Thursday, March 11, 2010

Off to Chattanooga, TN. and Decatur, AL. for more training.

(Continuation of Captain Estes's Memoirs)

"And then we were sent to what they call College Training
Detachment. They sent us up to -- we went to the University
of Chattanooga in Chattanooga, Tennessee. And we lived
together in a big ol' gymnasium, and I met a bunch of people,
I can't remember any of 'em now. But I don't know how it
happened, but John Taylor had gotten separated from me,
and I don't know where he went. But in any case, we stayed
in College Training Detachment for about three months, and
they taught us a little meteorology, and they took us up to the
airport, and let us fly around a little bit in a Piper Cub. They
didn't really teach us to fly; we were flying with an instructor,
and he was telling us something about how to fly, but we
were getting used to the idea of flying.

And then they sent us to our primary training. That happened
to be in Decatur, Alabama, and I was given a fine instructor.
And he taught me how to fly a PT-17. You're used to seeing
them fly around Yazoo City. They dust with these planes, and
it was a fine airplane; it would do all kinds of acrobatics as
long as you knew how to do them, it was willing. So I learned
how to slow roll, snap roll, barrel roll, loop; do all kinds of
acrobatics that was part of my training.

And of course finally I was given the opportunity to solo and
that was quite an experience to have the instructor pull up,
jump out of the airplane and say, 'All right Estes, take it off,
it's yours.' Well, it's a scary experience when you know you
can do it, but you never have done it before; and so now you
got to show what you have been taught. And so I took the
plane off, flew it around the field a few times and came back
and landed, and he patted me on the back and he said, 'Well,
from now on out you're going to be flying this plane by
yourself quite a bit so get used to it.' And I would be given
assignments of go up and do this, that and the other. And
when I had finished my exercises to come back and land and
get out and go back to my quarters and rest and go to chow,
and eat and go to ground school and be taught meteorology
and things of that nature; things that I would later have to
know more about."

(To be continued.)

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