The U.S. did not become the world's foremost military air power by accident. The learning curve--World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, and more recently the war on terror--has been steep. While climbing this curve, the U.S. has not only out-gunned the opposition, producing superior military aircraft in greater numbers than its foes, but has out-trained them, too. This book provides a comprehensive historical survey of U.S. military training aircraft, including technical specifications, drawings and photographs of each type of fixed and rotary-wing design used over a 98-year period to accomplish the first step of the learning process: the training of pilots and aircrews.
The U.S. Army glider corps was formed in the tumultuous period of rapid buildup of American military might prior to the nation's December 1941 entry into World War II. It then had to mature rapidly, under the persistent pressure of wartime conditions, to be ready for action when American airborne troops first deployed. This meant haste and misconceptions that fostered inefficiencies in all aspects of the effort. The program produced a cadre of pilots and fleet of wood and fabric gliders that executed challenging combat missions unlike anything done before or since. Despite the numbers and combat record, the glider is almost never mentioned in accounts of World War II combat aircraft. Many other gliders were developed, partially or completely, to enhance airborne operational capabilities. Most of these have been little reported until now. The U.S. Army and Britain shared aircraft and knowledge, both employing the other's gliders in combat. The U.S. Navy also spent time developing amphibious transport gliders for Marine Corps landings. All are covered in this book. The American experience with military gliders during World War II remains a fascinating story of innovation under wartime conditions of a weapon with no historical antecedents.
The narrator grew up in pre-WWII days loving aircraft; in his case, model aircraft and stories of flying. While hes in college World War II begins. Not relishing the idea of becoming an Infantryman, he signs up for the Armys Aviation Cadet program as a desirable alternative to being drafted. Approximately a year later (April 1943) the Army calls him to active duty for training as an air crewman. When he leaves Birmingham-Southern College its into a different life style, that of an Army trainee. You follow him as he tells of his more memorable moments in training. First is the inevitable Basic Training at Keesler Army Air Base in Biloxi, Mississippi. At Keesler there are the basic military things to learn and dodrilling, Kitchen PoliceKP, physical examinations by the medics and the all-important physical trainingPT. From Keesler he goes to the College Training Detachment at the University of Tennessee. The CTDs, located at many colleges and universities, are mostly a holding operation for the prospective aircrew trainees where they wait their turn for going into actual flying training. The only meaningful activity is the continuation and increased emphasis on physical conditioning in the PT classes. Next there is a month in the Classification Center in Nashville Tennessee where he is identified as being either a prospective Pilot trainee or Navigator trainee. At the Armys Maxwell Army Air Base in Montgomery, Alabama, the narrator spends two months in Pre-Flight training. This is his introduction to life as an Aviation Cadet. He tells of the frequent inspections, the formal military parade ceremonies and life in the war-time Cadet program. As this phase ends, he and his fellow Cadets leave to go into actual flight training. Flight training for the narrator begins at Carlstrom AB in Arcadia, Florida. He tells us about the training aircraft-the Stearman biplane-- and what a trainee does in learning to fly it. After his solo flight, he is reclassified as a Navigator trainee. Pilot training ends for him and Navigator training begins. But before Navigation school there must be training in aerial gunnery, since Navigators on bombers also act as gunners. Gunnery instruction is at Buckingham AAB in Fort Myers, Florida. There he spends what seemed like endless hours in class memorizing the parts of the aircooled machine gun. This was before any firing practice begins. Much of the firing practice is skeet shooting; sometimes conventional skeet shooting and later shooting skeet from the back of a moving truck. The practice-firing of machine guns in the air from a B-17 bomber completes the training. Navigation School in Coral Gables Florida is a joint venture of several independent entities. The University of Miami provides the physical facilities. The Embry-Riddle Co. provides housekeeping services. Pan American Airways, which had been the pioneer in over-water air navigation, provides classroom instruction in navigation and instructors for in-flight training. And the Army Air Corp still kept the military control and instruction for the cadets. The narrator tells us a little about aerial navigation (in very non-technical language) and experiences of the Cadet trainees as they fly in Pan Americans vintage flying boats. When the training is completed the Cadets receive their aeronautical ratings as Navigators and commissions as Army Second Lieutenants or Flight Officers. The narrator tells about meeting Estelle, the woman who becomes his wife in a marriage which disproves the notion that war-time romances are not permanenttheir marriage lasts over forty-nine years and ends only with her death! A short period of radar training in Boca Raton, Florida and a month in a crew-assembling pool in Lincoln, Nebraska. lead into B-29 training at the Air Base in Pyote, Texas. The colorful nickname for the base is Rattlesnake Bomber Base. We read of both the tra
Discusses major developments in aircraft, doctrine, training, and operations. The author also provides discussions of airlife, in-flight refueling, military budgets, industry, and inter-service squabbling. He deftly sketches the evolution of the air arms of each of the different services and provides clear analyisis of military budgets.
On December 18, 1972, more than one hundred U.S. B-52 bombers flew over North Vietnam to initiate Operation Linebacker II. During the next eleven days, sixteen of these planes were shot down and another four suffered heavy damage. These losses soon proved so devastating that Strategic Air Command was ordered to halt the bombing. The U.S. Air Force's poor performance in this and other operations during Vietnam was partly due to the fact that they had trained their pilots according to methods devised during World War II and the Korean War, when strategic bombers attacking targets were expected to take heavy losses. Warfare had changed by the 1960s, but the USAF had not adapted. Between 1972 and 1991, however, the Air Force dramatically changed its doctrines and began to overhaul the way it trained pilots through the introduction of a groundbreaking new training program called "Red Flag." In The Air Force Way of War, Brian D. Laslie examines the revolution in pilot instruction that Red Flag brought about after Vietnam. The program's new instruction methods were dubbed "realistic" because they prepared pilots for real-life situations better than the simple cockpit simulations of the past, and students gained proficiency on primary and secondary missions instead of superficially training for numerous possible scenarios. In addition to discussing the program's methods, Laslie analyzes the way its graduates actually functioned in combat during the 1980s and '90s in places such as Grenada, Panama, Libya, and Iraq. Military historians have traditionally emphasized the primacy of technological developments during this period and have overlooked the vital importance of advances in training, but Laslie's unprecedented study of Red Flag addresses this oversight through its examination of the seminal program.