Biographical Notes
Relating to
The Earl E. Myers Story

Chapter 9 — Basic Flight Training

Transferring from Primary Flight training in Camden, S.C., we were put on a troop train again and we were on our way to Bush Field, Augusta, Ga. For winter time, there was a coal pot bellied stove in the center of the passenger car for heat. Thank the good Lord it was mid-April so that we did not have to smell the fumes it emitted during the winter. On arrival at Bush Field, I found out at once that I would be held back one class because of my broken thumb from playing volleyball at Primary in the last week of training. I was still bunked with my classmates and that was sure a help. I had no assigned duties but I asked permission to attend ground school with my classmates. It was granted and I also could go to the Link Trainer which I did on schedule, more than the time allocated, thanks to a kind Commandant. I made use of my free time by not having any, as I went to ground school with my classmates. I would go to class in formation with my classmates and we would also study at night after P.T. and chow.

I completed ground school on time with my guys and on weekends, rather than going out and living it up, I stayed on base and studied, went to the class rooms for the mock- ups and to receive additional Link Trainer time. I don't want to imply that is what happened every weekend but for most of them, this was the case.

Now, the next class arrived and off came the cast and I was off of DNIF (duty not involved in flying). I went to ground school again and through the Link and it was a lot easier this time. Flight training began in the BT-13 and was it big after the Stearman. All of the basic maneuvers were completed and I was soloed in the BT-13 in 10 hours. What a thrill. Now comes x-country and instruments under the hood in the back seat. The first cross country the instructor put me in the front seat.

Basic Flight Trainer — BT-13
Photo Ctsy. Chuck Stone

I drew out the route on a sectional chart and it was from Bush Field to Louisville, Memphis and back. It was very satisfying to accomplish this x-country, it being my first. That was visual. We had to make up a flight plan with the current winds aloft and read the map. Man, I was busy and sweating every minute. I don't know if the instructor had a map or not as he had been over the route so many times he could call the horses and cows by their first name. Also it was my responsibility to make the radio position reports and estimate the ETA to the next check point. My E6B computer was spinning like a whirligig and overheating from use. I found that the aeronautical maps were much different than road maps, real fast.

I completed the X-countries in good order and went on to the next step, which was formation flying and aerobatics, along with many additional flights under the hood. IFR cross country's were really different and in those days you had to fly the beam. “A” and “N”. “Dit Dah” and ”Dah Dit”. Man, it was different from watching all the check points visually. I had to make the position reports and ETA.s for the next check point, as well as flying the aircraft under the hood.

All went well and, at a Saturday Parade Formation, we were given the thrill of having one of our top-ranking officers, a Major who had flown combat in Europe, fly overhead in a P-47 and buzzed the hell out of the formation of 2 classes, upper and lower classmen. WE were at attention and did not dare to move our heads to watch. If we were caught moving our head to look, it would have meant being gigged and walking tours on the weekend. My eyeballs were sure getting extra movement. I was awed.


On one Saturday morning at formation, there was a low overcast. We all could hear the roar of many aircraft overhead. It was a large formation of B-24s about one hundred was the guess. After about 10 minutes there was a terrific crashing sound overhead, and a loud explosion. Two B-24s had collided in midair and came tumbling down through the overcast and crashed about a mile away from Bush Field. It was not a pleasant site to watch and I'm sure every cadet was praying.


Drawing Ctsy. Gil Walker

At noon on Saturdays we would be released until 8 pm Sunday evening. That was sure a change from Primary as we had to be in by 5 p.m. on Sunday evening. I remained on Base most of the time and utilized the class rooms and Link Trainer. Solo cross country was in order and the first one I flight planned was from Augusta to Savannah, Ga. Jacksonville and return. Now more formation and instrument's under the hood plus aerobatics and night flying. I was so thrilled to learn to do all these things. I thanked the Good Lord every evening for my good fortune.

Still more Link and ground school along with the new class. It was much easier the second time around. 91 hours total in basic in the BT-13. Much more than the allocated time of 65 hours. Thanks again to a very kind and understanding Commandant. I believe that the time I spent recouping from the broken finger, by studying and going to link trainer, instead of just goofing off was the "Ace in the Hole for me". If their was a flight canceled for some reason, I would be called to fill in. I Did So, with pleasure.

Graduating from Basic without a single Gig was a real plus also. Almost every Saturday at formation and parade the P-47 would appear overhead and we were allowed to stop and watch at parade rest. What an inspiration that was to watch.

End Chapter 9 — Go to Chapter 10

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