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keith A 22nd June 2020 12:54

Pensacola training station 1938-41
Does anyone know the structure of the training wing at Pensacola in this period?

I know they were using the N3N and PT-14 biplane and the NJ-1 and SNJ monoplane, as well as the Boeing F4B-4 for trainee fighter pilots.

For pilots who were to fly scout and torpedo bombers I assume there were other arrangements?



twocee 22nd June 2020 15:31

Re: Pensacola training station 1938-41
It's difficult to be concise about this but up until the end of 1939 the student naval aviator at Pensacola would progress through five squadrons as follows:

VN-1 Primary seaplane
VN-2 Primary landplane
VN-3 Scouting and formation work
VN-4 Seaplanes, including twin-engined, and catapult scouts
VN-5 Fighter training

On receiving his wings the aviator could thus be sent to any type of fleet squadron, carrier, floatplane or flying boat, for further specialised on-the-job training.

With the approach of WWII the syllabus was revised so that the trainee would specialise at an earlier stage and not be required to become proficient in all operational types.

keith A 22nd June 2020 16:12

Re: Pensacola training station 1938-41
May have found my answer! Apparently VN3-D8 was the scout bomber training squadron. In the period I need information (1938-39) it operated Vought Corsairs in various configurations and models (O3U/SU, and SBU). These aircraft seem to indicate the squadron was used to give further flight training to those who survived the elimination period, and then move them on to advanced/operational training?

twocee 22nd June 2020 16:41

Re: Pensacola training station 1938-41
Not quite---from scout training in VN-3 the trainees would go to VN-4 and learn how to handle flying boats such as the Martin PM and catapult scouts such as the Berliner-Joyce OJ. Then it was on to fighters, such as the F4B, in VN-5. Thus, they emerged from Pensacola trained on all types of Navy aircraft.

keith A 22nd June 2020 20:06

Re: Pensacola training station 1938-41
Thanks very much. This is excellent!

I am a Scot and the USN is not seen this side of the pond too often. ES McCuskey, my subject was USNR who trained in 1938-39.

I had assumed the designations were from individual specialities. Does this mean that the Elimination period did not include a period on the N3N, or that the period in elimination at Fairfax Field was flown in another aircraft?

Over here the Fleet Air Arm did the same thing, but when I have read the British pilots training in WW2 there's a definite initial period on the N3N,

If so these USNR pilots completed the three courses in less than twelve months? At the end of this were they assigned based on their level of competence/aptitude?

twocee 22nd June 2020 20:42

Re: Pensacola training station 1938-41
If the elimination base at Kansas City was using N3Ns in 1938/9 then he would have flown in them to qualify for Pensacola. I'm not sure what types of trainer were in use at the elimination bases at that time.

keith A 23rd June 2020 09:28

Re: Pensacola training station 1938-41
Thanks again, George

best regards


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