How United States Military Technology and Training has Saved Lives
Great aviation training is a must. It is best summarized with this aviation quote, “Truly superior pilots are those who use their superior judgment to avoid those situations where they might have to use their superior skills.” Training pilots during World War I, World II and the modern wars has advanced thru the years and we have gained a vast amount of knowledge on how and the importance of saving a pilot’s life, as well as the expensive equipment that he/she flies. Through the use of technology advancements, improved pilot skill, and learning from mistakes the United States has reduced pilot deaths by improving the training programs. We have come a long ways from the attitude of, “They all have a stick and a throttle, so just go fly.” In the 21st Century we provide excessive amounts of time and training to ensure our pilots are well prepared before we allow them to take charge of a multi-million dollar airplane. That was not the case when we first started training pilots. Throughout history the United States military has made positive advancements in training pilots to reduce causalities, loss of equipment, thus positively affecting individuals to pursue careers in aviation.
Training of our young American pilots in World War I has been lessons well learned. World War I fighter pilots were young, brave men who left behind everything to fight for our country. These men had very limited flying skills, but a commitment to the United States to defend our country. Thus, these men became part of a greater good, joining the 27th, 94th, 95th, and 147th aero squadrons called the First Pursuit Group. Pilots in the early 1900’s were taught by a number of different people. Many of the flight instructors were French pilots, and those who became instructors were the best pilots. The United States learned quickly that to make the best, you needed the brightest and best pilots to do the training. Since our pilots were coming in with limited to no experience, the cream of the crop pilots were taken from the front lines to mold and teach these young men, in a very short time span, how to be aviators. The airplanes they were flying were not sophisticated, they flew at a top speed of 100 mph, were made of wood and canvas, and if the plane caught on fire, the pilot had certain death. The odds were stacked against the young men in World War I, but there was not a shortage of eager young men due to their love of country and desire to defend their country.
One must ask did this training pay off? When you look at the loss of life and the loss of equipment during World War I, one could speculate that the training was not successful due to the causality rate. It was noted that there was one fatality for every sixty-four hours of flight time. The pilot losses were staggering. A pilot’s life expectancy was several weeks, if flying in combat. Pilots were not even issued parachutes...