prev next

May 19. 1942

Dear Folks,

It’s been nice to get news about the Richards Estate in wartime—new plantings, gardens, etc. The paper birch shouldn’t have any trouble, but I wonder about the beech, a tolerant species in nature seldom growing up except in fairly dense shade—just the opposite of the birch.

The story about the fox-hunting “rebel” soldier was a delight as was the description of the whole party.

I’m glad Kemp and Whit dropped in and how delightfully unconventional to arrive at 7:30 and with two strangers! Ackerman was a graduate assistant when I was majoring in geography and was always pleasant if rather reserved. The other two are unique though, aren’t they? I should have been sorry if I hadn’t got the chance to drop in on them last Fall.

Things have been progressing after a fashion but there’s still a sour note in the air—consistent failure, three times now, to pass the final navigation course. Next Sunday I shall try again and then repeat the course if that doesn’t work. The last couple of weeks it hasn’t been given so I’ve just taken reexams, each harder than the last and that much further away from when I took the course. The same trouble continues—slowness and difficulty with one part, which wrecks the whole.

I’m now through with Ryans, nice little planes, and hence finished with primary formations and all primary training, which brings one to an intermediate squadron with much bigger planes, around four times as powerful as Ryans, at the main station here. First ride should come tomorrow after an oxygen chamber test, which might have some influence on my future duty. I put down PB’s (VPB) as first choice, catapult planes (VO–VCS) as second, instructor as third, omitting carrier work, the fourth alternative, but I don’t care very much what I get. They’re all good, and each has its advantages and disadvantages.

There were three of us who practiced a few days together, first in V formation then in line (the second plane a little above and behind the first, etc.—echelon). During the check the check pilot rode with one of the other men, enlisted man instead of the usual sandbag riding in my plane and in the remaining one—for flight pay—our first real passengers. The check pilot said we weren’t bad, but that I was a little erratic. When not leading (we changed leaders), one has to vary throttle and has also to skid constantly to keep in position, which is of course hardest in a climbing or gliding turn. On a bumpy day it’s tricky.

May 20

Went up to 16,500′ in an O2 chamber without O2 and to 35,000′ with no ill effects. No hop in SN–J yet.

Mich. “affair” definitely over. May seems to be my best month for birds!

prev  index  next