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

Plainview PGS Article 22


Breedlove’s Finney Field glider school compared to other contract schools

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

This is the 22nd article about Clent Breedlove’s Plainview Pre-Glider School at Finney Field.

In the last article, Joe Morris of Canyon, Texas, provided many details about the Piper L-4A which he purchased in 2006 from a man who lived outside of Denver, Colorado.

Don Port, of Golden, Colorado, purchased the aircraft frame 2004 and sold it a few months later.

Port wrote the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum to obtain information about the Piper L-4A.  They replied to Port’s request in a letter dated June 23, 2004.

Morris obtained a copy of that letter during his purchase of the aircraft.  Morris never met Port but he believes that after Port sold the aircraft frame, possibly two other men owned it before Morris purchased it.

In the letter addressed to Port, the Smithsonian made reference to the term ‘JOLLY’ used in one of their records about the USAAF contract glider training sites:

“We do not understand the term ‘JOLLY’ in the second column.  This space was usually reserved for the station.  We can only conclude that ‘JOLLY’ was a code name for the extensive glider training program being undertaken at most of the locations where this aircraft was stationed.”

Charles Day, National Secretary of the National WWII Glider Pilots Association, Inc., provided a government document which explained the term ‘JOLLY’.

JOLLY was short for Jolly Flying Service which was located at Grand Forks, North Dakota.

Below is a list of all the USAAF contract glider schools which were supposed to be in operation by July 6, 1942.  These eighteen schools were in addition to nine other contract glider schools already in operation.  Each school’s capacity of student glider pilots is listed, as well.

The first seven schools were under the jurisdiction of the Commanding General, Southeast Air Forces Training Center:

USAAF glider school                                                                          Capacity

Jolly Flying Service, Grand Forks, North Dakota                                   212

L. Miller-Wittig, Crookston, Minnesota                                                  80

Fontana School of Aeronautics, Rochester, Minnesota                       112

Hinck Flying Service, Inc., Monticello, Minnesota                                 112

North Aviation Company, Stillwater, Minnesota                                 112

Morey Airplane Company, Janesville, Wisconsin                                 140

 

The next seven schools were listed under the jurisdiction of the Commanding General, Gulf Coast Air Forces Training Center:

USAAF glider school                                                                          Capacity

McFarland Flying Service, Pittsburgh, Kansas                                      120

Ong Aircraft Corporation, Goodland, Kansas                                      240

Hunter Flying Service, Hays, Kansas                                                     160

Sooner Air Training Corporation, Okmulgee, Oklahoma                    160

Harte Flying Service, Hays, Kansas                                                        160

Anderson and Brennan Flying Service, Aberdeen, S.D.                       160

Kenneth Starnes Flying Service, Loanoke, Arkansas                              80

 

The last four schools listed under the jurisdiction of the Commanding General, West Coast Air Forces Training Center:

USAAF glider school                                                                          Capacity

Plains Airways, Fort Morgan, Colorado                                                184

Cutter-Carr Flying Service, Clovis, New Mexico                                   184

Big Spring Flying Service, Big Spring, Texas                                            80

Clent Breedlove Aerial Service, Plainview, Texas                                152

 

The government document from Day stated that nine other contact glider schools were in operation prior to the opening of the eighteen schools listed above; however, only eight were listed.

In a recent interview, Day said that the other unlisted glider school was mostly likely South Plains Army Air Field (SPAAF) in Lubbock.

Below is a list of those eight schools.  No student capacity for these training sites was given in the document.  The schools are listed in the order in which they were opened.

Twenty-nine Palms, California – West Coast Training Center

Elmira Area Soaring Corporation, Mobile, Alabama – Southeast Training Center

Two more schools were open by the first of June, 1942:

John H. Wilson Glider School, Lamesa, Texas – Gulf Coast Training Center

Arizona Gliding Academy, Wickenburg, Arizona – West Coast Training Center

Five more schools, which were listed as Air Force Elementary-Advanced Schools, were ready for use by July 6, 1942.

Two of the schools were under the command of the Gulf Coast Training Center:  one school was at Amarillo, Texas while the other was at Waco, Texas.

The third school was at Lockbourne, Ohio, under the command of the Southeast Training Center.

And the last school listed was at Fort Sumner, New Mexico, under the West Coast Training Center.

Charles Day talked about the eighteen glider contract schools which included the one operated by Clent Breedlove at Finney Field.

“These schools were to be in operation by June 1, 1942, but that does not mean they actually were in operation that date.  At this time, the Army had only soaring gliders; these were mainly impressed gliders from civilians of which there were somewhere less than 72 or so”, said Day.

“There were only the two XCG-4 gliders delivered to Wright Field, the second of which was being flight tested at Clinton County Army Air Field, Wilmington, Ohio, from the middle of May to middle of June.”

“That glider, the second XCG-4 with a dorsal fin, was not approved for production until around June 22, 1942”, stated Day.

More about this history of Morris’s Piper L-4A aircraft which was used in glider pilot training at Finney Field in early 1943 will be discussed in the next article.

Readers are asked to visit the Breedlove CPTP research website at www.breedlove-cptp.org for more details about the pre-glider program Finney Field.

The National WWII Glider Pilots Association will be holding their 44th annual reunion in Bloomington, Minnesota, on October 2-4, 2014.  Anyone can attend but you must register in advance.  More details can be found on the Glider Pilot Association’s website at http://www.ww2gp.org/index.php.

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.



    
        

Mr. Charles Day, Executive Secretary of the National WWII Glider Pilots Association at a reunion held in Lubbock, Texas in October, 2010.  Photo courtesy John McCullough.