Lift - Spring 2013 - (Page 6)

w i ng s of l e g ac y Chance meeting revives memories of No. 5 British Flying Training School D By Sara W i t hro W avid Smith (’45, BFTS) of Litchfield, Conn., and Ronald McDonald of Tampa, Fla., are miles and years apart, literally. David, 87, is a retired horticulturalist. Ronald is 30 years his junior and makes a living as an aircraft mechanic. Before 2012, the two men had never met. But when they came face to face on Oct. 13 at Embry-Riddle’s Alumni Weekend in Daytona Beach, they discovered a common heritage that dates back to the 1940s and Embry-Riddle’s No. 5 British Flying Training School (BFTS). In 1941, Embry-Riddle started training military pilots at Carlstrom Field, in Arcadia, Fla., for the U.S. Army Air Corps and the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force (RAF). In 1942, the training of RAF cadets moved from Carlstrom Field to the newly constructed Riddle Field in Clewiston, Fla., known as No. 5 BFTS. An official training site for RAF pilots during World War II, the school was operated by Riddle-McKay Aero College, one of Embry-Riddle’s six divisions at the time. 6 LI FT S P r iN G 20 1 3 ER AU AL Um nI.o Rg It’s at No. 5 BFTS where David and Ronald’s stories parallel. While Ronald was not yet born, his late father, Raymond Bankston “Mac” McDonald, came to Riddle Field in the spring of 1943 to train pilots for the war. On June 17 1943, Mac was officially inducted into , the U.S. Army’s Air Corps Enlisted Reserve to be an instructor and squadron commander at No. 5 BFTS. “My Dad’s diary talked about his move to Florida, ” Ronald says. “He recalled vividly the scent of Florida orange blossoms. He said you could smell them from the air. Prior to his move, Mac was instructing Army ” Air Corps pilots at Cannon Airport in Charlotte, N.C., under the U.S. Civilian Pilot Training program. RAF Cadet David earned his RAF Wings and an officer’s commission at Embry-Riddle’s No. 5 BFTS. He began pilot training in late August 1944, but does not recall having Mac as an instructor. “We had a swimming pool, canteen, flying control tower and barracks for 200 to 300 people, he says of the facilities. ” One of David’s fondest memories was a weeklong break over the Christmas holiday, which followed his completion of primary flight school. “Two of us hitchhiked from Clewiston to Tampa, Fla., and stayed in one of the nicer hotels there, he says. Their trip ” included stops in St. Petersburg, Orlando, Daytona Beach and Miami. “We were in North Miami on New Year’s Eve. The people in the street below our hotel room were tipping over cars celebrating. In the morning, the news boys were talking about the Funnies in the paper. And at the same time, The Battle of the Bulge was at its worst. I’ll never forget that, he says. ” bottom Photo by tony giese PhotograPhy Riddle Field ‘Mac’ McDonald http://www.ERAUALUMNI.ORG

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Lift - Spring 2013

Lift - Spring 2013
A Soulful Presence
Riddle Field
Higher Learning
Alumni Weekend/ OctoberWest
Navigating Home
Riding on Real Estate
Doctors’ Remedy
Helping Eagles Fly
Alumni News
Class Notes

Lift - Spring 2013