No. 5 (Pilots) Advanced Flying & Refresher Unit RAF

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Brief History

Numbered (P) AFU's existed in the RAF from about February 1942 onwards to "acclimatise" newly arrived pilots from the British Dominions "over the seas" to flying conditions in the UK, and this continued to the end of WW2. All these aircrew were technically fully qualified and badged, so were strictly speaking not trainees as such, and were actually receiving "advanced" (post-graduate) training. These units were only introduced because so many pilots found the flying conditions in wartime UK airspace were completely different to the safer and generally clearer skies of Canada, Australia and New Zealand. What with so much more cloud, winter fogs, industrial smog, thousands of small villages and hundreds of cities, railway lines and roads everywhere, and barrage balloons and anti-aircraft guns all over the place, as well as thousands of aircraft and hundreds of airfields scattered about every flat bit of ground, the newly arrived aircrew from overseas found the UK flying conditions very foreign and stressful, and accidents were becoming too high. Thus the AFU's came into being to improve their chances of survival before they even reached the OTU's.



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