by Peter C. Conrad
The history, Training Aces: Canada’s Air Training during the First World War will be released on October 15, 2015 by BookLand Publishing.
When the Great War broke out, little was known about flight. Even less was known about using the biplane as a new weapon. In 1915 and 1916, two aviation companies were established in Toronto and Vancouver to train pilots for the war. By the autumn of 1916, the aircraft was seen as an important weapon. More pilots had to be trained than the two small companies could manage. The result was the establishment of the Canadian Air Training Scheme by the Royal Flying Corps in 1917.
As winter approached in 1917, questions loomed over the training effort. Could a biplane fly in winter conditions? Even if the aeroplane could fly, could a pilot be trained in the cold? These questions forced the Air Training Scheme to move to the warmth of Texas for that winter. Canadian and British staff helped the Americans to establish their own air force while they trained that winter.
One training wing remained in Canada to answer the questions. When the majority of the Air Training staff returned to Canada in the summer of 1918, the answers were clear: flying was possible year-round in Canada.
The Air Training Scheme was so successful that the facilities in Canada were expanded in 1918. Plans were made for expanding the air training in Canada to make it the central training ground for the Allied forces if the war continued into 1919.
This book shows the effects of the Training Scheme on the overall development of aviation. The success of the training program in Canada was so significant that it led to the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan of the Second World War.