Courtland Army Air Field (CAAF): Beginnings/Flight Schools

Courtland Army Air Field (CAAF): Beginnings/Flight Schools (HM1EW2)

Location: Courtland, AL 35618 Lawrence County
Country: United States of America

N 34° 40.104', W 87° 20.121'

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(side 1)
Courtland Army Air Field (CAAF): Beginnings

Following the onset of WWII the Army Air Corps initiated an ambitious pilot training program. During its most active period, this program would train over 100,000 pilots per year. To meet this demand, more than 450 air fields were constructed or improved across the US. North Alabama was considered a desirable location for a large training base because it possessed a climate that permitted year-round flight instruction and enjoyed low congestion of airways. Of three potential North Alabama locations surveyed, the Courtland area was considered the best overall choice. In April 1942, the site was officially selected through a board headed by Colonel Aubrey Hornsby and Lt Colonel Joseph Duckworth. Within an 8-month period, runways, roads, and most of the buildings were constructed on 2200 acres of land acquired from the Bynum and Shackelford estates. Four smaller auxiliary air fields were built nearby for flight emergencies and to provide greater training flexibility. CAAF was activated on 14 Dec 1942 under the command of the Southeast Air Corps Training Center. The first cadet class arrived on 26 Jan 1943.
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Courtland Army Air Field (CAAF): Flight Schools
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Cadet pilots attended four schools: Preflight, Primary, Basic and Advanced. Courtland Army Air Field began service as a Basic Flight School. Signal Corps training supplemented the flight school. The Basic Flight School included ground school classroom facilities in addition to flight instruction. Cadet performance at Basic determined progressive paths toward advanced fighter or bomber training, or involved transfer to other schools that addressed topics such as navigation and aerial photography. The arrangement of four interlocking 5000-ft runways made CAAF an ideal site to accommodate both day and night training schedules 7 days per week and in a variety of wind conditions. Up to 700 cadets and 240 aircraft were posted at CAAF. The primary Basic Flight School training aircraft was the single-engine BT-13A Valiant. As Air Corps training needs evolved, the Basic Flight School was replaced by a Four-Engine Specialized School in September 1944. This involved the transfer to Courtland of personnel and B-24 Liberator bombers from Chanute Field, Illinois. Twin-engine trainers such as the Beechcraft AT-10 and the Cessna UC-78 also saw service at CAAF.
Details
HM NumberHM1EW2
Tags
Year Placed2011
Placed ByCourtland Historical Association, Alabama Historical Association
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014 at 3:31pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16S E 469275 N 3836322
Decimal Degrees34.66840000, -87.33535000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 34° 40.104', W 87° 20.121'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds34° 40' 6.24" N, 87° 20' 7.26" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)256
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 1173-1209 Sanderson Ln, Courtland AL 35618, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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