A Bit of History
Craig's father was a RCAF pilot during WWII, flying bombing raids over Germany. But before he was shipped overseas, while stationed in Moncton, N.B., he taught pilots from the British Commonwealth nations to fly an advanced trainer, This trainer was a complex aircraft compared to a basic trainer, having more weight, speed, and a heavier engine. It could be flown on instruments and could perform aerobatics because it had power. Training on this aircraft was the stepping stone for pilots before moving on to flying fighters and bombers.
Last week while we were in the Columbia Gorge we visited the Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum in Hood River. This facility is rich with beautifully maintained and displayed vehicles, as well as housing other, more mundane antiques like radios, clothing, etc. They happened to have the aircraft that then-Wing Commander Ledoux was flying. In the U.S. it was called an AT 6 Texan but in Canada it was painted a bright yellow and called a Harvard. Here are a couple of shots of an AT6 Texan/Harvard.
Craig, my husband, has flown since about the age of 17 (60 years!) He's been a licensed flight instructor in the U.S. for most of that time. He learned to fly instruments in a Link trainer. And, guess what? they had one of those too.
The trainee sat in the cockpit while the instructor sat at the desk and created scenarios to challenge the student. Here's a good look at the desk.
These particular displays were of personal interest to me. As in, I am surprised -- looking at these primitive but gracious grande dame -- that Craig's father lived to fight another day. And I am also convinced that Craig must have REALLY wanted to fly.