Dive Bombers and Other Birds

Tudor Richards, USNR

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Night flying night flying was always dreaded by the students and though there was nothing to worry about flying by oneself on a good night, it was pretty dangerous when there were a lot of planes in the air. Murky weather was bad too, having to fly on instruments half the time with a lot of other planes around being rather unsatisfactory to say the least. Aside from practicing landings (instructors watching) and formation tactics, the only exercise practiced was glide bombing a target consisting of a circle of planes. We also did a lot of glide bombing by daylight and what was almost the most fun of all, low level bombing, which started at several thousand feet to pick up speed but wound up at minimum altitude just above the tree tops.

Each student was supposed to drop at least one live bomb, and for this we used 500 pounders and dropped them on a “slick” well out to sea.

Besides going to ground school, which assistant instructors were also expected to attend more or less regularly, the students were each assigned individual jobs, such as navigation officer, flight officer, gunnery officer, etc., though these jobs didn’t amount to much. The ground school on the other hand was a regular part of the training program and consisted of the same old communications drill and navigation problems, but also miscellaneous movies, geography lectures, etc.

While at Daytona I had my first ferry
ferry flights, which were wonderful breaks to the usual routine. For the first, five or six of us instructors were flown in a Lockheed Lodestar up to Quonset R.I., to fly some SBDs back to Daytona. I was lucky enough to have time to take a train home short
one night and walk in unannounced and have a date with an attractive WAVE (K. Putnam) the next. On the way south we flew non-stop to Washington the first day, and the next day, after stops at an army field in North Carolina and a navy one in Georgia, went all the way through to Daytona, arriving just as it got dark. The weather was good, though cold up north (it was November), and the views of the countryside from above very interesting. High oil temperature most of the second day gave me some uncomfortable moments, but never developed into serious trouble.

The second flight was even solo
better. It was a solo trip to Glenview, Illinois, and the feeling of having the sky completely to oneself for a comparatively long period was more than satisfactory. The first night was spent in Atlanta, and just for fun I made it straight through from there the next day—a matter of about 700 miles via the air ways in about four and a half hours. Though I didn’t go over the Great Smokies proper, I flew over pretty rugged country in Tennessee and Kentucky, for the first time. A regular airliner brought me back after a short spree in Chicago.

Days off days off at Daytona were always looked forward to and keenly. My instinct usually seemed to be get away from it all, not so much by just going to the nearest spot on the beach and sunning oneself all day long, nice at it was when the weather was warm enough, but to explore the country looking especially for new birds and new shells. combined
bicycle &
train trips
As when at Lee Field my principal mode of conveyance was my trusty bicycle, local trips were all right at times, though the feeling of not getting anywhere was occasionally dampening, and to avoid this I made several combined train and bicycle trips to places that had looked interesting on the map.