Civilian Pilots Caught in History’s Path
Six civilian aircraft were airborne during the Pearl Harbor attack. Three were students with their instructors, and three were rented by sightseeing pilots and passengers. All but one came under attack by Japanese aircraft. Two planes were shot down, and those three airmen are still missing.
In Hawaii, the first step in the U.S. Government’s 1938 Civilian Pilot Training Program (CPTP) was the ground school held at the University of Hawaii. Schooling included navigation, aerodynamics, and meteorology. Then came flight training at John Rodgers Field (now Honolulu International Airport). CPTP became a mecca for many aspiring pilots due to government funding. Aircraft owners began giving lessons, and flying clubs were formed.
Three flying service operators—Andrew Flying Service, Gambo Flying Service, and K-T Flying Service—were sales representatives stocked with Interstate Cadets, Aeroncas, and Piper Cubs, respectively. Logically, new students were encouraged to get instruction in the aircraft that they might purchase. For instance, Olin Andrew sold the Underground Flying Club an Interstate Cadet. Marguerite Gambo obtained an Aeronca for the Honolulu Junior Chamber of Commerce, whose Hui Lele Flying Club was a favorite, with some 27 members. On the “Big Island” of Hawaii, the Hilo Flying Club purchased a Piper Cub from Robert Tyce, co-owner of K-T.
By David Aiken
Read the article from the December 2016 issue of Flight Journal, click here.