Feb 9. 1943
Shall I start at the beginning. The train trip was uneventful and I had my car all to myself to Blue R. Both trains were very late due to slides, the second being particularly late so that I was allowed to stay on my train to Edmonton. We got there at 12:30. Shortly before arriving I remembered it should be the annual fraternity weekend. I phoned the house and such had been the case and as there was still a party going on at the house over I went. There were several chaps I knew there and plenty of drinks so it was quite a reunion for me the only jarring incident being the loss of 14.00 in a crap game in a very short space of time. I eventually got to bed about 5:00 in a car spotted for the second train. We pulled out about 6:00 and soon after this the porter tried to get me up at regular intervals so that my sleep was somewhat interrupted. I eventually got rather short with him and he didn’t come back. I arose leisurely at 11:00, hours after all the beds had been put away.
We got to Saskatoon about 3:00 and three of us came out here in a taxi. It is too early to say how I am going to like it here but first impressions aren’t too bright. (But the previous class say they were in a fog for the first three weeks). First of all the place is too big particularly in this cold weather. Our barrack block is furthest from the cookhouse and so is our hangar. Meals are not as good as when I was here in January. This is chiefly because we eat in a different place with no electric toasters. Rationing is not apparent yet. For the first day or so we had to go up to a central table to get sugar but they were back on the old system today.
I was up for an hour this afternoon. Ordinary level flight is easy. You can forget about the rudder and makes turns as if you were in a car except that you have to pull back slightly on the wheel. The difficulty comes in the amazing number of things to be checked. Before taking off this amounts to some 45 items. After taking off there are several things that must be done besides keeping a general check on all dials etc. For instance every time the throttle is changed you must adjust the trim. Most chaps finding landings difficult due to increased speed and poor visibility.
One chap I knew, ex Course 67, had some rotten luck. His wheels came up when he put his flaps down (This sometimes happens in very cold weather but he should have noticed it). When his props hit the snow breaking off all the tips he had the courage to ram on throttle and struggle around again (most people would probably have made a ‘belly’ landing.) Then he put the wheels down by hand crank and landed O.K. I don’t know what will happen to him yet.
We had three ground school tests this morning and after my long absence I didn’t do particularly good. I know of at least 6 errors in wireless. In the class I should have been in 5 out of 60 have been washed out so far. My pal Doug McGrath is still there. He says he didn’t like it at first but now thinks it is grand. He soloed under six hours but I believe they give up to fourteen. I hope I don’t need it.
Feb 10 Had another hour of flying today doing circuits. I made one landing by myself except that I was talked in and it was a good one. I still don’t see how I am going to get on to all the checks for my mind seems to go blank when I try to think of them in the air.
Learnt today that the chap who broke the tips off his props was washed out. They just didn’t believe his story but due to some technical reason could not discharge him on account of the accident. So they gave him a flying test which was quite impossible to pass with the hours he had.
With love from
[Note: Transcription provided by collection donor.]