CLENT BREEDLOVE
CIVILIAN PILOT TRAINING PROGRAM
PRE-FLIGHTS PROGRAM
1939-1945

Plainview PGS Article 14


Breedlove given 36 hours to open Plainview Pre-Glider School at Finney Field

By John W. McCullough, Graduate Student History, Texas Tech University

This is the 14th article in a series about Clent Breedlove’s Plainview Pre-Glider School at Finney Field.

From her 1957 interview to Sylvan Dunn of Southwest Collections / Special Collections Library at Texas Tech University, Mrs. Aulyne Breedlove told about how the Army Air Forces gave her husband, Clent, thirty-six hours’ notice to begin training pilots in a pre-glider program.

Before training pre-glider pilots, Clent and Aulyne Breedlove had opened Commercial Airport, commonly known as Breedlove Airport, as their own private airport primarily for training pilots in the Civilian Pilot Training (CPT) program.  Breedlove Airport opened on December 20, 1941 on east 50th Street just west of the old Slaton Highway in Lubbock, Texas.

According to Aulyne, Clent never really operated off of Breedlove Airport for very long.  Shortly after it opened, he was immediately assigned to run the pre-glider course in Plainview, which was strictly an Army Air Forces program.  He was in Lubbock at Breedlove Airport only about thirty minutes per week and not very often did he stay longer.

“They called him up from Fort Worth and told him that they were giving him this [glider] program in Plainview.  They only gave him thirty-six hours to prepare for training operations there.”

They told him that he would have to fly to Washington, D.C. in twelve hours and Clent said that he could not possibly arrive there by then in a commercial airliner; but the Army told him that he would be given priority and in fact, they had a ticket waiting for him, said Aulyne.

While in Washington, D. C., he obtained all the requirements for the pre-glider work.  Clent then called back home to Breedlove Airport in Lubbock.  Aulyne’s assistant at Breedlove Airport was Gene Fowler.  He was a business manager and bookkeeper, she stated.

Clent told Fowler what he wanted in the way of an airfield for pre-glider training and where he could find it.  That area was Plainview and Clent only gave Fowler one day to acquire the use of Finney Field.

So Fowler took the necessary men with him to Plainview to secure all that was needed at Finney Field.  Later that evening, Fowler called Clent back in Washington, D.C. to say that he had everything that Clent had requested him to have.

Clent flew back from Washington, D. C. in a terrible storm.  The crew would not allow any of the passengers to open the drapes on the windows and Clent was just petrified.  He was never so glad to put a foot on the ground again.  He said that he felt like a lot of people that he had taken up.  The next day after he arrived home in Lubbock and he went directly to Plainview.

Clent Breedlove was in operation at Plainview in the required thirty-six hours.  The Army Air Forces began to land planes there based upon the location he gave them to use, Finney Field.  Gene Fowler had leased the land to start operations that very day.

More about the early days of the Plainview Pre-Glider School at Finney Field will be the subject of the next article.

Readers are reminded of the National WWII Glider Pilots reunion in Kansas City, Missouri September 12-14.  More information can be found online at www.ww2gp.org.

Anyone with information about the Plainview Pre-Glider School at Finney Field should contact John McCullough at (806)793-4448 or email johnmc@breedlove-cptp.org.





                       
Clent Breedlove                           Aulyne Breedlove

Photos courtesy TTU Southwest Collections.