Eighty years ago, Mesa, Arizona opened a World War II hanger and U.S. Air Force Base with the sole intention to train British pilots. This international cooperative venture between the United States and the United Kingdom created a bond in this community that still exists today.
This November, Wings of Flight Foundation will be celebrating the rich history of the flying school by reuniting members of the British Flying School pilots and inviting them and their families to Mesa, Arizona. To celebrate this unique time, the Wings of Flight Foundation is hosting the pilots and descendants at a gala Nov. 13, 2021, in the original 1941 hangar with the airplanes that were used in 1941-1945. To date, Wings of Flight Foundation has located 18 living pilots, now in their late 90’s, 33 widows and 60+ families in England plus several Mesa families that supported the War effort at Falcon Field.
The foundation has created an archive for their stories and pictures at the Imperial War Museum in Duxford, England, and a place for descendants to connect on a Facebook page created by Falcon Field author, Daryl Mallett. Visitors to Mesa can also relive history in the permanent display of pictures, stories, and memorabilia at the Wings of Flight Foundation hangar.
EVENT DATE: Nov. 13, 2021, 80th Anniversary Gala celebrating the No.4 British Flying Training School. Pilots, descendants, and the residents of Mesa that supported and welcomed them will enjoy an evening reception on the tarmac followed by a plated dinner in the WWII hangar surrounded by vintage aircraft. This will be followed by 1940’s entertainment, an auction and dancing. Mesa Mayor John Giles will be rededicating the hangar. Open to the public.
Tickets available online at www.wingsofflight.org.
WORLD WAR II AVIATION HISTORY IN MESA, ARIZONA: Falcon Field opened as a World War II Royal Air Force (RAF) training base on July 16, 1941. British pilots trained on the AT-6 “Texan” Trainer which is a U.S. Navy variant called an SNJ. AT-6 planes obtained or produced by the United Kingdom were called Harvards. In Mesa, the Commemorative Air Force Airbase Arizona Flying Museum SNJ (Texan) offers visitors a chance to see it up close, on many days watch it take off and land, and guests can purchase tickets to ride in this iconic aircraft sitting in the student seat like so many young heroes sat in training. Today, Falcon Field is one of the busiest civil and commercial aviation airports in the country and is home to Airbase Arizona Flying Museum.
Watch our video celebrating the No. 4 British Training School in Mesa, Arizona