EVERY DAY'S A SCHOOL DAY
Any pilot will tell you that the learning process never stops. For many an air force recruit, those days began at the RAF College Cranwell, just as they did in the 1950s for this then-new trainee, taking him right the way through from the Tiger Moth to the Vampire.
Photograph and excerpt by Bill Turnill
Full article in 'AEROPLANE' magazine, September 2022 edition
What subtle means of persuasion the RAF had in those far-off
days to seduce young men into the world of aviation. For this
impressionable lad, the Air Training Corps was the first step, with
his first experience of leaving mother earth in the back of a Tiger
Moth on a magical September evening, regularly topped over the
years by air experience flights. But how to encourage us further?
Offer us a flying scholarship with 30 free hours on Tiger Moths at
Sywell, ending up with a private pilot’s licence, but with no possible
funds to maintain it. Can you follow the plot so far? Now, lad, if you
want to continue flying for free, why not consider a career in the
RAF where you’ll not only do that, but be paid as well?
That is how, in September 1953, this gullible chap found himself at
the RAF College polishing floors for the first six months, before
finally arriving on the basic flying flights on Cranwell’s North
Airfield. We should not forget the hedge-hopping experience with
Sgt Wilson in the station Anson, but that is another story entirely.