#6 E. F. T. S.
Prince Albert, Sask.
Is it really the 14th since I last wrote? I always note it down each time I write but that seems an awfully long time ago. I wrote so many letters the last week in Saskatoon when I had nothing to do all day except dodge the sergeant that I must have lost track.
Oh—now I remember—mentioning about drawing flying kit etc.
Anyway we arrived in Prince Albert about noon and transferred to a couple of busses which took us the six miles to this station. It is a wonderful station too. North of the town I think and on the edge of the N. Saskatchewan River. The parade ground is openly exposed to the cold winds coming off the river so that for the first two days whenit was cold anyway I was freezing all the time.
Best of all the school is run by a civilian company. All instructors, ground and flying, except one (armament) are civilian. Actually the pilots are sergeant pilots on indefinite leave but they wear civilian instructors uniform and are paid by the company. Thus there is practically no discipline to hamper us and virtually no drill. Another thing of course is the meals are infinitely superior to anything we have met before. One reason for this is that there are only two hundred students here.
The day we arrived we were shown how a parachute is packed and then we went out to the sports field with the instructor who put the chute on and pulled the rip cord to demonstrate how to handle the risers in the wind etc. Afterwards we were each issued a chute for the duration of our stay here.
We fly half the day and go to ground school the other half and are supposed to fly on four days in each six. After we solo we get a lot of link but until that time arrives we apparently spend the link afternoons doing nothing. I’ve had two of these so far.
Ground school seems a bit of a farce so far. After waiting ½ hour or so for the instructor
you may get a short talk on the subject and then away he goes again. You wait 15 minutes and then there is a regular 20 minute recess. How different from I. T. S.! However the instructors say we will not have a minute to spare while we are here and so won’t mind being home at 10:30 every night except when we have to fly in the mornings when we cannot go off the station at all.
We had a test in armament and aircraft rec. when we arrived to see what we remembered from I. T. S. I got 96. In a wireless test at about 7 to 7½ I got 100 despite the long lay off.
Our class of 45 is divided into three flights, one flying while the other two are at gorund school and later on, at link. Being in the last flight I didn’t fly till yesterday.
We start by memorizing a cockpit check which you do when you are waiting around. There is plenty of this waiting to be done too because your flight is say 50 minutes and the rest of the a.m. or p.m. you do nothing.
When your turn comes you climb into the back seat, the instructor shows you how to fasten the harness and the location of various controls, and you taxi off to the starting point. The first flight is level flying. I did one turn and quite a bit of straight flying. This seemed fairly easy but I have a tendency to keep going into a slight climb.
On our flight today I handled the elevator on the takeoff while the instructor looked after the more complicated business of keeping the ship in a straight direction. I did more turns today but as there was a very low ceiling (1000’) we couldn’t do the climbing turns the schedule called for. I have 1 hr 40 minutes chalked up so far. I certainly have been up in the air. These moths give you a feeling of security despite their flimsy appearance.
I noticed that the province mentioned an accident we had here. Well it is the first fatal accident this station has ever had.
Mrs. Teddy Dodd phoned me last night. She saw me get off the train at P. A. and has asked me over for Sunday dinner. Ted is stationed at Dafoe which is close enough for him to come home for the weekends I believe.
Bob Davis is here. He had his 30-hour check yesterday and passed O.K. You are supposed to get between 50 and 75 hours by the time you finish here. The course is eight weeks and the ground school exams are written in the seventh. In the last week instead of ground school we get some machine gun practice and, weather permitting, skeet shooting.
With love from
[Note: Transcription provided by collection donor.]