Letter 4: November 25, 1940
Well I’m still safe & sound after three fairly prolonged flights. They’re swell fun in every way except that you have to work like sin while you’re up there and I don’t mean maybe.
Our first two flights were for pin pointing only – pick out your exact positions on the map and enter it in your log with the exact time at which you passed there. It keeps you busy especially as the country looks vastly different from the air. You travel so fast that unless you watch your map and country all the time you may be miles out if the pilot asks you where you are.
This morning we had to take off at 0845 and then find wind direction and wind velocity. The pilot flew four different courses for fifteen minutes each; during each of these we had to figure the Ground Speed and wind. At the end of the fourth course I had to hand him a course for Regina also the time we would arrive. I missed the airport by about one mile, but the time was right to the second. Next I had to set a course for Moose Jaw and also time of arrival there, this time we hit Moose Jaw dead centre and my time was only out 30 seconds. We were supposed to fly two other courses but the pilot told me to give him a course for Regina because the ceiling was coming down and we were beginning to get iced up a bit. This one was O.K. too and my E.T.A. right to the minute – the course was about 2 degrees off but I was still pretty proud of it.
Next navigation flight I’ll be second navigator and not have to work quite so hard. John McCaul, my partner (also bunkmate) will be 1st navigator next time and have to do the course setting.
We use Avro Anson Bombers on active service they carry a crew of 4 and are used for reconnaissance bombing. They’re reasonably fast, steady as racks and very highly manoeuvrable – but noisy as the devil. Our pilots are all experts and are really marvelous pilots. They’ve flown all over the world and they certainly do know their stuff and how to handle those ships.
So far we have logged about six hours in the air on three trips, covering around three hundred miles each trip. As time goes on we do trips of four and five hundred miles and aren’t supposed to be more than four miles off the mark at the end of the trip also our E.T.A. must be within a minute of the actual time.
E.T.A. → Estimated Time of Arrival
Oddly enough the same mail that brought your last letter brought one from Aunt Helen asking me to coax you to come West for Christmas. If I got long enough off I would like to come home but the only way would be by air and it costs a pretty penny – about $95 to be exact. However there’s no telling how long we’ll get so we’ll just have to wait and see.
Thank you ever so much for the ‘air mail’ stamps they are decidedly welcome as they only gave us part of our pay when pay-day came, because our pay-sheets hadn’t arrived yet. Pay-day comes this Friday though, and we should get a good pay each.
They certainly do believe in industry here. They keep us so busy we have little time to get into mischief of any kind. I’ve been in Regina just twice in over two weeks. This week we’re C.B. all week as we’re on duty watch.
We fly again Thursday afternoon – weather permitting. I hope its not too tough a job this time. John will have more to worry about than I will though as he’s 1st navigator. They washed out flying this afternoon because of icing. In order to fly safely they would have had to go above the overcast and that would have been no good at all. We had to be able to see the ground and you can’t do that at 10,000’ with a solid overcast of clouds between you and the ground.
They sent my Sun Life policies out here so I’ll forward them to you as soon as I can locate an envelope to put them in.
All for to-night. Give my love to all & tell Barb I’ll give her a French prize when I see her – in the pants.
Heaps of love,
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