Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum
Canada 150 Vignette –  of 086 150
British Commonwealth Air Training Plan Schools

No. 1 Flight Engineers School - Aylmer Ontario
The Commonwealth Air Training Plan opened a school in Aylmer Ontario first as No. 14 Service Flying Training School  on July 3 1941. It was open 1139 days until August 15 1944 when it was moved to Kingston Ontario. This school operated North American Harvards and Avro Ansons to provide advanced training to Royal Canadian Air Force pilots. North American Yale aircraft were used for navigation instruction. Twelve flying instructors and 26 students were killed while being posted at No. 14 SFTS.

Aylmer was also the site of the Women’s Division Service Police School. The station magazine was known as The Aylmer Airman.

In the Royal Air Force and Royal Canadian Air Force, air crews for heavy aircraft such as the Short Sterling, Avro Lancaster and Handley Page Halifax substituted a Flight Engineer for the Co-Pilot. The Flight Engineers monitored the aircraft fuel, electrical systems and engines and made adjustments to keep the aircraft operating at peak levels. The Flight Engineer also controlled the aircraft’s throttles at takeoff, in flight and upon landing. The Flight Engineer was not a total replacement for the Co-Pilot but did receive enough flying training to maintain the aircraft in straight and level flight and land the aircraft in case the Pilot was incapacitated. No. 1 Flight Engineer School utilized Halifax aircraft and two types of twin engine bombers to provide training to students.

Prior to the formalization of training for Flight Engineers at No. 1 Flight Engineers School in Aylmer, the RCAF relied on Royal Air Force Flight Engineers and BCATP Aero Engine Mechanic graduates trained on the job. As such, some Flight Engineers were trained at No. 1 Technical Training School by taking the 16 week Aero Engine Mechanic course and then going into on-the-job training in their aircraft in an Operational Training Unit. We ran across a reference to No.1 Flight Engineer School at Arnprior Ontario but were unable to find any information on training at this location.

No. 1 Flight Engineers School opened at Aylmer on July 1 1944 and was open for  273 days until closed on March 31 1945. It offered a 16 week course which together with seven weeks of training in Great Britain completed the training. The students in the attached photograph shown in the No. 4 Course at No. 1 FES have the iconic white flashes in their caps. This would seem to indicate that this training was at a level of Pilots entering Elementary Flying Training School. Over 1900 Flight Engineers graduated from No. 1 FES.

The following is an excerpt from Grant Armstrong’s on-line autobiography:  

``After graduating I reported back to Montreal Command which sent me to Mont Joli Quebec in charge of aircraft servicing. Mont Joli was solid French speaking so most of the time was spent in camp. About 4 months later I was transferred back to the Engineering School as staff instructor. I was there about a year when the need for Engineers was no longer required. The Engineering School was then changed to a School for Flight Engineers, now needed for the Bomb Carrier aircraft now in heavy demand, and moved to Aylmer Ontario. I was put in charge of Aircraft Maintenance. Two 4 Engine and two 2 Engine Bombers arrived. The Flight Engineer Trainees had to practice with all aspects of an actual operation which required periodic running the engines at full power. The noise in camp wasn't tolerable and due to having only two pilots I was given the authority to taxi the required aircraft to the end of the runway each morning and back after the classes were finished. Then we had to service the aircraft for the next day. I also had a Harvard for the pilots, on administration, to get their flying time in. As the war was winding down I got married while in Aylmer.’’


After World War II, Aylmer was the location of a number of RCAF schools including No. 2 Manning Depot from 1949 to 1950. The station closed in 1961 and was repurposed as the Ontario Police College.


photo Course No. 4 -

Course No. 4 - No. 1 Flight Engineers Schhol 
Aylmer Women's Division Personnel
RCAF Aylmer Ontraio School Memorial Plaque and Wind-T (below)

Commons:WikiProject Aviation/recent uploads/2014 October 9
 Plaque Inscription

RCAF Station Aylmer

The Ontario Police College now occupies the site that was formerly the location of the Royal Canadian Air Force Station Aylmer,

Between 1941 and 1961 thousands of aircrew and ground support personnel received their training here. Man of these graduates went on to give their lives in supreme sacrifice for democracy and freedom during the Second World War and the Korean War.

It is to these courageous spirits who hailed from Canada, The United States and all parts of the British Commonwealth that this restored and relocated wind tee is dedicated.

Lest We Forget