Plainview PGS Article 47

Allen Trained in Powered Aircraft and Gliders at Dalhart AAF

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

This is the 47th article about Clent Breedlove’s Plainview Pre-Glider School at Finney Field.

David A. Allen, Jr. was born in December 1920 in Poynor, Texas southwest of Tyler.  He is 95 years old today.  On October 17, 2015, from his home in Schertz, Tex., near San Antonio, he gave an interview about his time training as a glider pilot in WWII.

After training in Breedlove’s pre-glider school at Finney Field north of Plainview, Tex., David Allen travelled to Wickenburg, Ariz., for basic glider training.  After that he headed to Albuquerque, New Mex.

He stayed briefly in a holding place for glider pilots in Albuquerque in September, 1942 before leaving for Dalhart Army Air Field in late October of that year.

The first entry in Allen’s pilot’s log book for Dalhart is dated November 5, 1942.  On that date he noted that he flew an Aeronca L-3A.  He listed this flight as From:  Local – To:  Local, meaning that he took off from Dalhart AAF and landed there, too.  A similar entry was made for November 6.

He had four flights in a Taylorcraft L-2A rated at 65 horsepower starting on November 13 and ending on November 28 with the other two flights being on November 17 and 23.

By this time, he had amassed a total of 96 hours and 35 minutes total flying time from all of his training air fields.

Then on November 29, he switched to the Piper Cub Cruiser for training before returning to an Aeronca L-3A the next day.

Allen again trained in a Taylorcraft L-2A rated at 65 horsepower from December 1 through December 4.

He continued training in the same type aircraft on December 12 and 15 and again on December 18 and 19.

His last entry in his pilot’s log book for 1942 at Dalhart AAF was on December 23.  He flew in an L-4A Piper Cub that day.

His total training time at all air fields in 1942 was listed as 112 hours and 20 minutes.

In the comments section of his pilot’s log book during this time, he listed himself mostly as “Student” but sometimes he marked himself down as “Instructor”, thus indicating that he spent some of this time training some less experienced pilots.

Allen stayed in Dalhart for Christmas of 1942 but did not do anything special over the holiday.  He said that he did not have a girlfriend while in Dalhart.

Allen resumed powered pilot training at Dalhart on January 12, 1943 in a Taylorcraft L-2A.  He did this through January 14.  He skipped a week and then had one last entry for powered flight training in his log book at Dalhart on January 21, 1943.

Not including his time training at Dalhart in a WACO CG-4A glider, which was not recorded in his pilot’s log book, Allen accrued a total of 117 hours and 5 minutes of flying time by January 21, 1943.

His total flying time at Dalhart AAF in powered aircraft was 27 hours and 5 minutes.

He explained that even though Dalhart AAF was an advanced glider training site where glider pilots like him trained in WACO CG-4A assault gliders, they also trained in a variety of single-engine powered planes.

Allen’s glider pilot training record was kept on another form called an INDIVIDUAL FLIGHT RECORD (Heavier Than Air) which was the same size as an ordinary 8.5” by 11” business letter.

His first entry on this record at Dalhart was on January 25, 1943.

He trained in the WACO CG-4A glider for 2 hours and 30 minutes total that day on local flights.

His flew 45 minutes as the student pilot with one landing.  He also spent 1 hour and 45 minutes as a passenger in the glider while other students took their turn flying it.  On that day, the glider made three landings, thus indicating that there were probably three student pilots in the glider along with one instructor.

On January 26, he logged 1 hour and 15 minutes in the WACO glider both as student and passenger with two landings listed.

On January 28, 29, and 31, he logged another 6 hours and 40 minutes both as a student pilot and passenger in the WACO.  They made a total of 11 landings on these 3 days.

During January, 1943, he also logged 3 hours and 40 minutes of night flying.

His flight record was signed by Captain James S. Edney, Assistant Director of Training at Dalhart AAF.

In February, Allen logged another 6 hours and 40 minutes of training in the WACO CG-4A glider at Dalhart.

On February 1, he had three glider flights involving 10 landings over 3 hours and 45 minutes.

The next day, he trained for 3 hours and 5 minutes both as a student and passenger with 3 landings.

On his last day of glider training, February 3, he flew for 40 minutes with another 3 landings.

His total night training in February was 2 hours and 25 minutes.

His flight record was signed Captain Roscoe A. Betz, Assistant Director of Training.

Allen said that the runways were grass and that smudge pots were used to light up the airfield during nighttime training.  He did not recall any paved or concrete runways at Dalhart.

“I recall flying off the grass; that’s all I recall, sir.  We never flew off any runways”, remembered Allen.

He said that he graduated from Dalhart AAF in Class 43-3 on February 8, 1943 and left there sometime later that month.

His next stop was Ardmore, Okla., which was just a holding place for the glider pilots.  He stayed there for a few weeks before heading on to Louisville, Kentucky, which was just another holding place.  He did not do any pilot training at either location.

“Oh, we had the ‘training’:  crap so to speak.  Forced marches, such as this”, he laughed.  “It was just killing time.”

Alliance, Nebraska was his next stop where he was assigned to the 80th Troop Carrier Squadron, 436th Troop Carrier Group.

More about David Allen’s time piloting aircraft in WWII will be discussed in the next article.

Readers are asked to visit the Breedlove-CPTP website at for more details about the glider program of WWII.

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