Plainview Pre-Glider Sch

The Plainview Pre-Glider School (dead stick school) was run by Clent Breedlove from around August, 1942 until around June, 1943.  Many cadet pilots were trained at that field which was located just north of Plainvew, TX near the Amarillo Highway (now US Interstate 27).  Leighton H. Maggard trained at the Plainview Pre-Glider school from September, 1942 until April, 1943.  Below is a photograph taken at Plainview Pre-Glider school provided to me by Mr. Maggard in August, 2010.  More will be added about the Plainview Pre-Glider School in the up-coming weeks.

Mr. Maggard labeled the photo as this:

Finney Field
Plainview Pre-Glider
L -- L. H. Maggard
R -- Jay McPherson

Piper L-4

Mr. Maggard informed me that Jay McPherson died around June, 2010 in Midland, TX where he resided.

Articles published in the Plainview Daily Herald
Doug McDonough, editor
Kevin Lewis, now with Wayland Baptist University since June, 2012

Published:  Sunday, November 27, 2011

Plainview Pre-Glider School taught cadet pilots basic dead-stick flying skills

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

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

This is the first article in a series of articles about Clent Breedlove’s Plainview Pre-Glider School

I first heard about the Plainview Pre-Glider School in the fall of 2006 while performing research on Clent Breedlove and the Civilian Pilot Training Program (CPTP) in WWII.  Earl Dietering and Harold Humphries, both of Lubbock and both former pilot instructors for Breedlove at Breedlove Airport, told me about a “dead-stick” school that Breedlove ran in Plainview from 1942-43.  The air field was known as Finney Field and was located just north of Plainview on the west side of the Amarillo highway at the Finney switch.  Breedlove also ran Breedlove Airport just southeast of Lubbock on the old Tahoka Highway, Dagley Field at 34th and Quaker Ave in Lubbock, and Lamesa Liaison Pilot School.

The pilot instructors who lived in Lubbock would drive to Plainview every day to train cadet pilots in the rudimentary skills needed for flying gliders.  Other instructor pilots lived in Plainview.  One of the instructor pilots was well-known Hollywood movie star Jackie Coogan.

More recently, I interviewed Plainview residents Leighton H. Maggard and B. Elvin “Moss” Foster.  Both men were able to provide me with additional information about the pre-glider school and some general history of early aviation in the Plainview area.  Maggard provided a photograph of himself and four other pilots at the pre-glider school in 1943.  The photograph shows a Piper L-4 single-engine plane in the background which was used for training.  Maggard is the man on the left.  A friend of his, Jay McPherson, is on the right.

Foster said that a large section of land located northeast of Plainview was the actual place where aircraft would land after cutting the power to their engines, simulating a glider.  When you cut the power to your engine and glided in for a landing, that was called “dead-stick” flying.

Pre-glider schools like Finney Field were located in numerous places around the United States during the war.  Their function was to teach potential glider pilots the rudimentary skills needed to become advanced glider pilots who would earn their “G-wings” at a much larger field like South Plains Army Air Field (SPAAF) in Lubbock.  Silent Wings Museum, the National WWII Glider Pilot’s Museum, is located just north of Lubbock on I-27 at Exit 9, where SPAAF was once located.  Their website is:

Around August, 1943, the Plainview Pre-Glider School was closed.  The US Army Air Forces (USAAF) informed Breedlove that they needed him to begin training liaison pilots instead.  The decision was made to move the Breedlove instructor pilots from Plainview to Lamesa where more advanced facilities were already in place at Lamesa Army Air Field.

Many more articles about the Plainview Pre-Glider School will be written in the upcoming months as more research is conducted.  If you have information about the Plainview Pre-Glider School, please contact me at 806-793-4448 or email  Please visit my website: