They Flew Proud

They Flew Proud

Book - 2007
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Evangel Pub House
“I have a picture of my father, Gardner Birch, in a military uniform, and I can remember visiting the Grove City Airport as a young child in the late 1940s. I knew he had been a flight instructor, but I also knew he had not been in the regular military service. Why then was he in the uniform and what did it have to do with his flying? What happened to the old airport I loved?” The desire to know the answers to these questions began Jane Gardner Birch’s personal quest that led to exploration and writing of They Flew Proud. Part I tells the story of a national Civilian Pilot Training Program through the local course of study at Grove City College and the Grove City Airport. Briefly detailing the CPTP’s founding in pre-WWII, the story is set in Western Pennsylvania, where the college contracted to teach Army Air Force Cadets their academic studies. And at the airport, the fixed base operator and his flight instructors (including Gardner Birch) trained the cadets in the required basics, enough for each to embark on a solo flight. Across the U.S., more than 435,000 men and women were taught to fly under the CPTP. In Grove City, 486 students of the 8th Detachment received almost 5,000 hours of instruction; these cadets then went forward to serve their nation at war before the CPTP was abruptly cancelled. Part II tells how manager/instructor Gardner Birch refocused the airport to teach civilians to fly. He created five Solo Boards to record the 127 students and their solo dates between the summers of 1944-48. Now 60-plus years later, a number of these men and women retell of learning basic flying skills and their solo flights and remember many wonderful and humorous aviation stories. Many reflect on how those time-tested lessons learned in aviation’s early days prepared them for a smoother flight through life and created strong bonds with people with similar passions for aviation and airplanes.

Truman State Univ Pr
They Flew Proud crisply tells the story of the Civilian Pilot Training Program through the Army Air Force Cadets at Grove City College (PA.) and the Grove City Airport where the flight instructors (including Gardner Birch) trained the cadets to solo. Across the U.S., more than 435,000 men and women were taught to fly under the CPTP in pre and post WWII. In Grove City, the 8th Detachment’s 486 students received almost 5,000 hours of instruction, and then went forward to serve their nation in WWII.In Part 2 Gardner Birch, manager/instructor refocused the airport to teach civilians to fly after the CPTP was abruptly cancelled. He created five boards to record the 127 students and their solo dates (’44-’48). Narratives from these men and women retell of learning basic flying skills through many wonderful and humorous aviation stories. Those lessons learned in aviation’s early days prepared them for a smoother flight through life and created friendships and passions for flying and airplanes. Numerous photos and visuals add depth, feeling, and understanding to the expressive text and draw us into the special time when some of the greatest generation learned to fly proud.

Publisher: [United States] : J.G. Birch, c2007 (Nappanee, Ind. : Evangel Press)
ISBN: 9781933858258
1933858257
Characteristics: 190 p. : ill. ; 29 cm

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