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Thread: Flight Engineer training WWII

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    Default Flight Engineer training WWII

    Could anyone help me with finding a WWII Period 'Flight Engineers' training syllabus please, despite various searches I have been unsuccessful.

    Many thanks
    Colin.

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    Colin

    Training consisted of six weeks at an ITW followed by a twenty four week technical training course (broken down into two parts of 17 weeks and 7 weeks).

    The preliminary phase of the course was:

    • Preliminary Airframes (1 week)
    • Preliminary Engines (2 weeks)
    • Carburetors and Magnetos (2 weeks)
    • Electrics and Instruments (1 week)
    • Radial Engines / In-Line Engines (2 weeks)
    • Hydraulics (1 week)
    • Propellers (1 week)

    After a week’s leave, trainees continued with the intermediate phase of the course which incorporated:

    • Merlin Engines (2 weeks)
    • Typical Airframes (1 week)
    • Typical Hydraulics (1 week)
    • Propellers / Instruments / Electrics (1 week)
    • Aerodrome Procedures (2 weeks)

    After a further week’s leave, the trainees progressed to the final phase of the course which provided specific training on the aircraft and engines that they would be assigned to as they progressed into operational squadrons.

    This phase consisted of:

    • Airframes (2 weeks)
    • Electrics / Instruments (1 week)
    • Fuel Logs / Fuel Systems (1 week)
    • Engines (1 week)
    • Engine Handling (1 week)

    As part of this section of the course, trainees were required to spend a week at an aircraft manufacturers (“Makers Course”) for specialised instruction on a specific aircraft.

    Throughout their training, trainees were required to continue with their fitness programme, practice emergency drills and maintain their skills in subjects such as Morse, navigation and armaments.

    The key point is that they had no air training until they arrived at the Heavy Conversion Unit!

    I have more detail if you need it but I am working away from home this week so I will not be online again until next weekend (but I hope this is a useful start point)


    Regards

    Pete

    Note: Training of early flight engineers differed as they were not direct entry
    Last edited by PeteT; 21st February 2016 at 17:52.
    Main areas of research:

    - CA Butler and the loss of Lancaster ME334 (http://rafww2butler.wordpress.com/ )
    - Aircrew Training (Basic / Trade / Operational / Continuation / Conversion)
    - The History of No. 35 Squadron (1916 - 1982) (https://35squadron.wordpress.com/)

    [Always looking for copies of original documents / photographs etc relating to these subjects]

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    Hello Colin,
    If Pete's answer isn't enough, there are several files at TNA that cover Flight Engineers' training, although I have not sen them myself.
    Search 'Flight Engineers' training' in the Discovery catalogue to see them, it is possible that AIR10/3714 & 3715 may be what you need.

    HTH,
    Bruce
    http://www.filephotoservice.co.uk/
    RESEARCH AT THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES & OTHER UK INSTITUTIONS

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    Thank you for both impressive answers.
    I am looking at Halton Apprentices who passed direct into Flight Engineer training.
    It looks like these were significant in number in the early period of the war not sure if Pete's note conflicts with this.
    I need to do a lot more work to have an understanding of the knowledge that these men acquired in the training to qualification and the expectations of ability in the air.
    Colin.

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    Colin

    As mentioned in my note, early flight engineer training was very different, as qualified fitters were utilised prior to the introduction of direct entry in 1943.

    I do not have the details with me, but the fitters had a shortened course, along with gunnery training.

    I am happy to work with you when I get back to build up a better picture of the earlier training; if you are interested in taking this route, can you e-mail me and we can work together on my return.

    Regards

    Pete
    Last edited by PeteT; 21st February 2016 at 23:36.
    Main areas of research:

    - CA Butler and the loss of Lancaster ME334 (http://rafww2butler.wordpress.com/ )
    - Aircrew Training (Basic / Trade / Operational / Continuation / Conversion)
    - The History of No. 35 Squadron (1916 - 1982) (https://35squadron.wordpress.com/)

    [Always looking for copies of original documents / photographs etc relating to these subjects]

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    Coastal Command / GR Squadrons

    Having made a start on researching early flight engineer training, I have noted that in 1939 there was a request for "an engine-watcher" [Flight Engineer] to be incorporated into the crew of the Sunderland.

    Can anyone advise on when this actually started to occur in Coastal Command and/or GR Squadrons?

    Bomber Command Squadrons

    No. 35 Squadron ORBs show that the first "Flight Engineers" were selected and trained by 1st February 1941. Is this consistent with other Bomber Command squadrons?

    Regards

    Pete
    Main areas of research:

    - CA Butler and the loss of Lancaster ME334 (http://rafww2butler.wordpress.com/ )
    - Aircrew Training (Basic / Trade / Operational / Continuation / Conversion)
    - The History of No. 35 Squadron (1916 - 1982) (https://35squadron.wordpress.com/)

    [Always looking for copies of original documents / photographs etc relating to these subjects]

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    Pete,
    I would have though that January 1941 was at least a year too early for a flight engineer to be posted to a Bomber Command squadron, unless this unit was being used as a guinea pig. There were very few "heavy" aircraft in BC squadron service at this time, just the odd Stirling and Manchester units I imagine, and perhaps one Halifax. Practically all crews on these aircraft would have included two pilots, and no flight engineers to best of my knowledge. However Coastal Command flying boat squadrons usually carried several "tradesmen" as more-or-less permanent members of the crews, and this had been so for many years, as these aircraft frequently had to undertake extended flights and operate semi-autonomously from forward operating bases, where airframe and engine tradesmen were essential to rectify minor ailments and carry out minor inspections, etc. However they did not, so far as I know, have permanent duties when actually in flight, but could always function as additional pairs of eyes in searches, etc.
    David D

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    David

    Thanks for your feedback; it is much appreciated as always.

    Bomber Command

    No. 35 Squadron was reformed in November 1940 with the objective of "bringing the Halifax into operational use". However, almost a year earlier, the Air Ministry had recognised that both the Stirling and the Halifax (as well as the Sunderland) would need an "engine watcher".

    Five No. 35 Squadron Fitters were initially trained to perform the Flight Engineer role, qualifying in February 1941, one month before No. 35 Squadron flew its first operational sortie. (Course length, location and content not known)

    I do not know if No. 35 Squadron was the only Bomber Command squadron who had Flight Engineers at such an early stage [Can anyone advise on the situation regarding the Stirling squadrons and which other squadrons had the Halifax during the early part of 1941?]

    Coastal Command

    Does anyone have any documents which would show when the "engine watcher" was introduced?

    Regards

    Pete
    Last edited by PeteT; 28th February 2016 at 12:40.
    Main areas of research:

    - CA Butler and the loss of Lancaster ME334 (http://rafww2butler.wordpress.com/ )
    - Aircrew Training (Basic / Trade / Operational / Continuation / Conversion)
    - The History of No. 35 Squadron (1916 - 1982) (https://35squadron.wordpress.com/)

    [Always looking for copies of original documents / photographs etc relating to these subjects]

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    At the risk of proving my ignorance, can somebody tell me what "GR squadrons" were? Many thanks in advance.

    Hans

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    Hi Hans

    GR = General Reconnaissance, now more commonly referred to as Maritime Reconnaissance.

    Malcolm

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