The first aircraft Dad received R.C.A.F. training in was the 'Fleet Finch' when he commenced Elementary Flying at No. 9 E.F.T.S. in St. Catharines, Ontario. "When we passed I.T.S. we went to St. Catharines on elementary flying and this is the old 'Fleet Finch' at St. Catharines.
"They were lovely little trainers."
On their initial flight together January 6, 1942...
...'he asked me to duplicate a few turns etc.
He soon yelled into the intercom, "How many hours do you have?"
'I laughed and said, "I guess the cat is out of the bag now. I only have about 300 hours - all on floats up in north Ontario."
''"Great!'"he said, "I don't think you will get much out of this course. But when you can get on Harvards on the next course" - that was service flying training - "you will get your teeth into something then. Meantime, I'll put you throught the ropes on this course and you can be my lookout while I practise my instrument flying."
'His favourite flight was down near Niagara, near the Brock Monument, where there was an abandoned railway track about three miles long. It was just like a long tunnel with trees overlapping above.
He soon had me doing the same. The wheels would be almost rolling on the tracks going along through those three miles!
That was his favourite spot going down there.
And then, from then on, he loved aerobatics too! Snap rolls, slow rolls, and rolls off the top. With that little 'Finch' you could do all this. Just a little radial engine on it and an open cockpit.
I loved to fly it.
I'd love to have one of them now!
It would be nice.
We'd really enjoy it.'