Moving planes to Shaw Field in 1941

By SAMMY WAY
Posted 7/15/18

Reflections remembers the trans-continental flight of the BT 13-A training aircraft. These planes were used to train young cadets the principles of flight at the new flight school in Sumter. Shaw Field's acquisition of trainer aircraft remains one …

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Moving planes to Shaw Field in 1941

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Reflections remembers the trans-continental flight of the BT 13-A training aircraft. These planes were used to train young cadets the principles of flight at the new flight school in Sumter. Shaw Field's acquisition of trainer aircraft remains one of the most intriguing segments of base history. The information and photos were provided by The Sumter Item archives and High Pitch magazine produced by the Shaw Cadets.

"Maj. B. M. Hovey Jr., commanding officer, Maj. Daniel Cooper and Maj. James W. Gurr allowed information concerning the transfer of the BT 13-A aircraft from California to Shaw Field made available to the general public. These officers departed from Columbia aboard a Delta Airline plane, arriving in Dallas at twelve o'clock midnight. There they flew aboard an American Airline sleeper plane, scheduled to reach Los Angeles at 7:45 a.m. the next morning. Upon arrival they proceeded immediately to the Vultee Aircraft factory and received delivery of two basic trainer planes, first of 45 in the initial order for use in flight training at Shaw Field. Fly-away delivery of this kind was a customary practice utilized by the Army Air Corps."

"Maj. Cooper and Maj. Gurr planned to leave at once upon receipt of the new planes, which they flew on the eastbound trip. It was the policy of the Army not to allow new aircraft to be flown at night or in bad weather until delivered at the ultimate destination. Accordingly, night stops are planned, at Tuscon, Arizona and Barksdale Field, Louisiana, with arrival at Shaw Field expected on the evening of the third day."

"Maj. Cooper, executive officer, and Maj. Gurr, director of training, were among the five flying officers stationed at Shaw Field, both were experienced pilots with many years flying to their credit in all sections of the continent. The planes obtained were the initial ones in a series of forty-five, and it is believed that subsequent deliveries were handled by ferry pilots not connected with Shaw Field, so that the full attention of the officers there was directed towards the activation of the flying school."

"The runways at Shaw Field were complete, allowing planes to be delivered directly and operated from the field at all times. In the near future several flying instructors arrived, in advance of the cadets, so that they could familiarize themselves with the planes and equipment, as well as, the program of training. The school was scheduled to be in operation by the early part of December 1941."