Feb. 18. 1943
I am very glad to be able to say I have soloed. Did it yesterday after 7:40 hours flying of which about 5:20 was spent on the circuit. For our preliminary flying we use a field some distance from here and the extra time is flying to and from this field. Yesterday I made a few circuits with my instructor and he taught me what to do if one engine failed. He said I wouldn’t be likely to get one engined procedure on my solo check but on my next trip which was a solo check with the flight commander the f/c cut one engine just after we took off. It was quite a surprise but I knew pretty well what to do. As the particular ship we had would not climb on one engine I told the instructor we would have to land wheels up straight ahead. After that we completed a normal circuit.
My solo landing was very smooth but was tail up—a landing sarcastically called TCA landing around here.
This morning I was on link which was a pity as it is a beautiful day—thawing in the sun. Also link is just as much a bugbear as ever. The ones we use now have a wheel instead of a stick and many more instruments some of which like radio we won’t use for some time.
They have started giving us P. T. three times a week. It is probably quite a mild form of it but to us who are not used to it it is anything but.
Feb 19 I started this letter yesterday noon and the day finished up so miserably I was in no mood to finish it. At 5:30 we had a muster parade. Unlike an other station this one does not post DROs in the barrack blocks or even the hangars and as a result they are not often read so that very few knew the parade was to be an inspection. Only the aircrew were penalized but about 40% of us were caught for wearing khaki shirts. We are CBed until further notice and have to clean all the snow off the parade ground which is a very big job even for so many men.
They caught me for haircut and buttons as well as the shirt. This was because the night before a sgt. telling us about the parade said we would not have to wear great coats and that there would only be a role call. The thing lasted until 7:00 by which time supper was rather spoiled.
Tonight I went down for a haircut. After waiting 45 minutes the lights went out and due to inefficiency somewhere they can’t be fixed tonight.
I had 2½ hours flying this morning, one hour being solo. I was in a Crane 1A this morning instead of the Crane 1 which I had been flying before and the instrument panel is absolutely different which is rather confusing at first. The last flight was on still a different ship—my first experience with constant speed propellers which is just one more thing to adjust all the time.
I am sorry to hear about Bob Davis. The mishap likely occurred on his height test in which you climb to around 15.000 keeping a written record of certain instruments. The class ahead of us have been doing this the last few days. I heard that 14 out of 31 washed out in Bob’s class at Dauphin. Four of my class were washed out today.
I forgot to mention before the reason for the second telegram. Jericho hospital phoned #6 even though I had left the hospital and probably said I was still there. It is very strange that Jericho knew nothing about it when I phoned them shortly before I got on the train. It was rather bad luck on one chap who instead of getting two weeks leave had to leave for Dauphin on about an hours notice.
With love from
[Note: Transcription provided by collection donor.]