Douglas, The Creation of a National Air Force, vol. 2, The Official History of the Royal Canadian Air Force (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1986), 280.(return)

[24]. Air Vice-Marshal Gerald J. J. Edwards, interview, Reel 1, Side 2, 13 June 1975, ID 207, University of Victoria Special Collections (UVSC), Canadian Military Oral History Collections, Dr. Reginald H. Roy Collection.(return)

[25]. Lewis Duddridge, interview with author, July 2009.(return)

[26]. RCAF, “Accident Investigation Branch Monthly Summary of Accidents, September 1942,” August 1942, RG 24, Vol. 3278, File HQ 235-11-1.(return)

[27]. RCAF, “Accident Investigation Branch Monthly Summary of Accidents, September 1942,” August 1942, RG 24, Vol. 3278, File HQ 235-11-1.(return)

[28]. Average monthly accident totals for June–September 1942. “Accident Investigation Branch Monthly Summary of Accidents” June to September 1942, RG 24, Vol. 3278, File HQ 235-11-1.(return)

[29]. F. J. Hatch, Aerodrome of Democracy: Canada and the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan 1939–1945 (Ottawa: Minister of Supply Services Canada, 1983), 148.(return)

[30]. Air Vice-Marshal Norman L. Magnusson, interview, Reel 1, Side I, 13 June 1979, ID 207, UVSC, Canadian Military Oral History Collections, Dr. Reginald H. Roy Collection.(return)

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[31]. Air Vice-Marshal Gerald J. J. Edwards, interview, Reel 1, Side 2, 13 June 1975, ID 207, University of Victoria Special Collections (UVSC), Canadian Military Oral History Collections, Dr. Reginald H. Roy Collection.(return)

[32]. W. A. B. Douglas, The Creation of a National Air Force, vol. 2, The Official History of the Royal Canadian Air Force (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1986), 270.(return)

[33]. W. A. B. Douglas, The Creation of a National Air Force, vol. 2, The Official History of the Royal Canadian Air Force (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1986), 270.(return)

[34]. W. A. B. Douglas, The Creation of a National Air Force, vol. 2, The Official History of the Royal Canadian Air Force (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1986), 282.(return)

[35]. W. A. B. Douglas, The Creation of a National Air Force, vol. 2, The Official History of the Royal Canadian Air Force (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1986), 280.(return)

[36]. To simulate IFR (instrument flight rules) conditions in flight, instructors used (and continue to use today) a hood which is placed on the head of a student to prevent them from seeing anything but the instrument panel in front of them.(return)

[37]. W. A. B. Douglas, The Creation of a National Air Force, vol. 2, The Official History of the Royal Canadian Air Force (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1986), 284.(return)

[38]. “British Commonwealth Air Training Plan - Flight Training” (Historical Narrative) Circa 1950, 181.09(D89)(A) Directorate of History and Heritage, 21.(return)

[39]. “British Commonwealth Air Training Plan - Flight Training” (Historical Narrative) Circa 1950, 181.09(D89)(A) Directorate of History and Heritage, 51.(return)

[40]. Lewis Duddridge, interview with author, July 2009.(return)

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