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Thread: RAF Grading School "near Lyneham".

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    Default RAF Grading School "near Lyneham".

    Hello,
    I've just been reading about a WW2 RAFVR trainee pilot who gained his first 12 hours of flying training in Tiger Moths "in a Grading School near RAF Lyneham" in the autumn of 1943. I can't remember reading about FTSs or SFTSs being described as Grading Schools before, but maybe a GS could be something else.
    Can anyone suggest what airfield may have accommodated the Grading School near Lyneham?
    Many thanks.
    Tom

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    How about Clyffe Pypard - about 5 km ESE from Lyneham.

    Brian

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    Tom Allett (3rd December 2019)

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    Thanks Brian, you may well be right.
    I must admit that I'd never heard of it!
    Any other possibilities?
    Regards,
    Tom

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    Hi Tom,

    Going off what Brian's posted, what about an elementary flying school?

    https://discovery.nationalarchives.g...ils/r/C7160953

    Regards,

    Dave

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    Tom Allett (3rd December 2019)

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    Hi Tom,

    All PNB candidates attended Flying Grading, which was a separate and distinct activity before EFTS and SFTS. Grading provided a concentrated assessment of a pupil's potential to pass pilot training. Those not selected would go to Nav or BA EFTS.

    Hope this helps,

    Richard

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    Tom Allett (3rd December 2019)

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    WW2 Aircrew Volunteers were classified as 'PNB' (Pilot,Navigator,Bomb Aimer) - A grading school was where Aircrew volunteers were tested for their suitability to be trained as pilots (ie aptitude testing) - they were given a limited amount of flying hours to attain a certain standard in flying (up to 12/15 hours).The best of the pupils would go on to pilot training and the others would go to Navigation/Bombing Schools to train as Navs/Bomb Aimers.

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    Tom Allett (3rd December 2019)

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    By May 1942, "grading" was carried out during the ITW phase of training, using EFTS airfields in the UK.

    Prior to this, potential candidates were sent overseas (eg on BCATP) after completing the ITW Course where they undertook the grading course at an overseas EFTS (which was obviously too late in the process).

    Regards

    Pete
    Last edited by PeteT; 29th November 2019 at 23:47.
    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 is correct on this. My father was attached to RAF No. 18 EFTS at Fairoaks as an instructor: “I was at Fairoaks (No 18 EFTS) from April 17, 1942-September 23, 1943, with a couple of trips in between for various spots. Shortly after I got there, after a few months, we were to get these men ready to complete their Elementary Flying Training in Canada or the United States, because by this time the Empire Training Plan was in full force. This took all the joy out of instruction. It was just a “Specialty School” of flogging these kids through. If they weren’t solo by 12 hours, out they go…there was no attempt, no chance, unless you had an exceptional student to do instrument flying or aerobatics, or low flying. They were denied that. And it was a very, very boring time."

    There were several notable individuals serving at Fairoaks with Dad, including the rather notorious Boulton Paul Defiant F/L Hugh Percy, who dad said wrote logbook in Greek, P/O Millichap who flew the first jet airliner across the Atlantic and the famous artist P/O J Leigh Pemberton.

    Jim

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    Hello all,
    Many thanks for the info; very interesting and it all makes sense.
    The chap I was reading about didn't progress beyond the 12 hours as a pilot. He was then offered a Nav course but chose Air Bomber instead.
    He trained for that in Canada, qualified, and was posted to a Lancaster unit. He completed 10 Ops followed by several Manna food drops before the war ended.
    Regards,
    Tom

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