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They Flew Proud [Hardcover]

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Item description for They Flew Proud by Jane G. Birch...

They Flew Proud crisply tells the story of the Civilian Pilot Training Program through the Army Air Force Cadets at Grove City College (PA.) and the Grove City Airport where the flight instructors (including Gardner Birch) trained the cadets to solo. Across the U.S., more than 435,000 men and women were taught to fly under the CPTP in pre and post WWII. In Grove City, the 8th Detachment s 486 students received almost 5,000 hours of instruction, and then went forward to serve their nation in WWII.

In Part 2, Gardner Birch, manager/instructor refocused the airport to teach civilians to fly after the CPTP was abruptly cancelled. He created five boards to record the 127 students and their solo dates ( 44- 48). Narratives from these men and women retell of learning basic flying skills through many wonderful and humorous aviation stories. Those lessons learned in aviation s early days prepared them for a smoother flight through life and created friendships and passions for flying and airplanes. Numerous photos and visuals add depth, feeling, and understanding to the expressive text and draw us into the special time when some of the greatest generation learned to fly proud.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   192
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 11.1" Width: 8.4" Height: 1"
Weight:   2.1 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Aug 1, 2007
Publisher   Evangel Publishing House
ISBN  1933858257  
ISBN13  9781933858258  

Availability  0 units.

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Product Categories

1Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks > Humanities > History > United States
2Books > Subjects > History > Americas > United States > 20th Century > General
3Books > Subjects > History > Military > Aviation
4Books > Subjects > History > Military > General
5Books > Subjects > History > Military > World War II > General

Christian Product Categories
Books > Education (K-12) > Social Science > History

Reviews - What do customers think about They Flew Proud?

Leaves something to be desired  May 4, 2008
They Flew Proud purports to be a history of the Civilian Pilot Training Program, and in a very real sense it is. The problem I have, and I think a lot of readers will have, with this book, is that it attempts to tell the story of the CPTP through one airport in Grove City, PA. In the hands of the right person, this "localized" approach can work, and be interesting, evocative and (most important) definitive. Before doing an exploration, however, an author would want to conduct some research and find out what constitutes the "most appropriate" example. In this case however, the author for sentimental reasons chose Grove City, mainly because her father managed that airport. The result is disappointing and far from definitive. That does not mean you would not enjoy it, especially if you are from Grove City. But, I have to agree with one of the other reviewers on this site, who felt the title and subtitle of the book were misleading. It's true! The book's title, "They Flew Proud: The small town and airport training of cadets and civilians during WWII" should really have been something like, "Grove City and the Civilian Pilot Training Program: a small town and airport training of cadets and civilians during WWII". I have to question in fact why this book does not have this as a title!
From Jane Birch's editor: Author hits a homerun  Feb 22, 2008
Jane Birch's book 'They Flew Proud' is exactly what she intended -- a character-driven telling of the great narrative of how our country's pilots were trained in small-town airports in western Pennsylvania. While not meant to be an educational or training tool, 'They Flew Proud' is a story first and foremost, above all else.

Others have agreed. Birch's well-researched book written with love has garnered such honors as the prestigious Combs Gates Award given by National Aviation Hall of Fame (created by an Act of Congress whose purpose is to promote and preserve aviation history, particularly people--not planes, uniforms, protocol) and recognition by the Smithsonian Institute. Birch supplements her story telling with passages written by flight historian Dom Pisano; Paul Poberezny, founder of the EAA and flight instructor in the Civilian Pilot Training Program; Dr. Earl Tilford, military historian and professor of history at Grove City College; and Dr. Richard G. Jewell, president of Grove City College.

'They Flew Proud' is about people and their lives. And that's what sets it apart from other aviation history books and scholarly works. While Birch includes historical elements, such as the politics of the time and the WWII era.
A misnomer...  Feb 8, 2008
If you are thinking about purchasing this book as an education tool, or as a historical reference to WWII Aviation Cadet training I DO NOT RECOMMEND IT. The subtitle "The small town and the airport training of cadets and civilians during World War II" is a misnomer.

As a serious WWI, and WWII Aviation Historian, I obtained this book in the hopes of learning more about the Civilian Pilot Training Program and CAA WTS. Especially from a small town point of view. However, there is very little reference Civilian Pilot Training Program / CAA-WTS as far as information goes...such as uniforms, protocol, insignia, and badges. And less historical information about the CPTP CAA-WTS from a historical standpoint.

You can learn more information about the Civilian Pilot Training Program, CAA-WTS at Wikipedia, or the USAF historical Archives.


The book loses focus on the CPTP / CAA-WTS about a fourth of the way through the book, and then becomes somewhat of a personal memoir of the cadets that could be found, and ultimately becomes the history of the Grove City Airport, from prior to WWI, until the present time.

Not to take anything away from this book, as there are several characters in the Book, the main person is Gardner R. Birch, this is partially his story, and from what I read, he was one excellent Flight Instructor, and a man I would truly love to have had the honor to meet.

Also, there are several true success stories of the cadets themselves, and those who learned to fly after the war, and there experiences post WWII.

Overall, the book truly is a history about the Grove City Airport, some of the local business, and Grove City itself...pre-WWII, and post WII.

If you would like to learn more about the CPTP, WCAA-WTS I recommend the follow books.

"United States Army & Navy Directory of Airfields, Continental United States, 1944", by U. S. Civil Aeronautics Administration

"Two hundred thousand flyers,: The story of the civilian AAF pilot training program", by Willard Wiener

"To Fill the Skies With Pilots: The Civilian Pilot Training Program, 1939-46", by Dominick Pisano

"U.S. Naval and Marine Corps Reserve Aviation, Volume I, 1916-1942", by Wayne H. Heiser - 2006


"The Fayetteville experience: The story of the Fayetteville, Arkansas Civilian Pilot Training Program, War Training Service, and the 305th College Training Detachment (1939-1944)", by Mike Eckels

CPTP, CAA-WTS historical information is not limited to these above-mentioned books alone.

Excellent reference can be found with the historical books of the Women Air Service Pilots "WASP's" of WWII, and the Tuskegee Airman.
A unique bit of American aviation history  Feb 3, 2008
Winner of the National Aviation hall of Fame 2007 'Combs Gates' Award, "They Flew Proud" by Jane Gardner Birch is the story of the national Civilian Pilot Training Program that was a local course of study at Grove City College and the Grove City Airport, Pennsylvania from its pre-World War II founding, to the war years when the college contracted to teach Army Air Force Cadets their academic studies, and the airport provided fixed base operator and flight instructors support for cadets to embark on solo flights. More than 435.000 men and women were taught to fly under the CPTP. In Grove City, 486 students of the 8th Detachment received almost 5,000 hours of instructions before seeing service in the war before the CPTP was abruptly canceled by the government. "They Flew Proud" is also the story of how manager/instructor Gardner Birch refocused the airport to teach civilians to fly, creating five Solo Boards to record the 127 students and their solo dates between the summers of 1944 to 1948. Jane Gardner Birch includes interviews with a number of men and women who retell learning basic flying skills and their solo flights, sharing their memories of their instructors who prepared them to fly some 60 years ago and the strong bonds they experienced with their fellow students, the instructors, and others who shared their enthusiasm for flight. A unique bit of American aviation history, "They Flew Proud" is a very strongly recommended and much appreciated contribution to 20th Century Aviation history and a singular addition to any personal, academic, or community library Aviation Studies reference collection or supplemental reading list.
They Flew Proud  Oct 18, 2007
As a pilot myself, I was wondering if I'd enjoy this book. I sure did! But I needn't have worried about being a pilot or not. This book tells a story about a vital WWII era... a time when our Air Force was still known as the Army Air Corps, and our nation was scrambling to train pilots for a war on two global fronts.

The US needed to train pilots, and to increase this effort, the government enlisted the aid of civilian flight schools. Grove City airport was one that was approved for the task.

In Part One of the book, They Flew Proud tells the reader about those desperate times to a find way to get many pilots trained for the Army.

Part Two takes the reader on a delightful true-story journey, with interviews told by and about some of the pilots who first launched themselves into aviation under Instructor Gardner Birch's guidance, soloed under him, and saw their name and date of solo flight painted on one of his wooden boards. These Solo Boards, as they were called, were proudly hung at the airport and still hang there today.

I could not put the book down... reading the stories told today by those soloing pilots who could still be found, gave me the feeling that I was there, back in those days, listening to their hangar stories, sharing in their camaraderie.

Jane Gardner Birch, daughter of Instructor Gardner Birch, did a fine job in the telling of a piece of history most don't even know took place. The book is loaded with pictures, both old and current, to help the reader further experience those times. Jane has humanized a tiny, obscure piece of our history. I think it's a must read!

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