Earning their wings : British pilot training, 1912-1918
Morley, Robert Michael
This thesis outlines the development of Royal Flying Corps’s (RFC) training programme from 1912 to 1918. It is based largely on archival sources from the National Archives and Imperial War Museum (London) and the Bundesarchiv (Freiburg, Germany). It considers the changes to the theoretical, practical and in-flight instruction methods used by the Royal Flying Corps. Within this discussion it analyzes the difficulties encountered by the RFC while attempting to train their aviators. It argues that initially the training programme was a detriment to British war effort in the air, as many pilots entered combat without sufficient training. This, however, was not the result of a flawed training regimen. Actually, the RFC training programme remained in tune with the realities of the war over the Western Front. The problems encountered by the RFC were largely the result of the circumvention or ignorance of the training programme by instructors. Nevertheless, British pilot training improved as the war went on both theoretically and practically and ultimately became more efficient than the training programmes in France and Germany. It pays special attention to the use of dual-control aircraft for the purposes of training and the positive effects these changes had on the British war effort. It also touches on some thematic issues such as gender, individuality, modernity and technology.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
CommitteeKent, Christopher A.; Cunfer, Geoff; Calder, Robert L.; Meyers, Mark
Copyright DateDecember 2006
Royal Flying Corps
First World War