A Visit with Al Castleman, page 8 - Photos #2

PHOTOS from V. P. "Pat" CHEEK,
R A F 1943 - 1947
During his stay at
No. 1 British Flying Training School

Terrell, TX, USA

We are happy that Mr. V. P. "Pat" Cheek has given us permission to share his wonderful old photos from his stay in Terrell, TX during his flight training days in 1945.
E-mail from Pat Cheek

From: [email protected]
To: [email protected]
Sent: Thu, 26 Aug 2004M
Subject: 1 BFTS
Hi Al,
I have only just discovered this website.
I was in the last contingent of RAF u/t pilots at Terrel in 1945. My instructors there were Mr Broadrick, Mr Lewis, Mr Curtis, Mr Raines.. All on the PT13d. On the AT6A, Mr Curtis and Mr Eschenbrenner. I also remember Mrs Furr on the link trainer. My last flight there was logged as Solo. Aerobatics. 15mins. 7th Sept 1945.
I went back to England and completed my training after much delay in 1947. I was sent to a fighter squadron equipped with Vampire jets and two weeks later declared 'redundant aircrew'. You can imagine how I felt. I had done all the ground work, blindfold cockpit check etc for the Vampire but didn't quite get to take off in it.How frustrated can you get!!!
I have never flown a plane since until a friend bought me a 15mins flight at Biggin Hill for my 70th birthday. I was offered a sightseeing flight by the instructor who took me. I said no thanks but I would just love to see if I have retained anything form 50 years ago. Much to my surprise he said 'OK taxi out'. This was a tricycle undercarriage plane and very light, after I discovered how to steer it I went to the runway and stopped. He said 'Taxi on' and then 'Right, take off'! After asking the takeoff and stalling speed I did. The little plane fairly leapt into the air.
To cut the story short, Although I was rusty, I managed to do 4 takeoffs and landings without more help than a few words from him and no big bounces or damage. I still had the feel for it!
On my first approach I forgot it was a tricycle and started to do a 3 point landing. Just as I was easing back on the stick I remembered and shoved it forward to make a reasonable touchdown.
Amazing how learned skills are retained without use for decades. I am at 78, now a retired university lecturer (in psychology of learning) enjoying life a great deal - almost as much as when I was flying!.
I have some Terrell pictures if you are interested.
Best wishes,
( 3001257 V.P.Cheek, R A F 1943 - 1947)
Camp Kilmer - On the way to Texas
Camp Kilmer on the way to Texas
Terrell Airbase
The airbase tower
High Street in Terrell on a quiet Sunday
Cadet V. P. Cheek
Form1 - Cadet S. Berry
Cadet - Alan Cameron
Flying in the clouds
Self photo of V. P. Cheek in AT6A
Flying over Kaufman, TX
RAF church parade in Terrell, TX
Hitching a ride to Dallas
Another way to get around in Terrell, TX
V J Day in Terrell
V J Day in Terrell, TX
RAF graves in Terrell, TX cemetery
1945 - headed home
Homebound from Terrell, TX
The train home

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