World War II Flight Training Museum and
63rd AAF Flying Training Detachment

Douglas, Georgia


On the National Register of Historic Places as the 63rd Army Air Forces Contract Pilot School (Primary) of Coffee County, Georgia! Originally a part of South Georgia College’s pilot training program, the 63rd Army Air Forces Contract Pilot School was established in response to the demand for pilots during World War II. Its operation was run by the Raymond-Richardson Aviation Company, a civilian company, but it was overseen by the Army Air Force. The base and aviation cadets enrolled in the school were designated as the 63rd Army Air Forces (AAF) Flying Training Detachment. From 1941-1944, somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 aviation cadets were enrolled, each for about 9 weeks, in what is known as primary flying school as they learned to fly. Here they were taught the flying concepts and received the hands-on experience they would need for more advanced schools for flying specific aircraft.

Of the 55 civilian Primary flying training centers across the country, the base at Douglas is the most intact, with many of the buildings, the field, and hangars still pretty much as they were during the War. A highlight is the instructors’ barracks that is used as our museum about the men, their training, and facilities. The museum houses exhibits on the 63rd’s training, aircraft, and equipment, as well as other interesting events during World War II.

As a partner in the Georgia World War II Heritage Trail, the World War II Flight Training Museum and its history of the 63rd AAF Flying Training Detachment provide an example of how organizations throughout Georgia were quickly transformed from civilian to military uses. The first group of aviation cadets arrived at Douglas on Oct. 5, 1941 (before Pearl Harbor) and finished on Dec. 12, 1941, when they went on to further training. The Douglas 63rd AAF Flying Training Detachment helped in the rapid transformation of civilians to air corps personnel, in particular, pilots, navigators and bombardiers, who made a significant contribution to the war effort.

© 2024 Douglas 63rd Preservation Society, Inc., a non-profit organization