violent that an airplane which was tied down flipped over a total loss 25 Two

Violent that an airplane which was tied down flipped

This preview shows page 48 - 52 out of 117 pages.

violent that an airplane which was tied down flipped over, a total loss. 25 Two major cross-country flights tested the cadets' navigation abilities during training. The women, now in the Basic Trainer phase often
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returned with woeful and humorous tales to share with their baymates. One woman made a forced landing in a farm field and was grateful when a family took her in for the night. She thought she might get some extra hours' sleep away from the base. She was wrong. The farmer set her to doing chores; churning butter, feeding chickens, and washing dishes. The cadet was so disgusted she went back to the plane and waited to be rescued. She gladly returned to barracks life at Avenger Field. 26 Some cadets did not return to Avenger Field. Accidents occurred on cross-country flights, during night flying and on routine training missions. A few accidents happened within sight of the flight line; some crash sites were not discovered for several days. Memorial services for women who took their Last Flight at Avenger Field" made the movies look like comedies." one cadet recalled. 27 The accident rate for WFTD pilots was constantly scrutinized as an index to prove the ability of women fliers. The statistics on women versus
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men cadets showed that the accident rate for women compared favorably to that of male cadets. Analysis of the causes of the women's accidents showed that pilot error was often to blame. 28 Further investigation suggested that one possible source of the pilot error was the inexperience of flight instructors. According to Captain Nels O. Monesrud, Avenger Field's medical officer, the Army check pilots found that WFTD cadet performance was adversely affected by the poor proficiency of some of the instructors. Cadets even noted the lack of skill of some of the teachers. Some instructors were relieved of duty after failing check rides themselves. Dr. Monesrud believed that the constant repairs and construction on the airfield were also factors in the accident rate for the women trainees. At any given time, the runways at Avenger were at only 75% capacity.29 These out-of-service runways meant that a greater number of cross-wind or crab landings were executed early in flight training. These maneuvers were very difficult for
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any new aviation cadet. The ever-present possibility of washing out intensified the rigors of military life and the demanding training schedule. In the latter months of the women's pilot school, as the war in Europe was progressing at a better rate than anticipated, the wash-out rate was intentionally increased. AAF headquarters chose to reduce the number of pilots by rapid attrition from training schools when the casualty rate for combat pilots in Europe did not reach the anticipated 20% loss rate. All through the AAF training system, the number of students in classes was drastically cut as the manpower needs for each specialty dropped in the combat theaters. The administrative reductions ordered in aviation training alone from July, 1943 to July, 1944
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