Saturday, April 27, 2013
One of the things we found in Bub’s footlocker were notebooks. Seemingly they looked to be the ordinary kind one has when they are in school but in these notebooks the class information was not of the ordinary kind. When the air corps expanded to meet the demand of World War II there were not enough skilled mechanics and flight crew members to service the expanding fleet of aircraft that was being assembled to fight the war.
Although Dad was already a good mechanic, his background was mainly automotive. He had told me of his experience in working on Model T and Model A Fords. He was particularly fond of the Ford flathead V-8 engine and was quite skilled in modifying the engine to get the maximum horsepower out of the basic design. He had also modified Model T’s to run on just the frame with minimal body, these he called skeeters as they were faster than the standard Model T.
Dads automotive experience was self taught and broad based. However, he did not have the technical background or the theoretical training to handle more complex machines. The Air Corps for Dad was an opportunity to learn the technical skills he needed to handle the high technology of his time period in aircraft. This training instilled in Dad the habit of keeping notebooks of what he was working on or to keep handy technical information. He always emphasized that before working on any mechanical device that having a technical or repair manual was essential to make a successful repair.
With the outbreak of the war in December 1941 the need for more training meant that Dad was sent to a technical school at an Air Corps base at Chanute Field Illinois. Later in life he mentioned this base but said little of what he was doing there. But his notebook spoke volumes of what he did.
The first page is the cover of one of his technical school notebooks On it he wrote:
Nathan H. Moran
17th School Squadron
January 20, 1942
On the second page are the notes he made of lectures on aircraft technology with drawings he made from what the lecturer put on the chalkboard at the head of the classroom. At this time of the war printed material to educate airmen was probably in short supply so they were encouraged to take notes and assemble their own references from the lectures they were receiving in class.
What Dad diagrammed was the electrical circuits for tachometers that indicated the revolutions per minute (rpm) of a twin engine aircraft. He showed the relevant equipment in the circuit and what their role was in indicating the rpm’s. He also noted that if the connections were reversed the gauges would read backward and give an erroneous reading. He also charted the different circuits that would be encountered with one and two generators in the diagram and the problems that might be encountered. Dad would keep notebooks like this until the end filled with notes and manuals for any repair contingency.