The first chapter of ‘Flying Blind’ follows Bryan Wild’s progress in his flying training from first joining up in the summer of 1940:
‘I was young but very keen,’ he writes. ‘…the Corporal had to bully me to hold my breath long enough to hold up the mercury in the tube. I was tallish, rather pale, and on the thin side. To my utter delight, the man whose job it was to gauge my fitness shook hands with me and wished me luck. I was in.’
He learned to fly on Tiger Moths.
‘Sgt. Allan glanced at his watch. “Right. It’s now one-thirty.” He patted me on the shoulder. “You’re the first off. Be here at two and park yourself in the rear cockpit. I have to say it: don’t forget your chute. We’ll be in the air for approximately thirty minutes – in this kite, BB795. OK?” I nodded and was immediately aware that my mouth had suddenly dried up. The sky was now clear apart from a few clouds; a cold but pleasant autumn day. I noticed a skylark and gulped as I realised that in a short while I too would be airborne and defying the laws of gravity.”
By the end of that flight, he wrote, ‘I could hardly wait for the following day to arrive; a sure sign that I had most likely become hooked on flying.’
A good job, as he would spend around one thousand nine hundred hours in the air over the next six years.
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