No. 2 Flying Training School
Royal Air Force
Brize Norton, Oxford
October 7, 1938
This Friday night I am going to start a letter, if I can, and finish it on Sunday.
We have been having oodles of rain here and lately we have some real high winds. For 6 days i was unlucky enough to be on flights when it had to rain so I didn't get any flying until yesterday. I went up on a height test solo. We are only supposed to go up to 15,000 feet and stay there for about 10 minutes. That didn't seem very high up to me so kept going. I got up to 18,500 feet and saw that i had to be down in half an hour so i quite there. It was about 10 degrees or 15 degrees below zero at that altitude. The sun was shining into the cabin so I was quite warm except my feet and they sure were cold. I glided down at 90 m.p.h to about 15,000 feet, then I wanted to go faster so I put the noes down and opened the throttles about 1/3. The motors made a funny whine because they run so fast when you dive. All the boys in the class heard it. Anyhow I got it going about 240 m.p.h the I shut the motors down and pulled the nose up again. Some of the boys suffer from earache and find it hard to breath even at 16,000 feet, but it didn't bother me - only it made me belch a couple of times.
I was doing some forced landing practices and some low flying with my instructor today, but it was quite windy and so it was really too rough and bumpy to do much low flying, so my instructor got out and I did some circuits and landing practice for 3/4 of an hour. I haven't taken my camera up with me but will try to remember to sometime next week. I would like to get some good pictures of the country around here, also of the aerodrome from the air. There is only one other boy here that I have talked to that has gone up to 14,500 feet. There may be a few more but I don't this there are many.
The storms and lightning put a few planes from other places out of commission this week. One Harrow Bomber with 5 men in it was struck by lightning about 10 miles out over Channel; the engine stopped and the instruments were haywire but they glided over to land and they all bailed out safely in their parachutes. This happened at night.
We haven't started our night flying yet, but probably will this coming week. As I told you before we only get one solo at night this term, until after New Year's.
(To be continued October 10)