Dec 27. 1942
Well Christmas is all over and it was very pleasant. Many thanks for the parcel and everything in it. The cake is splendid and you’ll be glad to hear the cellophane comes off better as the cake ages. As for some days there have been only two of us in the whole barrack block the cake will last some time. The Sweater is lovely and something I really needed. Thank you Mary. I spent Christmas eve and Day with Mrs. Chaney, daughter Gynt and Ted. Both the children had just caught colds and could not enjoy Christmas to the utmost but the elder recovered enough to open his presents and to have some turkey. It was very pleasant and quite a change which is what I needed for I was getting rather fed up lying around the hangar waiting for a flip.
Since our class left I have had a lazy life. I never go on a parade, rarely have any breakfast and often don’t get up before 8:45. I am transferred to Course 68 but at first was still flying at my hangar which was different than 68 so perhaps they wondered just were I was. They haven’t quite caught up to me at the guard house yet and I have been going out nearly every night even though my flight was CBed.
On the 23rd I was shown how to do loops and rolls and went on a crosscountry dual flight. Then on the 24th I was moved over to the new hangar. That is when I got fed up for it took most of the day to decide which flight I was to be in and then to realize that that flying was not on that day. This was particularly annoying as I could see that I was now even behind Course 68 and because I have had no night flying will not be able to finish quite when they do. Of course I will be through long before my old class starts in Saskatoon but it may be difficult now to arrange to get in that draught.
Yesterday I went over to the hangar determined to get some flying so I got the flight commander to authorize me out and I put in three hours solo. I practised landings the first hour, making small circuits to get in a lot of them and they were all O.K. A bright sunny day makes all the difference. After that I climbed up to 7000 debating whether or not to try a loop. Yes, I would, and that first one was so enjoyable I tried many more.
Today I put in the maximum daily allowance of 4 hours making the total now 58:45. The first flight lasting 1:50 was a triangular cross country solo. It was clear and sunny and so warm I didn’t need to wear gloves. This made keeping my log much easier and it was a pleasant trip.
After lunch I had my first flight with my new instructor—no other flight has been like it. Before we even left the ground I put the hood over and took off blind flying under his direction. We climbed up to 6000 practising turns on the way and then I did two spins still under the hood. I think I must have been lucky for he was simply amazed with my recoveries which he said were just as good as if there was no hood over me. However I had some difficulty pulling out of the ensuing dive for although the airspeed was dropping rapidly the sensation was that of a vertical dive. It is hard to subdue your senses sometime.
Then he put the plane in such a position that the turn needle was right over and bank indicator over in the opposite direction and told me to recover normal flight. I don’t know what it started as but I got into a spiral dive. I saw the airspeed creeping up and up passed 150 and naturally pulled more and more on the stick. This was the wrong thing to do for I should have got the turn and bank control first. I didn’t know how to do the latter anyway so he had to give me a hand. (Incidentally the reason for the bank indicator being hard over in those first spins is simply that I was skidding. A touch of rudder would have fixed it).
After the spiral dive I came out from under the hood and my instructor asked me how my stomach was. However I had been unaffected so he took over and really gave me the works. Stalls, stalls turns, inverted flying slow rolls, a variety of snap rolls and stunts as yet unnamed. Several times I felt as if I had had enough and was on the point of remarking on it during a lull when he would suddenly do some other crazy thing. It was quite fun but almost too much of a good thing.
Then I took over and headed for home. All of a sudden the motor cut out. It took a few seconds for me to realise that I was supposed to do something and then I turned the gas on again. So then he cut the throttle and told me to make a practise forced landing. It wasn’t very good. I picked about the worst field and made a bad approach. Just above the ground he took over, made a thrilling steep turn and away we went.
This instructor is one of the first to realise I am behind the others and don’t want to be so we should get on very well with each other.
We have absolutely no fatigue work to do here. Distributing coal to the various barrack blocks, sweeping floors, taking planes in and out of the hangars etc. is all done by the civilian personnel. Absolutely the only exercise I get is walking to the mess hall or hangar. There is no P. T.
I had a letter from Peter just before Christmas. He must have lost my address for it had started out at #3 M. Depot and gone to every station I have been to. He says he is going to Sandhurst (or did you tell me that).
I imagine S.m [?] Simpson made a good deal. Wasn’t there a terrific surplus (did they call it a “Rest Fund”) which would indicate that the value of the shares had doubled unless the assets were very much overstated.
With love from
[Note: Transcription provided by collection donor.]