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CAA/WTS/CPT/Flight Schools - Reference Thread


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deadpeoplesjunk

Like I had said [i think I said anyway lol] they are applique. The wing is a standard aaf observer and the disc seems to be soldered on top. I imagine this was a small flight school or maybe even just an airfield probably civilian. I still haven't figured out where but I think it may have been in Big Spring Texas.There were a at least a few civilian airfields that repurposed military wings that I know of, though I am far from the final word in this field. I have no qualms at all about this piece, though I am always open to opinions. I'd like to see if someone has another, I'm sure there were more than one of almost any wing from a school.

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Nothing wrong with those wings. I've never seen another. The other two big collectors of flight instructor/flight school wings would be Russ and Cookieman. Russ has a very nice grouping of a woman pilot wearing a similar patch. I suspect if he had a mate to your wing, he would have posted it already.

 

Some background, during the mid 1930's there was a large push from the FDR administration to spur commercial and civilian aviation industries (thus the formation of the CAA). The idea was to get civilian aviation, air ports, aviation manufacturing and related fields going in the US. A large number of civilian flight schools were founded, some just one-plane opperations working out of a hanger, others very large. Even collages and universites offered flying courses. In general, there were almost no military interest in any of these schools or operations, even as WWII loomed. By the late 30's it was pretty clear that the USAAF was WELL behind the curve in militaria aviation, but it wasn't until just about 1940-41 that people started to really take notice. At the time of Pearl Harbor, the USAAF was very poorly situated, and could barely train 500 or so new pilots. At this point, it became apparent to the previously hesitant military that they could use some of the larger civilian flight schools to train cadets in basic flying (thus was born the CAA-WTS programs). The original 22 or so contract flight schools (CFS) were then tasked with training cadets in basic flight. There were a larger number of subcontracted schools, auxiliary fields, etc that were folded up into this concept. As a collecting field, there are literally hundreds of different patches, wings and realted insignia out there to pick up.

 

Since these schools were run and staffed by civilians, there were no real uniform regulations that they had to abide by, especially at the start of the program. Some schools adopted paramiliatry style uniforms and insignia, others had nothing specific at all. If you look at yearbooks from these schools (especially in 42-43) you find all sorts of stuff being worn. I suspect that there are all sorts of one-offs and unique wings out there. Your wing is very very nice, and I wonder how many PMs you got to sell? I know I would have been one if I had the funds.

 

Thanks for sharing.

Patrick

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deadpeoplesjunk

The one thing that really digs me on these is the guy I got them from won't tell me where he got them and won't make much effort to find out more about them. I know he bought them from one of the seniors in his condo and for all I know theres an amazing photo album or some related books he may be able to get.[or better yet, find out where the school is! lol] I told him if he could track down a pic of the person wearing them, even a small snapshot, I'd give him 50 bucks.2 weeks ago I told him I may go more. I've got some great stuff from him in the past and he never tries to find info with the stuff, it kills me! lol. Whenever he gets a wing badge, he always wants 50 bucks, the last wing I got from him[before this] was a naval aviator ww2. A guy was in front of me and saw it first , tried to beat him down, and he took them outta his hands and handed them to me . I bought them cause they looked decent and were in what may have been an original presentation box. I got back to my table and looked better at them and they were J Obrien! lol. He seems to be on a long roll with tough makers! By the way, Russ Huff, isn't that the gentleman that used to publish Wings and Things? I got Fred Andrews old binder of that publication, what a great reference! I knew Fred somewhat when he was still alive, he was one knowledgeable, nice, and brutally honest collector.

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Nothing wrong with those wings. I've never seen another. The other two big collectors of flight instructor/flight school wings would be Russ and Cookieman. Russ has a very nice grouping of a woman pilot wearing a similar patch. I suspect if he had a mate to your wing, he would have posted it already.

 

I agree too now seeing the side. It looks to be properly sized and soldered.

 

nice set, and thanks for showing/taking more pics !!!!

-Brian

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

REF POST 284: Polaris Flight Academy, War Eagle Field, Squadron 14, 5" Flight Jacket Insignia

Here is my Dads Class Photo that your Patch goes to. It is hard to see but the Photo says "Squadron 14 Class 44-G Polaris Flight Academy War Eagle Field Lancaster, California." I do not know when the photo was taken or when my Dad was there. I never had the chance to talk to him about his time in the Service.

post-158400-0-66409500-1430379364.jpg

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Hello Mike and welcome to the Forum.

 

I have a near-complete set of class books from Polaris Flight Academy, including Class 44-G, Squadron 14. I don't see the last name "Coke" listed in the book, but I do see some of the others identified in your photo. If you'd forward your Father's name, I'd be happy to post an image of his individual flying cadet photo.

 

Russ

 

 

 

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Hello Mike and welcome to the Forum.

 

I have a near-complete set of class books from Polaris Flight Academy, including Class 44-G, Squadron 14. I don't see the last name "Coke" listed in the book, but I do see some of the others identified in your photo. If you'd forward your Father's name, I'd be happy to post an image of his individual flying cadet photo.

 

Russ

 

 

 

My Dad's name is Edgar J Lawrence. Thx that would be great My Mom and Dad divorced when I was almost 6 and I had very little contact with him. When I was 6 weeks old Mom and I went to Japan to where he was stationed and lived there almost 2 years. Then Selfridge AFB Michigan, then Mitchell AFB Long Island New York and that is when Mom Left him.

Here is the Plane he flew at Selfridge with the 49th Air Rescue Squadron and their Patch.

 

albattross-pic1.jpg49thARS.jpgalbattross-pic2.jpg

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rustywings

My Dad's name is Edgar J Lawrence. Thx that would be great My Mom and Dad divorced when I was almost 6 and I had very little contact with him. When I was 6 weeks old Mom and I went to Japan to where he was stationed and lived there almost 2 years. Then Selfridge AFB Michigan, then Mitchell AFB Long Island New York and that is when Mom Left him.

Here is the Plane he flew at Selfridge with the 49th Air Rescue Squadron and their Patch.

 

albattross-pic1.jpg49thARS.jpgalbattross-pic2.jpg

 

Hello Mike,

 

For your own reference, here's what your Father's class book looks like. I've run across a number of these same books in the recent past...and I see them listed on ebay now and then. I might be able to help you locate one for your own use.

 

 

IMG_6688.JPG

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Flying Cadet Edgar J. Lawrence:

 

Thank very much I had never seen a pic of my Dad from that time period.

Does the Book have a date when the class started and finished?

Mike Lawrence

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rustywings

Thank very much I had never seen a pic of my Dad from that time period.

Does the Book have a date when the class started and finished?

Mike Lawrence

 

Mike,

 

Unfortunately, there are no dates listed in the class book...not even a print date. The book does mention that a new class starts training at Polaris Flight Academy once every 4 1/2 weeks. Since your Father was assigned to class 44-G, he would have likely arrived at this school in early July,1944.

 

If you find out your Father attended "Primary" Flight School in the Southern California area, I have several class books for Cal Aero, Mira Loma, Twenty-nine Palms, Ryan and Rankin. Who knows, maybe we can locate an even earlier photo?

 

Russ

 

IMG_6689.JPG

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  • 6 months later...

I was reviewing some of my records of flight instructor wings and ran across a picture of instructor Merle Phillips Polhemus who was located at Victory Field in Vernon, Texas. HIs hat badge and lapel wings are made by A.E. Company. I assume his instructor wings were made by them also. I only have photocopies of these items but they may have some interest to the members of the Forum.

post-1658-0-84660700-1448910876.jpg

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Wonder if he's related to William Polhemus, the Air Force navigator who was crew on a B-58 for a world's speed record from Washington to Paris in 1961. He was also the navigator on Ann Pellegreno's flight in 1967 that retraced Amelia Earhart's route.

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Hey General-Lucas, thank you for posting. These early contract flight school insignia and patches make me drool as a collector!

 

I believe the letter "R" seen in the upper portion of the cap piece would identify it as an early 1941 to 1942 insignia, when Ritchey Flying Service ran the school. According to the book "Two Hundred Thousand Flyers" by Willard Wiener, the U.S. Army handed the school over to Colonel Dan Hunter in December 1942 and it was then operated by Hunter Flying Service, Victory Field...

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Happen to be fortunate enough to have several items from Victory Field in my collection. Rusty Wings is correct, the school was originally Ritchey Flying Service, opened 14 July 1941. After December 1942, Colonel Dan Hunter operated the school as Hunter Flying Service. The school closed 4 August 1944. Of interest, Hunter also operated a Pre-flight Glider School at Hamilton, Texas (23rd AAF GTD).

 

Examples of insignia and patches follow:

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post-14361-0-95806200-1448938876.jpg

post-14361-0-83320900-1448938916.jpg

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The following picture is of a Victory Field patch I am aware of, and would very much like to add it to my Contract Flying / Pilot Training collection.

 

I would also like to obtain examples of the pilot wings and collar devices.

post-14361-0-54428700-1448939034.jpg

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