NATO Patch Air Training Plan Flying Course 54 17 RCAF Penhold
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NATO Patch Air Training Plan Flying Course 54 17 RCAF Penhold

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  • Item #: 1P 10NA 6TNG 04FTS 1OP NATP54 01
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NATO Patch Air Training Plan Basic Flying Course 54 17 RCAF Penhold 1954 fully wool applique cut edge 125mm by 135mm five inches by five and five sixteenth inches. 

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The NATO Air Training Plan was implemented by the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1950 to train pilots and navigators from NATO signatory countries to improve NATO airpower in response to the perceived military threat in Europe from Soviet bloc countries. As with the WWII British Commonwealth Air Training Plan BCATP Canada provided training remote from the potential battle areas in Europe. The NATP used air stations throughout Canada including a number of the old BCATP stations.

The NATO Training & Induction School was originally based at RCAF Station London Ontario and relocated to RCAF Station Centralia in 1954 with students taught aircraft familiarization flight procedures meteorology basic navigation. With students coming from Denmark Norway the Netherlands France Spain Portugal Turkey West Germany Belgium Greece and Italy English language formed part of the curriculum where necessary.

On completing the NATO TIS student pilots were allocated to one of the Flying Training Schools FTS including 4 FTS at Penhold for basic flying training on Harvard training aircraft. On successful completion students were allocated to one of the Advanced Flying Schools AFS to continue training selected for T 33 jet training aircraft for single engine training or selected for Expeditors or Mitchell aircraft for multi engine training.

Student navigators then went to an Air Navigation School ANS including RCAF Station Winnipeg or RCAF Station Summerside.

In 1956 the NATO Primary Flying Training school was established at RCAF Station Centralia to centralise basic training. At Centralia with student pilots completed initial training Chipmunk aircraft before progressing to Harvard aircraft before continuing to one of the Advanced Flying Schools. While RCAF graduate pilots would be posted to an Operational Training Unit OTU Foreign pilot graduates would return home to complete operational flying training.

Many NATO countries had established their own Air Force flying training facilities by 1957 and the program was stood down in 1958. Limited bilateral training continued for countries unable to train their own aircrew including Denmark and Norway and a small scale program NATO Flying Training in Canada NFTC is still operational.


4 Flying Training School FTS moved from RCAF Lincoln Park Calgary to RCAF Station Penhold a ex WWII BCATP airfield with its first aircraft a Beechcraft Expeditor twin engine trainer utility aircraft arriving on 17 December 1952. North American Harvard Mark 4 training aircraft were quickly assembled.

4 FTS organized into six training flights a standards flight an advanced flight and a navigation flight. The first NATO Air Training Plan class with 22 RCAF 6 French Air Force 10 RAF 7 Italian Air Force and 5 Royal Netherland Air Force trainees arrived on 25 May 1953.

Flying training began with the 20 Harvard aircraft on strength on 8 June 1953 using a mobile control tender as the control tower was still being constructed. 4 FTS undertook a mass formation of 44 Harvard aircraft flying from Lincoln Park to RCAF Penhold on 2 July 1953. On graduation the first class produced 16 pilots.

When the NATO commitment ended in 1958 4 FTS continued to provide flying training to RCAF trainees.


This patch dates from 1954 for Course 54 17 under B Flight 4 FTS RCAF Penhold.




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