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Flight Instructor

Heroes Remember

Having been operational for quite some time, the squadron was moving and some people, I’d been on the squadron for three years which was a normal tour in those days and we knew that some of the people on the squadron were going to get transferred. So one of the things I said, “I don’t want to do a ground tour, I want to continue flying,” and they said, “Well, we’ll see what we can do.” And I remember that when the squadron was moving they said, “Okay, you’re not going to a ground tour.” “Great!” “You’re going to be an instructor.” That was almost worse than the ground tour, and after the initial, I guess, not wanting to be an instructor, settled in because that was what I was going to be doing and got my instructor categories and went off to become an instructor in Moose Jaw. I was able to persuade them that I should be an instructor on T-Birds versus Tutor because the T-Bird, once again was sort of, it was sort of a selfish reason. The T-Bird had a much longer range and was faster than the Tutor. So if you wanted to go anywhere you could get in the T-Bird and go in half the time it took for the Tutor because you had less hops. So I did wind up going on the T-Bird. It turns out that that was probably one of the most credible tours I had. When you became an instructor, in order to demonstrate to a student, you had to be able to do it exactly as it was written about in the book. That meant that if you were going to do a loop and you said that you start the loop at 350 knots and you come out the bottom at 350 knots you had to be able to do that and do it consistently. So what it taught you to do was that you had to be able to fly the air craft by the numbers and this stood me in good stead because what I found initially was that the faster the air craft went, the easier they were to fly and they were engineered that way because when you’re going at that rate, you don’t have a chance to be fighting the air craft flying. You have to fly it and the air craft has to help you along the way. So I became an instructor, went to Moose Jaw on the T-Bird and quickly found out that there were a number of things that one had to do. You were always getting checked for your category as an instructor. You were always being checked for your instrument rating, you had to write exams and ride an instrument ride once a year. So the first thing I set about was to work through the category system and you start out as what they call Provisional C and then you became the master of the instructors when you became an A-1 and that was the god amongst instructors. So my first aim was, I also found out that when you became an A-1, you didn’t have to do anymore cat runs and I didn’t particularly like tests or rides so from that point of view I was not that energetic and I thought, that’s one thing I can eliminate so I worked hard and got an A-1 in record time. I was an A-1 and just, you had to put in a year before you could get an A-1 and I got mine in a year and a day.

Mr. Peters describes initially being disappointed by his posting as a flying instructor, but later credits this tour of duty for reinforcing his discipline in the cockpit.

Walter Peters

Walter Peters, the youngest of six children, was born in Litchfield, Nova Scotia in 1937. A graduate of Mount Allison University, he worked for the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation before enlisting in the Royal Canadian Air Force at age twenty-four and entering pilot training. After receiving his commission and wings, Mr. Peters enjoyed a distinguished career on many levels. He was Canada’s first black jet fighter pilot and an A1 flying instructor. He was involved in the development of the Snowbirds and later flew with them. At Trenton, Mr. Peters piloted Hercules cargo aircraft on assorted missions around the globe, and it was here that he also became the Canadian Armed Forces’ first Human Rights Officer. As advisor to the United Nations Security Council, Mr. Peters offered advice on the tactical movement of troops by air, and analysed and briefed the Council after the Russian shootdown of a Korean civilian jet in 1983. He retired holding the rank of Major.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Walter Peters
War, Conflict or Mission:
Canadian Armed Forces
Air Force

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