Behind the Copilot Seat

An Enlisted Mans Perspective on Flying with Student Pilots-USAF

by Charles P. Hattenstein



Book Details

Language : English
Publication Date : 8/1/2006

Format : Softcover
Dimensions : 5x8
Page Count : 136
ISBN : 9781425931858

About the Book

The book is about the experiences of a Flight Engineer flying with Aviation Cadet/Student Pilots during their training in the United States Air Force.

Aviation Cadets/ Student pilots in the USAF go through a stringent training program to become rated pilots. In the 1940s and 1950s two of the aircraft used for their training were the T-6 for single engine primary training and the B-25 for multiple engine training. Vance AFB, Enid, Oklahoma was one of the bases for B-25 Training.

The crew of the B-25 during the training phases consisted of one Instructor pilot, two students and one enlisted man, the flight engineer. Or two Students flying solo, and one Flight Engineer. The flight engineer flew daily four hour missions with the students, with or without the Instructor and was present throughout all phases of their training. It was required by regulations that the engineers go on the training missions to evaluate any mechanical problem that may arise and to either advise or correct the problem in the air or on the ground. Flight Engineers prevented many aborted missions due to mechanical problems. He also sometimes acted as observer during some missions

The Engineer sat behind the copilot seat in the cockpit and observed all activities in the cockpit. He saw the actions of the students, their abilities and sometimes their mistakes, and the instructions given by the Instructor to help the student through some procedure that the student was having trouble with. He knew that most of the students he flew with would graduate, and also knew that some of them would wash out of the program.


About the Author

The author's career in aviation spanned a period of thirty-seven years, six with the USAF and the rest with the Department of Defense. Most of the positions during that time were non-flying positions, except for the six years in the Air Force Training Command as a mechanic and flight engineer on B-25 aircraft engaged in pilot training.

All of the aircraft he was associated with were military aircraft, and from all the Armed Services; The Air Force, Navy, Marines, Army and Coast Guard. He had hands on experience with over twenty different military aircraft, jets and propeller driven. These included Trainers, Fighters. Interceptors, Bombers and Cargo aircraft.

The positions he held during his career were - Aircraft Mechanic on propeller driven and jet aircraft, Flight Engineer on B-25 Aircraft, Aircraft Inspector on Propeller driven and jet aircraft. Government Quality Assurance Representative at Contractor facilities that were performing overhaul and repair of Military aircraft under Government Contracts. Supervisor Government Quality Assurance Representative at Contractor facility. Chief Government Quality Management Division at a Contractor facility engaged in overhaul and repair of military aircraft under Government Contracts. QA positions required the proper interpretation and administering of the contracts provisions.

He retired from Government Service after a very rewarding career. Now engaged in activities such as painting, writing, and with his wife of fifty-five years, traveling and collecting. He has also previously published a book "All Roads Lead to Citronelle". The book describes life in Citronelle, Alabama in 1902 when the town was a popular tourist and health resort for tourists from the north. "Roads" in the book refers to railroads.

After many years working with aircraft he says he still gets a thrill when an aircraft flies overhead, even if but for a few minutes.