With the outbreak of World War II, British Royal Air Force (RAF) officials sought to train aircrews outside of England, safe from enemy attack and poor weather. In the United States six civilian flight schools dedicated themselves to instructing RAF pilots; the first, No. 1 British Flying Training School (BFTS), was located in Terrell, Texas, east of Dallas.
Tom Killebrew explores the history of the Terrell Aviation School and its program with RAF pilots. Most of the early British students had never been in an airplane or even driven an automobile before arriving in Texas to learn to fly. The cadets trained in the air on aerobatics, instrument flight, and night flying, while on the ground they studied navigation, meteorology, engines, and armaments—even spending time in early flight simulators. By the end of the war, more than two thousand RAF cadets had trained at Terrell, cementing relations between Great Britain and the United States and forming lasting bonds with the citizens of Terrell.
“Killebrew’s book adds substantially to an understanding of the history of RAF flight training on U.S. soil in World War II.”—Tod Roberts, editor of RAF Wings over Florida