Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Sunday, 3 April, 1955

Dear Folks

I’ll start out by answering dad’s questions--#1. I’ll be at Saufley for eight or nine weeks, then I go to Barin for eight or nine more, then back to Mainside for five or six. #2. I think I’ll be given a certain length of time to get there, so I’ll be able to drive. #3. All the other guys at Saufley have cars—at least 9/10 of them do—the other 1/10 either don’t go anywhere or have to rely on someone else with a car. #7 Ask someone there if I have to have my lisence renewed at all—in some states, members of the Armed Forces needn’t renew their lisences till they get out.

Absolutely nothing new or exciting has happened since I last wrote. Friday was lousy weather, but I went up on three "D-Stage" (Instrument) hops with my instructor. As I’ve probably told you, our training here is divided into four stages: A (Primary), B (Precision), C (Acrobatics) & D (Instruments). I’m now in B stage. Instruments can be given anytime in B or C stage. During these hops you sit in the rear cockpit, pull a white canopy over your head, & fly the plane just by looking at the instrument panel. It was a lot of fun, but hard work. When you’re in a plane & can’t see the ground or anything with which to orientate yourself, you suffer from an ailment (if it can be called that) called vertigo. It has something to do with the sense of balance, which is located in your ears, & tends to make you think you’re doing things you’re not. I was sure I was going in circles; sometimes you think you’re climbing, or gliding, or turning one way or another. Because you think you’re turning (although the instruments say you aren’t) you try to stop the turning, & instead of flying straight, you wander all over the skys. It’s real weird. What they’re trying to teach us, though, is to believe your instruments—too many guys have been caught in clouds or at night & crashed because they thought they were climbing & pushed their nose over to get back to level flight.

Guess I’ll go downtown this afternoon & see a show or two (or three). Haven’t been off base all weekend. They should be filling the swimming pool soon—this is both good & bad. Good because I can go swimming whenever I want, & bad because I’ll have to go once when I don’t want to.
It is a custom around here, as I’ve probably told you, to take people who have just soloed & throw them into the pool (fully clothed). Well, they drained the pool just before I soloed, & though I’ve had my tie cut, I haven’t been thrown in. But they have memories like elephants around here, & I’ll no doubt go in the first day.

Have you gotten my solo picture yet? Or was it in the paper? By the way, the paper expires April 8.

Well, I’d best close now & get dressed. Till next time, I am

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