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Training in Toronto

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Training in Toronto

The Curtiss Aviation School in Toronto

Students at the Curtiss School in TorontoThe Curtiss Aviation School in Toronto opened in May 1915 as an extension of the Curtiss Company in Hammondsport, New York. Unlike the air training school in British Columbia, it received full funding for each student that entered the school, as long as they had a signed agreement stating they would enter the RNAS or RFC upon graduating. Adding to the success of the school was the new aircraft factory opened by the Curtiss Company in Toronto that produced the Curtiss JN biplanes used in training.

The school was established at Long Branch with three large hangars. Added to these facilities was a flying-boat station located at Hanlanís Point.

There were no serious accidents or fatalities that occurred during the entire operation of the Curtiss Aviation School. The school trained 54 pilots for the war effort.

A lithograph of a painting by R. W. Bradford titled "Curtiss 'F' Flying Boat" and the caption is "A typical training day at the Curtiss Flying School. Read More...

Royal Flying Corps Starts Training in Toronto

With the increasingly important role of aircraft as a weapon during World War I, a new effort began in 1917 to train much larger numbers of pilots. The Royal Flying Corps (RFC) came to Canada and Egypt to establish training schools to fulfil the increasing need for aircrew.

No. 4 School of Aeronautics at Toronto of the Royal Flying Corps in CanadaThe main goals of the RFC were to recruit and train aircrew for the Royal Flying Corps in Britain. The RFC was responsible only to the War Office and later the Air Ministry in London. Militia recruiting offices across Canada cooperated with the RFC to supply aircrew candidates.

Training was carried out with the Curtiss JN4 (also called Jenny, which was not an advanced aircraft, and new pilots had to upgrade their training when they arrived in Britain on more advanced aircraft. To address this need, an order for 500 Avro 504Ks was ordered. This was part of a plan to continue the training program in Canada if the war continued into 1919. With the end of the First World War, the training program ended, along with the contract for the Canadian built 504Ks. In the end, only two 504Ks were produced.

Flight was still new as the winter of 1917 approached, and there was concern about whether open cockpit biplanes could successfully fly in winter conditions. The result was that most of the members of the RFC Canada planned to take the training effort to Fort Worth, Texas from December 1917 to February 1918 to continue training, and to assist the Americans in developing their own air force. It was agreed that they would assist in training 400 pilots, 2,000 ground tradesmen, and 20 equipment officers for the Americans. This period of training was then extended to April, adding 144 pilots, 12 tradesmen, and more ground officers.

The North Toronto Wing Number Forty-Three remained in Canada to determine if winter flying was possible. This was considered an experimental effort with the introduction of ski-fitted undercarriages for the Jennies, and the use of newly developed anti-freeze and protective clothing for the pilots. It was found that morale remained high, and there were no negative effects on the number of flying hours completed.

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