Royal Air Force Training in Oklahoma during World War II

Copyright 2002, Scott D. Murdock


Introduction

This is a "quick look" at the locations in Oklahoma that trained British pilots under Army Air Forces auspices during World War II.   Other states also hosted British Flying Training Schools; you can find all the schools listed in my paper W.W.II Army Air Forces Contract Flying Schools.  I shared this information with the Oklahoma Air Space Museum, Oklahoma City, for an exhibit on this subject.


Miami Airport – British Flying Training School #3

 On 17 Jun 1941, Spartan Aircraft Company leased land for the Spartan School of Aeronautics.  On 13 Jul 1941, the school opened.  It conducted primary and advanced training.  The Army Air Forces unit at the school was the 322nd Flying Training Detachment.  At some date prior to Aug 1944, the Defense Plant Corporation purchased the school (this was standard practice for all the Army Air Forces’ contract flying schools).  The school appears to have operated until some time in 1945.  The airfield had two asphalt runways, each 3200 feet in length.

Located about 2 miles N of Miami, at 36-54-45, 94-53-00, the school area is just east of the current Miami Airport (MIO).

Miami had four auxiliary fields.  Auxiliary Field No. 1, 80 acres, was leased in Jul 1941 and was located at 36-50-25, 94-57-30.  Auxiliary Field No. 2, 160 acres, was leased on 14 Jul 1941 and was located at 36-58-55, 94-55-00.  Auxiliary Field No. 3, 200 acres, was leased on 8 Aug 1941 and was located at 36-45-10, 94-58-20.  Auxiliary Field No. 4, 80 acres, was leased in Aug 1941 and was located at 37-01-15, 94-48-00; this field is now the Walter A. Swalley Airpark (H31).

As a side note, British fliers who died in training at Miami are buried in the nearby Grand Army of the Republic cemetery, at 36-54-38, 94-52-50.

Ponca City Airport – British Flying Training School #6

In 1941, the Darr School of Aeronautics purchased 36 acres adjacent to the Ponca City airport.  On 1 Aug 1941, Darr leased the 484-acre main flying field of the airport.  There were two paved runways, each 3,500 feet long.  The school, also called British Flying Training School #6, began operations on 7 Aug 1941.  Both primary and advanced types of training were conducted.  The Army Air Forces unit on the field was the 323rd Flying Training Detachment.

On 1 Apr 1942, the U.S. War Department assumed Darr’s contract with the British.   At the same time, the real property was sold to the Defense Plant Corporation (who referred to the site as PLANCOR 1482) and leased back to the school.  By March 1943, there were three runways.  The school closed and ceased to operate on 15 Apr 1944.

Located about 2.5 miles NNW of Ponca City, at 36-43-30, 97-06-30, the school area is now Darr Industrial Park.  The airport itself continues to operate as Ponca City Municipal Airport (PNC).

Ponca City had two auxiliary fields.  Auxiliary Field No. 1, 160 acres, was leased on 1 Sep 1942, and was located five miles W of Ponca City at 36-41-30, 97-10-47.  Auxiliary Field No. 2, also 160 acres, was leased on 10 Oct 1942 and was located 6 miles NW of Ponca City at 36-48-02, 97-08-38.

Tulsa Municipal Airport

Before setting up shop at Miami, the Spartan School of Aeronautics operated in Tulsa.  The school, which provided primary training, opened on 1 Aug 1939.  It was one of the first wave of contract schools for the Army Air Forces.  According to one source, Royal Air Force students entered the school on 7 Jun 1941.  On 1 Apr 1942, the Army Air Forces listed this as a British Refresher School.  The Army Air Forces unit on the field was the 314th Flying Training Detachment.  At some time prior to Aug 1944, the Defense Plant Corporation purchased the facility.

Located 6 miles NE of Tulsa, at 36-11, 95-54, the school is part of the current Tulsa International Airport (TUL).

Sources indicate Tulsa had up to six auxiliary fields, acquired between 1939 and 1941. 

One British flyer was killed in training at Tulsa, and is buried in the American Legion section of the Tulsa Memorial Park cemetery.


For photos and descriptions of these schools as seen in 2000, see:

http://www.airforcebase.net/trips/tulsa/tulsa.html

This information has been gathered from a variety of historical reference sources.  It is believed to be correct, but its accuracy cannot be guaranteed.


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