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CAA/WTS/CPT/Flight Schools


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Contract Flight School - "Hanger Six", Uvalde, Texas. I believe the initials "A.C.T.D." on the patch stand for "Air Corps Training Detachment." This Hanger VI wing is a variation to the one my friend Patrick Frost has illustrated in post #33 of this thread.

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OK, here's my contribution. This is my modest collection, and I want to discuss the patch in the lower right.

 

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This patch is from the Wilson-Bonfils Flying School, Chickasha OK. It was a contract primary school from 1941-1945. They also may have done some training at a different airfield somewhere in Kansas. PT-19s and PT-17s were the training aircraft.

 

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My patch came from an internet auction. I have seen this design a couple of times, Ron Burkey has one on his website. His looks nearly identical to mine, but you can tell each was made slightly differently.

 

I sent a photo to a guy who ran an annual reunion for the graduates, looks like 2009 was the final one because of the age of the remaining few. He sent this photo along with this reply:

 

"This a good copy, but if you notice on the original picture attached, it has AAF, Primary and Chickasha Field on the lower portion. They were also made of leather, not cloth as this one seems to be.

 

It may have been made at the school, but is not the official one."

 

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I think that maybe only one or two people have better collections of civilian pilot instructor wings than Russ. And even then, he is not behind by much. Basically, we are super lucky to have what really amount to one of the WORLD experts on civilian pilot training schools. Russ' collection is both extensive and inclusive of this interesting sup-field.

 

I had the chance to get to know a gentleman who was a civilian instructor during the early part of the war. He had some very interesting stories about being an instructor, both how we came to be training pilots in the first place and his efforts to "get into the war" as he said. I will try to get some transcripts of his correspondence later. Sadly, his wife tossed out most of his "stuff" in the 70's and the only things he had left were some xerox copies of old photographs.

 

On another note, those of you who are interested, should be aware of some of the literature and may find it interesting to look into this field even closer. The two main references are these two books.

 

To Fill the Skies with Pilots: The Civilian Pilot Training Program, 1939-1946. By Dominick Pisano,

 

The putt-putt air force the story of the Civilian Pilot Training Program and the War Training Service (1939-1944)

by Catherine Patricia O'Malley Strickland

 

I have heard rumors that John Cook (perhaps the leading expert on civilian instructor wings and patches) is writing or preparing an book on this field as well. However, I have been hearing about this book for many years and still don't know if it is actually going to be published or not.

 

And if you are still interested, I recommend this really great webpage (which also contains additional references):

 

http://www.airforcebase.net/aaf/schools.html

 

To me, the interesting thing about the civilian flight schools is that they cover so much history. I'll add just a few items to this thread to keep it going.

 

First, another family of the "generic" civilian flight instructor wings. The cloth one is rather rare, because they do not seem to have been very popular compared to the metal wings and cap badges.

 

Also, is a photo of these wings being worn by a flight instructor.

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Here is another photo of an instructor wearing an unidentified wing cloth wing (but I think it may be similar to other cloth CPT wings I have seen) on his chest and hat. You can see the "military-like" uniform that many flight schools adopted.

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This is one of my first Ebay buys ever. A Stamford Flight School cap badge.

 

The other wing is likely a civilian instructor wing for someone who was at Robin's field. It is made out of a converted AAF cadet cap badge. I have had some argue that they think this is a sweetheart item, but I doubt it myself.

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Very nice contributions guys!

 

DMD, I think your Chickasha Chick embroidered patch is spot-on and would have been worn on the left shoulder of the uniform shirt. I've not seen a shirt-size Chickasha patch with the name of the flight school embroidered at the bottom. The larger leather patch (post #59) would have been worn on A-2 style leather jacket.

 

Patrick, thank you for your kind words, but in reality my modest collection is "small potatoes" compared to many, many other dedicated collectors. I'm shadowed by the terrific collections and stockpiles of knowledge from people like John Cook, Ed Anderson, Walter Dudgeon, Bob Chatt, Ron Burkey, Stanley Baumwald, Russ Huff, Gregg Parlin and many others.

 

This new thread is off to a good start. I hope we can soon lure others into posting their CAA-WTS insignia as well.

 

Russ

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Here's a Flying Cadet Training System "Test Administrator" badge. I've not run across any illustrations of this badge being worn. I assume it was displayed on the breast pocket of the uniform shirt? It's plated brass with enamel inlay and two inches in width. Any additional info you might have on this badge is most welcome.

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Here's a set of CAA War Training Service title patches. They're embroidered on felt and just under three inches in width. I don't know if this is a complete set or not? If you have other titles, please let me know.

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