alexa Central Flying School Association

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Central Flying School Association

The Central Flying School is the longest serving flying school in the world. This is a record of which we are understandably proud and the following web pages chronicle the main events in the school's history and describes its current organisation and tasks. CFS was formed at Upavon in Wiltshire on 12 May 1912. The primary aim was not to produce aviators as such, but professional war pilots. This was to be achieved by accepting for advanced training only men who already held a Royal Aero Club Certificate, although they were offered a refund of part of their expenses incurred in private tuition. Having obtained their Pilots Certificates in order to qualify for the course, the students were taught to fly all types of aircraft available at the school. The inventory then consisted of Maurice Farmans, Henri Farmans, Shorts, Avros and Bristol Bi-planes. No 1 course was completed on 5 December 1912 and graduates could carry out short cross-country flights and local flights of 20 to 30 minutes, at heights around 1500 feet. The ground training syllabus included theory of flight, map reading, strength of materials, military and naval aviation history, hints on flying and practical work on Gnome and Renault engines and aircraft repair . The standard for a pass was 50% in each subject and 60% overall. Very soon aircraft began to take on a more military form and CFS quickly became one of the main centres for experimental and research flying. Bomb dropping experiments began, and in July 1914, a 14" torpedo was launched from a Short seaplane. One of the first tasks was to gain the confidence of commanders in the field by showing that the Royal Flying Corps was not just a fine weather Service, and it was with pride that the Secretary of State for War told the House of Commons in 1913, that CFS carried out experiments in flying in strong winds. What had been achieved was an aircraft with a maximum speed of 57 mph taking 16 minutes to cover 400 yards into the teeth of a gale. This was quite an advance, since only a year before it had been considered dangerous to fly in winds of 15 mph. By the outbreak of war in August 1914 the CFS had contributed 93 pilots to the Royal Flying Corps. A rapid expansion took place and by the end of 1915 the basic training policy was for all pupils to do their ab-initio flying at one of the Reserve Squadrons, and then pass on to CFS or to a service squadron for advanced training.

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