16 December 1916 – Some knowledge of Operational Activities

Following on from the changes in observer training announced on 14 December, the RFC has also made some changes the regulations on pilot training issued in March 1916, to try and improve the survival rate of new pilots arriving at the front. In order to qualify for their wings, pilots will now have to meet new standards aimed at both increasing flying time and improving knowledge of operational procedures and techniques.

First of all the minimum hours solo flying has been increased from 15 to 20 and at least 28 for those being allocated specific aircraft such as Moranes and Sopwiths. In addition, this must include at least 5 hours on the type of aircraft which the pilot will be flying at the front (eight for the Moranes and Sopwiths).

In a belated recognition that pilots arriving at the front ought to have some knowledge of actual operational activities, pilots are also now required to pass auxiliary tests in gunnery, artillery observation, bomb-dropping, and photography.

That said, This is required regardless of the unit they will be working in. This is in contrast to the German approach which has been to handpick and specially train pilots specifically for fighter squadrons.

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