Viewing page 14 of 54

Hail - - 
Combat Glider Pilots 

In the eyes of the Army the glider is a proven weapon. More than that, it is a means - a means of training and development-a way to learn and to prove. The Army recognized Soaring as more than a sport and its representation at this National Soaring Contest is proof of that Interest and considerations. 

Back in 1941 the U.S. Army Air Forces sent its first class of men to Elmira and Harris Hill for training in the science of motorless flight. It was a small class, but most big things start in a small way. The program grew to the proportions evidenced by the glider operations in the war just ended. In the early days, many people did not realize and would not recognize the value of motorles flight training. 

Picture of the First Army Air Force Glider Class trained at Harris Hill. New York., 1941. This was the forerunner of the Army Combat Glider Force which served so notably in the war. 

Some men in the Army and Navy did, soon enough to have a basic force of glider pilots trained before we went into the war. This was an example of foresight almost unknown to this country where military inspiration has normally come from the hot breath of near-disaster. And contrary to custom, the foresight in the field of gliding has not been abandoned with the termination of hostiles. 

Here at this contest, the Army Air Force is putting on exhibition some of its latest equipment for motorless flight - cargo gliders and troop-carrying gliders, and giving exhibitions of the operations of its equipment. The Navy, also is showing considerable considerable interest by sending two glider teams to participate, on a non-profit basis, in the meet. 

The XCG-10 developed by the glider branch of the Air Material Command's aircraft laboratory, has a greaer cargo area and hauls a larger load than any other American glider. Result of an AAF project to determine the feasibility of carrying very large equipment by glider, it utilizes huge "clamshell" doors to load cargo from the rear to the fuselage. 

The Soaring enthusiasts who pioneered through the long years of mockery and scoffing find their faith justified and their principles vindicated. They are proud to have been of service tot he armed forces of their country and proud of the recognition being accorded their movement by the presence of the armed service participants and demonstrators at their National Contest. 

This meet, with its Army-Navy encouragement is the ushering in of a new era in American soaring. Americans, encouraged, can look forward to placing themselves in a leading position in the world-wide soaring movement. 

These two photos by the Air Material Command show but two of the types of Army cargo gliders but they serve well, when placed beside the single and two-place gliders in this contest, to show the advances in gliding and the usefulness of motorless craft - both commercially and militarily. Soaring as a sport is well known, Soaring as a science is quiet well established, and here is gliding from an extremely practical viewpoint. The worth of an article is said to be in its use. The worth of gliding is now well on the road to being established. 

The CG-15 glider, made by WACO Aircraft, is now in mass production and will soon be committed to theatres of operation. It is a 16-place glider and incorporates new features dictated by battle experience. 

Please note that the language and terminology used in this collection reflects the context and culture of the time of its creation, and may include culturally sensitive information. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution, but is available in its original form to facilitate research. For questions or comments regarding sensitive content, access, and use related to this collection, please contact