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

Douglas, Georgia

Advanced Training

Advanced Training

After completing Primary Training at Douglas and Basic Training at another air field, the cadet from the 63rd AAF FTD entered Advanced Training. Advanced training for fighter pilots took place in the AT-6, and training for multi-engine aircraft occurred in the AT-9 and AT-10 aircraft.

Advanced flying school prepared a cadet for the kind of single- or multi-engine airplane he was to fly in combat. Those who went to single-engine school flew AT-6s for the first 70 hours during a nine-week period, learning aerial gunnery and combat maneuvers and increasing their skills in navigation, formation and instrument flying.

Cadets assigned to twin-engine school received the same number of flying hours but did not practice combat aerobatics or gunnery. Using the AT-9, AT-10 or AT-17, they directed their efforts toward mastering the art of flying a multi-engine plane in formation and increasing their ability to fly on instruments at night.

Upon completing advanced flying school, the cadet received his wings and commission.

Below is an excerpt from the 63rd AAFFTD Yearbook on Advanced Training:

"Where the pig iron is taken and molded into the finished product." The third and last phase in an aviation cadet's training is at Advanced, and it is here that the polish is applied and the kinks taken out before sending him out as an officer. For the first time, the cadet is considered a pilot—and the instructor, his flight commander. He learns to carry the responsibility which will soon be his—to know that in his hands are the lives of others as well as his own.
Having completed Primary and Basic training, the boys decide they’re pilots and that this Advanced “stuff” isn’t going to get them. No Sir! After handling those basic trainers, the AT’s are going to be easy. All goes well— the cadets report in. No hazing from the upperclass—in fact, no trouble at all as long as they remain "eager."
The first ten hours of flying at Advanced is devoted to transition. During this time the cadet learns to handle the faster and heavier ship with its additional equipment, such as retractable landing gear, hydraulic flaps, and constant speed prop. These are the days of worry, for what cadet wants five stars? However, the time goes quickly, and the cadets say “Goodbye” to the time when they could take up a plane by themselves and fly as they desired, for formation flying walks in the door and remains. Instrument flying is an important part of the training, part of it on the ground in the "Jeep" (Link Trainer) which handles just like the real airplane. in these are taught the procedures which are later practiced in the air on team rides under the hood. Altitude flights are made to accustom cadets to the use of oxygen and the reactions of the plane in the lighter atmosphere. One of the most thrilling of all the cadet missions is the first night cross-country trip. Having flown "night local" at Basic, night flying itself is not so unusual, but to follow the light lines to another city means a new step in training. Flying takes but half of the day—the remainder is spent in the classroom, at athletics, or drilling.
Then for ten days, the class has a break in their advanced training—ten days of gunnery practice at another school. Here cadets practice at ground and aerial gunnery. With machine guns mounted on the trainers, each man shoots several hundred rounds every day.
Yes, at any advanced flying school is taught the necessary subjects which any Army Air Forces pilot must know, to prepare him for service in the field as an officer.

Click one of the links below to read up on the training sequence:

Training Sequence Overview >> Preflight >> Primary >> Basic > > Advanced (you are here)  

National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, Flight Training on the Eve of WWII, 7/15/2009

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