At the end of March and as we entered April we found out that 5 of us were washed out of the course and sent back to NYC. 8 of us went on. I found out later that Elynor, Jim and the other 3 flight-instructors held a meeting assessing each trainee and came to the conclusion that those 5 were well below standard. When I was assessed they concluded that I was not fighter-pilot material and that they should try to train me towards heavier, multi-engine flight duties such as bombing and transport.
And so on the first day of April I was given a 50 minute training flight on the Cessna T-50. I went on training on the Vultee BT13A and the Fairchild PT26 and on the 4th of the month I had a day of 3 solo flights on the Aeronca Champion. On the 5th Imade a 35 minute solo flight on the Fairchild PT19 with the 185 hp Ranger engine and the open cockpit on which most of the trainees got their training.
Many years later, when I was a Flight-Instructor at the Israel Air Force flying School (Rank: Captain). Having graduated successfully from the 5th Flight-Instructors Course I was told that the way and method by which I was trained on my flying course at Bakersfield was taboo and unheard of anywhere else and that it must have been pure luck that I absorbed it all successfully and made the full course and was given my wings.
I made 2 more flights on the Aeronca and a long 2 hours and 10 minute flight on the BT13A practicing high airwork and basic aerobatics solo. On the 7th I was sent back to the Cessna T-50 which was the civil registry of the Air Force Cessna AT-17 and was given cross-country training by Jim Kenealy flying for 2 hours and 50 minutes to Merced and back with an intermediate at Tulare.
I was then sent back to the BT13A for 15 days of flying dual and solo practicing Chandelles, Lazy-Eights, Pylon -Eights, Steep-turns, Stalls, Spins, Loops, Rolls, Slow-flight, Formation-flying and 2 cross-countries. Many flights were spent on Formation-flying and thus my Basic Training was almost complete. The rest of the month was spent with a short x-country to Porterville with the BT, an interesting x- country with the Cessna AT17 to Los-Angeles, a flight on the Aeronca, and one on the PT26 and the rest was spent flyingthe BT13A to polish off everything I was taught so far. I ended the month with 119 hours flying at Bakersfield.
In April we had the Passover holiday.The Rudnick family who somehow found out that I was knowledgeable about the Jewish festive procedures invited me to spend the Seder with them at their home. I was both honored and glad. The Rudnick family reminded me of my Father’s family. I read loud most of the Passover Haggadah in Hebrew. The meal which Elynor’s mother cooked tasted exactly like the one my Grandmother, Haya Abarbanel, used to cook and prepare.
By the end of this month we lost another 5 trainees which were sent back to NYC due to their inability to advance from Primary FlyingSchool to Basic Training. Only 3 of us were left when the third month of this flying course started.