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Thread: Wellington OTU CFI pre training?

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    Default Wellington OTU CFI pre training?

    In 1940, who would provide the training to become a chief flying instructor on a operational training unit? I have a experienced Wellington Captain who dissappears from a front line bomber squadron in July 1940 then reappears as a C.F.I. on a O.T.U. one year later. Could it be one of the following or something else I'm unaware of?

    1) The Wellington OTU before being appointed unit CFI (this was my first thought)
    2) The Wellington Squadron he flew ops on
    3) A Flying Training School
    4) The Central Flying Training School but in WWII thought this school was for training single engine instructors

    Norman
    Last edited by namrondooh; 7th September 2012 at 20:55.

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    Norman,
    Just butting in on this one, but as all "pupil pilots" at an OTU would be fully trained and qualified as service pilots, that the post of CFI at such a unit would be mainly for disciplinary reasons and his instructor category would not be as important as at, say, an EFTS or SFTS, which would have to be Category A1 or A2 (from memory). In fact most "instructors" at OTU's for the early part of the war had no formal instructor ratings at all; it was only later (1943/44?) that a "Q" rating was introduced and all staff pilots assisiting the students coming through the unit on their conversion courses would have been required to have such a rating, which was considered not much of a qualification, but at least it was based on certain standards and the graduates with this qualification should have at least a better understanding of his job in converting pilot to type. Apparently the early (unqualified) "instructors" posted to OTUs to convert pilots to heavy aircraft were not chosen for any particular reason other than they were "tour expired" and therefore available to fill vacancies in the unit's establishment, and it has been recorded that many of these men resented being posted to such a job, and had bad attitudes towards their pupils - and moreso towards the system that placed them in this position. At some time in the earlier part of the war (1942?) they began to provide some additional instruction for these "instructors" and also attempted to weed out the more unsuitable types before they could cause damage to the programme as a whole. Later the more formal "Q" category was introduced to further improve results on the instructing front. I imagine that such conversion courses in modern air forces are still undertaken along somewhat similar lines, although their qualifications would now be of a higher standard. However all this is nothing to do with CFI's as such, but I have tried to demonstrate the state of instructors in the OTUs, which was at a much lower level of instructing ability than at SFTS's for instance. Nevertheless the post of CFI still existed and was therefore considered important, so suitable people had to be found to fill this post, and I imagine the main qualifiaction was that the appointee should probably be familiar with the handling of heavy aircraft, and may be required to check out doubtful "pupils" on courses and judge them on their merits, with a view to dropping them from the course or proceed with them with a little additional instruction. For this purpose he would probably have to have at least a "B" Category instructors rating, but he would not do much instructing himself (which was normal for a CFI in any school situation). The other important part of a CFI's job description would be to oversee standards of airmanship on his unit (particularly of his own staff, as well as pupils) and to judge on instances of bad airmanship, or breeches of local flying rules, etc. My ten cents worth.
    David D

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    Hello David,
    Thank you very much for your most interesting response to my recent question concerning flying training in the early war years. It has helped me enormously to understand the term 'CFI' . FYI, the photograph which prompted me to ask the question - 1941 staff photo of 23 OTU ,Pershore - is now on photobucket: http://i563.photobucket.com/albums/ss72/dfuller52/23OTU-restored.jpg
    Norman

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    Norman,
    Thanks for that, my post was just a "shoot from the hip" type, based on much and little, but I think that it will prove (if we could be so lucky) to be not too far off the mark. No doubt the job of the CFI in such a unit as an OTU would be an onerous one, and if indeed the CFI was asked to rule on any doubtful pupils, he might leap at the opportunity of getting away from his desk for an hour or two. Seriously though, the chances of a 95 year old ex OTU CFI sending in a response to this query are getting slimmer by the day, and we will have to rely on such sources as citations for awards, or maybe even a diary (with some meaningful entries to enlighten us) to get the good gen. There must have been some interesting files on this subject but what are the chances they have survived to the present day?
    David D

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    On further pondering, I imagine that many of the CFIs at OTUs would likely have been short service commission officers from the 1920s who either were converted to permanent commissions at the end of their original SSC, or else became airline pilots, or CFIs at flying clubs and the like, and volunteered for active service in WW2. Could even have been some WW1 chaps in there too of course, although perhaps these would be present in smaller quantities. All this just pure supposition of course, but it might stimulate some good citations from the archives.
    David D

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    Thanks for the further information David, most kind.

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