The RAF and other British air forces are flying a complete set of captured German and Italian planes for identification and for practice-flight instruction of new crews. Especially during the recent African and Sicilian campaigns, many undamaged examples of the latest German planes were found.
To instill confidence in new crews, British Halifaxes are flown regularly on any one of their four engines. The plane is said to be able to maintain altitude with sufficient gas on board to bring it back from all normal missions.
A recent article mentioned the mistaken attitude of the public that military planes are cheaper than is generally announced. While a first class fighter in America will cost from $125.000 to $150,000 and a Fortress about $450,000, a Spitfire cost the equivalent of $20,000, little more than a year ago, and a Stirling bomber about $120,000. Lower operating costs and wages, different manufacturing processes, and higher production are generally given as the main reasons for this price differential.
British aircraft production has reached such proportions that there is an actual shortage of test pilots for the acceptance of new aircraft. Some pilots are now being transferred from operating squadrons to special schools which will train them for their exacting duties at the big aircraft plants.
These news clips were originally published in the "International Briefs" subhead of the "Aviation Abroad" column in the November, 1943, issue of Aviation magazine, vol 42, no 11, p 273.