Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Biplane Training, Circa 1937

My first flight was in a Martin bomber
by James H.

I had my first aircraft flight in a Martin bomber. I was in the Naval Reserve as a radioman on a two-week tour of duty at the Squantum Naval Air Station in the summer of 1937. The plane was a biplane with canvas wings, two radial engines and two tandem open cockpits (the crew wore Lindbergh style helmets) and a radio operator cubicle inside on the starboard side with an isinglass porthole. The antenna was on a hand-operated reel that I reeled out to the proper wavelength. We flew for an hour around Cape Cod.

Decades later, in 1960, I was employed at heritage companies Philco Western Development Labs, Philco Ford, and Ford Aerospace as an electrical engineer in the ground products division designing tracking station equipment. I retired in 1982.

The Martin P3M-2 was used to train pilots before World War II.