Dec 16. 1942
My flying hours are slowly mounting but hampered a lot recently by poor weather. The log now stands at 40 hrs. I should have had my thirty hour check long ago but the instructors who give these are busy with final checks on our class who leave on Friday. Very few have had this and as it is snowing hard right now (noon) I don’t know how it will all be done in time.
My first spins were exciting—had I not been so busy they would have been alarming. The first two were fair but on the next I got out of control. I had the spin stopped and the nose was coming up on the horizon when I felt something seemed wrong. Then I noticed that although the wings were level the bank indicator was right over. I couldn’t figure this out and my efforts to correct it resulted in another spin. I stopped this very quickly, in fact it was almost a jolt and it nearly started to go the other way before she got properly level. I came out at a terrific speed and climbed quickly up to regain some of the 2000 feet I had lost. I had started at 5800 feet so had lots to spare really but I confined the rest of the time to lesser exciting steep turns. (I have now got spins mastered so that I have no apprehension about doing them and indeed rather enjoy them). Soon after commencing the steep turns I noticed the engine was throwing oil. By the time I got home forward visibility was zero so it is lucky the field was almost empty when I came in.
Another day I went up with my instructor. At 1000 feet we got into clouds and visibility was zero. At 2200 we were above the clouds which were an even grey blanket just below us. Very far away you could see ground. After awhile we spied a hole in the clouds and came down below again. We practised forced landings for awhile but the ceiling was really too low so we headed for home. Soon after we got in the weather cleared completely which should have been an indication of something and we were all sent out solo. I was up at 5000 most of the time where it was quite smooth but the unusual drift indicated a pretty strong wind. Coming home I let down to 2000 and started to encounter very bumpy air. In fact I never dreamt air could be so bumpy—the closest comparison I could make would be riding a bucking horse. Not realising the wind had veered I came in out of wind the first time and drifted obliquely accross the field. I saw I would drift into another plane even if you could land that much out of wind so at 20 ft I gave her the gun and went around again. The same thing happened the second time so I went far down wind and made a powered approach from 1000 feet. The eventual landing was perfect. I tried to taxi in but I just whirled around in a small circle due to the strength of the wind and had to wait for someone to come out to hold the wing tip. There were planes dotting the field in similar predicaments and some planes parked on the tarmac had blown into one another before almost every available man had been called out to usher them into the safety of a hangar.
I have just learned that our class is being posted 6 to Dauphin and the rest to Saskatoon ones[?]. The latter have leave until Jan 10 so at present I see no reason why I could not make this. I did well in ground school with an average of 95.7. I don’t think there is anybody else in the 90s because the average of the highest marks got in any subject by anyone else is 93 4/7.
My link mark (not included above was 71. Most people were in the 70’s and highest was 85. In the link test you trace out a U track that looks like this. [diagram] It takes about 13 minutes. Most of the time you fly at 85 mph but from A to B you climb 500 at 65 and from C to D lose 1000 at 65 and from E to the finish X at 70 maintaining constant altitude. Each turn must be timed and when the compass settles down, adjusted to the exact compass heading. Just after point D you must remember to reset the stop watch. It is altogether quite a strain.
I was over to the Dodds again on Sunday and have been asked their for Christmas.
With love from
[Note: Transcription provided by collection donor.]