Time train a US fighter pilot

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Jenisch, May 2, 2012.

  1. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    How much time (and flight hours) a USAAF figther pilot needed to enter in combat? Excluding the boot camp and anything other than ground school and flight.
     
  2. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    Correction of the thread tittle: Time to train a US fighter pilot.
     
  3. gumbyk

    gumbyk Well-Known Member

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    I've got the figure of 20 hours flight time in my head for some reason, but have no idea why, or where this came from. I may have heard it in interviews or something like that.
     
  4. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    20 hrs!!! You're not even close, at least 250 or so. maybe even 350 by the time they were in theater.

    Somebody with specific WW2 knowledge will post soon i'm sure.

    Some of the Kamakazi pilots may have been sent out at about that level, but seeing as how even the gifted students usually take 6-7 hours to solo, expecting to get a pilot in 13 more hours is just not gonna happen.

    You'll see a lot of articles were pilots in some cases were put on operations ( Germany, Russia) with very low hours, but I think it's a misunderstanding, the hours quoted is times in advanced trainers, or operational trainers , not total pilot hours.
     
  5. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    #5 Jenisch, May 2, 2012
    Last edited: May 2, 2012
    Yeah, 20 hours would not be enough even for a private pilot course.

    BTW guys, the USAAF used gliders to introduce flight to it's pupils? I already see some pictures of gliders from the USMC, don't have sure if they were standard to flight introdution for that force however.
     
  6. gumbyk

    gumbyk Well-Known Member

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    It might have been that they had 20 hours on type (Spitfire, P-51, etc).

    Training was completely different back then though. I've got my grandfathers logbook from when he was learning to fly during the 60's, and he solo'd at around 5 hours, and that included training that we don't even do now for CPL.
     
  7. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    Wiki

    USAAF Schools

    Pilot School

    Primary Pilot Training taught basic flight using two-seater training aircraft. This was usually done by Contract Schools (civilian pilot training schools) through the Civil Aeronautics Authority – War Training Service (CAA-WTS). Cadets got around 60 to 65 Flight Hours in Stearman, Ryan, or Fairchild Primary Trainers before going to Basic.[7]

    Basic Pilot Training taught the cadets to fly in formation, fly by instruments or by aerial navigation, fly at night, and fly for long distances. Cadets got about 70 Flight Hours in BT-9 or BT-13 Basic Trainers before being promoted to Advanced.[8]

    Advanced Pilot Training placed the graduates in two categories: single-engined and multi-engined. Single-engined pilots flew the AT-6 Advanced Trainer. Multi-engined pilots learned to fly the AT-9, AT-10 or AT-17 Advanced Trainers[9]. Cadets were supposed to get a total of about 75 to 80 Flight Hours before graduating and getting their Pilot's Wings.[10]

    Transition Training Single-engined pilots transitioned to fighters and fighter-bombers and multi-engined pilots transitioned to transports or bombers. Pilots got 2 months of training before being sent into combat duty.
     
  8. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    So they had about 200-210 hrs when they got their wings and moved on to transition training ?
     
  9. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    I put this together some time ago when comparing USAAF and RAF training.

    USAAF training had four phases:-
    • Primary Flying School
    • Basic Flying School
    • Advanced Flying School
    • Transition Training

    Primary Flying School
    The Primary Flying schools were civilian operated under contract for the USAAF. These civilian schools used Stearman, Ryan and Fairchild trainers owned by the USAAF, but their flight instructors were civilian employees. Each cadet received 60 hours of flight training in nine weeks.

    Basic Flying School
    Here the aircraft were changed to BT-9 or Bt-13. Cadets were learned how to fly at night, by instruments, information and cross-country from one point to another. Also, for the first time, he operated a plane equipped with a two-way radio and a two-pitch propeller. This training took 9 weeks and involved about 70 hours in the air. It should be noted that the schools were now under USAAF control and apart from the additional complexity of the training and machinery, there was also the cultural shock as discipline was more rigorous.

    Advanced Flying School
    Again we have a change in aircraft to the AT-6 for future fighter pilots. The time in training was nine weeks and took about 70 hours flying time. The emphasis was on learning aerial gunnery as well as combat manoeuvres and increasing their skills in navigation, formation and instrument flying.

    Transition Training
    This is where the cadet was introduced to the aircraft to be used in combat. For a fighter pilot this took two months and about 50 hours, but was more for multi engine pilots.

    Other Items
    Personally I was surprised by the lack of time allocated by the USAAF to this vital period. I think that the impact was reduced as most trainees were sent to units in the USA giving them a period of training and adjustment before being thrown into battle. If anyone has more information on this I would appreciate it.
    One other item of note was that each level of training Primary, Basic, Advanced and Transition was undertaken at different bases.

    Summary
    USAAF Flight Training covered 29 weeks with approximately 260 hours.

    The main source I used is as follows
    Factsheets : AAF Training During WWII
     
  10. mhuxt

    mhuxt Active Member

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    From the BBSU, think the original source is the USSBS:

    [​IMG]
     
  11. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Depends - I know my father who graduated from 41-A had 241 hours plus 13 hours of Link in all the Primary Trainers plus Bt-9and BT-14s before he was assigned to 67 Squadron at San Angelo as an instructor with BT-15s and BT-13s for Basic Training School. Before he escaped from Training Command, including RAF Flight School at Miami OK #3 FTS, 302/322 AAFFTD, he got ~120 hrs in AT-6. He escaped to 3 Tr Gp in Aug 43 for ~ 70 hrs left seat in B-26 then 22 hrs with B-26s in 478BS/336BG.

    He escaped B-26s finally for fighters by claiming he was too short to effectively operate rudder pedals and got 90 hrs before instructor check ride in P-40s at Sarasota 337FS/337FG in March and ready for assignment to ETO in Late April.

    By this time he had 2026 hrs, (85% as IP) in all the PTs, BT's, AT-6, B-26 and P-40 so he roughly had 241 through BT, another 20 hours fo AT-6 as transition into Exec Officer role at RAF Advanced Training group in Miami Fla - and either 100 hours in B-26 or 100 hours in P-40 before assigned to combat in ETO.

    He had 1.5 hours in P-51 at Goxhill before his first combat mission on June 6. When he shot down his first aircraft on D-Day he had 2036 hours total command/solo time. At VE day he had 2410. By the time he rotated home in October 1945 he had 2571 hours, including time in B-26, A-20, Spit IV, P-47M, FW 190A, FW 190D and Me 109G.

    Not typical Student profile except for the 240+ hours through PT/BT in the 1940-1941 time period pre-war, before going to AT and Transitional. In 1943 the typical profile had fewer hours - usually 250 through Transitional and ready for assignment to a combat unit.
     
  12. Siegfried

    Siegfried Banned

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    25 hours was about the training time some Luftwaffe pilots received at the end of the war. It was effectively manslaughter sending them up against allied pilots with 10 times the training hours and probably as much agin in air time. One reason for the He 162 idea.
     
  13. davparlr

    davparlr Well-Known Member

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    Wow! Quite a aviation history. You must be very proud.
     
  14. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    Quoting from memory from Lundstrom, the USN fighter pilots, once the war began had 300-400 hours flight training. Pre war it was more. If memory serves the training during the war took about nine months.
     
  15. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    of course it took more to train a navy guy they are not as smart as an AF guy
     
  16. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    I suspect some form of Carrier landing qual and more air/flag gunnery training made up the difference - with emphasis on landing qualifications.. had my father gone directly to advanced and transition before being assigned to combat unit as a replacement, he would have had 350-400 hours. He did remark that aerobatics was emphasized more with the RAF training command - and when he participated as an instructor the AT-6 was the airframe he used the most.
     
  17. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    From what I have read the Operational training for a USN carrier pilot was two months, took 100 hours and included carrier qualification.
     
  18. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    Digging into Lundstrom, once the war was underway the carrier fighting air wings in 1942 averaged about 300 flight hours experience. In contrast the wings in 1940 averaged 1000 to 600 hours. The 1939 syllabus was 207 flight hours in 26 weeks and then carrier pilots were supposed to get about 75 more hours before going to operational squadrons. When war broke out the demand for fighter pilots meant that the squadrons themselves bore most of the burden of operational training.
     
  19. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    That seems to fit. I had USAAF at around 260 hours, the transition training for USN was 100 hours instead of 50 for the USAAF which gives you about the right number.
     
  20. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    I recall reading in Lundstrom that early in the war. March, April, 1942? The first ever carrier landing a certain fighter pilot made was when his squadron flew out to the carrier after the carrier had sortied from Pearl Harbor. He had made field carrier landings but never on an actual flight deck. He cracked up his F4F but was not seriously hurt and went on to be a decent pilot. Can you imagine?
     
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