September 9, 1944: Birth of Military Flight Testing

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  • US Army Air Forces

The United States Army Air Forces Air Technical Service Command Flight Test Training Unit was established at Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio. Maj Ralph C. Hoewing was named Officer in Charge. The Army’s test pilots would henceforth receive formal classroom and cockpit instruction in flight testing theory and techniques, instead of informal “on the job” training. The school was modeled after the Royal Air Force’s new Empire Test Pilots’ School at Boscombe Down.

Army Air Forces Flying Training Command's mission was conducting the flying program for new Army pilot candidates and air cadets. The program was divided in to stages including primary, advanced and specific classification such as pursuit, twin engine and multi-engine. These phases were prelude to Operational or Replacement training or crew training.

Army Air Forces Training Center was created as a result of the merger of the Army Air Forces Flying Training Command and the Army Air Forces Technical Training Command on 31 July 1943. Constituted and established on 23 January 1942. Its mission was to train pilots, flying specialists, and combat crews. Re-designated on or about 15 March 1942, after the Army Air Forces became an autonomous arm of the United States Army.  During its lifetime, the command struggled with the challenge of a massive wartime expansion of the air forces. Throughout 1942, the need for combat crew personnel far exceeded the current and contemplated production of the command's flying training schools. The rate of expansion of housing and training facilities, instructors, as well as the procurement of aircraft and other equipment, though at a breakneck pace, constrained the rate of increase of production. Facilities were used to their maximum capacity as quickly as they could be stood up. Some schools were expanded while they were still under construction. New airfields had to be located in areas with sufficient flying space free of other air traffic, and the West Coast training center faced the extraordinary requirement to avoid sites near the internment camps for Japanese-Americans

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