How many practice landings did glider pilots get on what types in each air force?

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Sid Guttridge
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How many practice landings did glider pilots get on what types in each air force?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 04 Jul 2021 12:38

How many practice landings did glider pilots get on what types in each air force? It is not as if they could do repeated "circuits and bumps" like powered aircraft.

I also ask because the damage risk and wastage to gliders was presumably higher than for powered aircraft.

And was "glider pilot" a career in itself, or could it be part of a progression onto powered aircraft? Or were glider pilots men who didn't make the cut for powered flight training?

Presumably German glider pilots were all Luftwaffe men, but in the UK it seems they were part of the army. Did this result in significantly different training and skills? It presumably affected their possible career paths.

Many thanks,

Sid.

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Waleed Y. Majeed
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Re: How many practice landings did glider pilots get on what types in each air force?

Post by Waleed Y. Majeed » 04 Jul 2021 14:23

Not sure if interested in the US training, but here goes
https://www.pointvista.com/WW2GliderPil ... aining.htm

Waleed

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Sheldrake
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Re: How many practice landings did glider pilots get on what types in each air force?

Post by Sheldrake » 04 Jul 2021 18:31

Wikipedia can be your friend....
Volunteers were sought from the Army and had to be passed by RAF selection procedures before entering training. Once qualified as light aircraft pilots after a 12-week course, they were given further training on gliders: another 12-week course to qualify on the General Aircraft Hotspur. After a while they would then go to a Heavy Glider Conversion Unit for a six-week course so they were qualified for the Airspeed Horsa.[glider Pilot Society]

Sid Guttridge
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Re: How many practice landings did glider pilots get on what types in each air force?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 04 Jul 2021 20:35

Hi Waleed,

Thanks. I have been reading about WWII for some 50+ years and I never realised that the Americans produced hundreds of standard light aircraft without engines as glider trainers, nor seen them illustrated in any of my aircraft books. Thanks for introducing me to the TG-5A, TG-6A and TG-8A.

TG-5A based on Aeronca L-3. 250 built.
TG-6A based on Taylorcraft L-2. 250 built.
TG-8A based on Piper L-3. 250 built.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: How many practice landings did glider pilots get on what types in each air force?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 04 Jul 2021 21:21

Hi Sheldrake,

Thanks. It looks as though British and US glider pilots both got light aircraft licences first.

One wonders whether the same was true of the Germans?

Cheers,

Sid.

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Sheldrake
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Re: How many practice landings did glider pilots get on what types in each air force?

Post by Sheldrake » 05 Jul 2021 10:23

The Germans had a large civilian gilder training programme to engage young men in aviation - the Nationalsozialistisches Flieger Korps--NSFK - formed 1932. There were around 4,000 gliding sites in Germany and this organisation trained around had a membership of around 80,000. The high level summary of the German airborn forces refer to the Germans conscripting glider pilots.

Some British glider pilots had far more flying experience. By late 1944 the RAF had lots more pilots than they would need. The British also needed to replace the losses from Market Garden. In his memoir "Mosquito Victory" Jim Currie described, how after completing a tour flying Lancasters in Bomber Command he became bored and frustrated as an instructor. He and others were invited to transfer to Transport Command with the promise of flying glider tugs. To his horror he discovered he was to be employed as a Glider Pilot Regiment officer and trained in infantyr work in khaki for the Rhine Crossings. The logic explained to Currie was that lots of glider pilots had been originally trained as prospective bomber or fighter pilots and it would be good for their morale to see their platoon and company commanders were expereinced RAF pilots with DFCs. Currie's fortune was a last minute postign to met recce.

Sid Guttridge
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Re: How many practice landings did glider pilots get on what types in each air force?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 05 Jul 2021 13:39

Hi Sheldrake,

I rather suspected that the nationwide glider training in Germany in the 1930s might have given rise to direct entry into the Luftwaffe's glider units without powered aircraft training, but it would be interesting to confirm whether this was the norm.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Empiricist
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Re: How many practice landings did glider pilots get on what types in each air force?

Post by Empiricist » 18 Aug 2021 12:07

Sid Guttridge wrote:
04 Jul 2021 12:38
How many practice landings did glider pilots get on what types in each air force?
When it comes to the USAAF -- the number of daylight training off-field landings was good enough. Big problem was with the pre-D-Day preparations however, night landings and US-operated Horsa Mk Is. Part of their pilots was undertrained when they took-off to invasion. There is a very interesting article in the Flight Journal, February 2005 issue, where USAAF glider pilot Tip Randolph is quoted. We may read among others: "Randolph continued to be a flying-hours hound, and he racked up almost 60 hours in the Horsa before he flew into combat. He remembers that some guys had only four or five hours of training in the Horsa before they faced gunfire."

And my comment -- the US Air Regulations (militarized for WWII) had their Paragraph 20.64 Night Flying: "No person shall take off or land an aircraft carrying passengers during the period between 1 hour after sunset and 1 hour before sunrise, unless he has made at least 5 take-offs and landings during such period within the 90 days immediately preceding such take off or landing." Those regulations were also for the War Training Service, i.e. they were also for American military glider pilots -- theoretically because war realities were as they were. The USAAF broke up to 7 Paragraphs of the US Air Regulations in order to be able to perform gliderborne operations during WWII.

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Empiricist
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Re: How many practice landings did glider pilots get on what types in each air force?

Post by Empiricist » 19 Sep 2021 19:52

Sheldrake wrote:
05 Jul 2021 10:23
The Germans had a large civilian gilder training programme to engage young men in aviation - the Nationalsozialistisches Flieger Korps--NSFK - formed 1932. There were around 4,000 gliding sites in Germany and this organisation trained around had a membership of around 80,000. The high level summary of the German airborn forces refer to the Germans conscripting glider pilots.
The commies were similar. In 1934 the Soviet Union had 10 big Gliding/Soaring Schools and approx. 230 smaller centers of glider pilots training. All of them -- because it was totalitarian system -- were paramilitary the same as in 3rd Reich. Only in 1934 the Soviets had approx. 60,000 glider pilots.
Sheldrake wrote:
05 Jul 2021 10:23
To his horror he discovered he was to be employed as a Glider Pilot Regiment officer and trained in infantyr work in khaki for the Rhine Crossings.
Good old Allied trick! :-) In the USAAF it worked the same. Many hundreds of the USAAF power pilots were forced by military authorities to pilot the CG-4As for Operation Varsity. One quotation only from Maj. James M. McCloskey's memoirs -- "On September 8th, 1944, I graduated from Army Air Corps Fighter Pilot training at Williams Army Air Base, Arizona. With my silver wings and blue Flight Officer bars I was eager to go on to the Pacific and fight the war in the air. You can imagine my feelings, when less than a month and half later, I was standing on the flight line at Maxton Army Air Base, North Carolina, looking over a sea of transport planes and combat gliders. As one of three hundred new pilots selected for glider training I had arrived under secret orders and didn't know what was in store for me until we were briefed in the Base Theater after our arrival."

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