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Flying a Yale

Heroes Remember

A Yale was like a Harvard. It was a forerunner of the Harvard, only it had a fixed undercarriage. They’re all silver, you know, aluminum probably, they weren’t painted yellow like a Harvard. And they had been ordered for the French Air Force and the instruments were all in metric but they painted over critical marks, you know, so we could see the miles per hour and so on. And we went down there and they had 450 horsepower right whirlwind engines, low winged monoplanes. They had flaps and they had, which you had to wind down, not like our hydraulic, and they had two pitch propellers, fine and coarse. And the Yale was so easy and smooth to fly. The Tiger Moth you were forever having to keep it straight and level, on the controls all the time to keep it flying level. And this Yale, beautiful looking thing, you know to me, it would, it never, it just went along smoothly. In fact, it was really very much easier, well, the Tiger Moth would cruise at 85 miles an hour cruising. The Yale would cruise at 125 and it was very much easier to fly to take off and land in a Tiger Moth, I couldn’t believe it. In two hours and ten minutes on this thing the very same day, I went off solo in the Yale and just couldn’t believe it. You know you had to make sure you were in fine pitch on take off and in fine pitch for landing again and then wind these flaps down and that’s all. So the Yale, it was wonderful.

Mr. Smith offers a detailed description of the Yale. aircraft, in which he completed his pilot training in Canada.

Roderick Smith

Roderick Smith was born in Regina, Saskatchewan in March, 1922. He was the second of four children. His father, who had served in the First World War, was a land surveyor. Mr. Smith had been fascinated by propaganda leading up to the Second World War, so he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1940 following the completion of his Senior Matriculation. After pilot training in Canada, he was selected for overseas flying duty. His first tour of duty was on Malta and Mr. Smith’s impressive list of enemy aircraft destroyed began here. He was also shot down himself while on this tour. After returning to England, he joined 401 Squadron piloting new generation Spitfire 9's. Mr. Smith was in action on D-Day, and later did strafing runs in German held France. Later at Nijmegen, he destroyed several more enemy aircraft, including the shared kill of a prototypical ME-262 jet fighter. Mr. Smith retired with the rank of Flight-Lieutenant, DFC and Bar, with thirteen destroys, 1 shared and ½ possible to his credit.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Roderick Smith
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Air Force
401 Squadron
Flight Lieutenant

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