The College of Air Training (C.A.T.) was set up at the historic airfield of Hamble in 1960 to train commercial pilots for BEA and BOAC (later British Airways) and was jointly owned by the airways corporations and the Government.
The College of Air Training (C.A.T.) was set up at the historic airfield of Hamble in 1960 to train commercial pilots for BEA and BOAC (later British Airways) and was jointly owned by the airways corporations and the Government. However, although internationally renowned for its high standards, its story has never before been told.
Captain Stuart Logan was a cadet at Hamble in the mid-1960s before going on to fly for BEA and BA for nearly 35 years. In retirement he writes regular features for local and national publications. In this book he explains; in his wry, easy-to-read style how, over the 24 years of its operation, the college trained many hundreds of men to become the pilots who flew the first, passenger-carrying jet aircraft, the latest Boeings and the iconic Concorde. Most of them had no previous flying experience and many came straight from school into the College.
The book examines the piecemeal way airline pilots were trained in the earliest days of commercial aviation, through the glory days of Imperial Airways and the post-war largesse of ex-RAF men, until an impending pilot shortage in the mid-50s forced the Government to open a dedicated facility.
The story of the airfield at Hamble and the politics involved in procuring the best training aircraft for C.A.T. not only make fascinating reading for students of aviation history, but the detailed account of the accidents and incidents are compulsive reading for airmen of all persuasions. Innovative flying selection procedures and comprehensive ground school training are examined within the context of the College, while the complex technical issues that are an integral part of a well-informed aviation publication are explained in plain language.
Much of the data contained in the book has been drawn from unique, original source material and many of the illustrations are rare contemporary photos previously unpublished. Stuart has interviewed some of the last of the living Hamble instructors, as well as many of his erstwhile colleagues who graduated from C.A.T.
Where slim snippets of information about the college on the internet serve only to whet the appetite, this book is satisfyingly specific. There is no other volume covering C.A.T. and its special place in British aviation history in this much detail.