BCATP Schools and Facilities in Alberta
British Commonwealth Air Training Plan
The Airspeed Oxford was the twin-engined trainer used at 36 Service Flying Training School. Like all the BCATP schools whose number designation began with '3', 36 SFTS was operated by the Royal Air Force.
The school received its first Oxford on 25 August 1941, but until mid-1942 a shortage of aircraft hampered training. The first winterized Oxford was received on 10 February 1942. By July 1942 aircraft strength reached over a hundred, where it remained until late 1944.
Four courses each of about sixty students trained at once, on a course which was lengthened several times over the course of the war, but generally ran for about twenty weeks. The strength of the school, including both trainees and staff, reached a high of 1,496, in early 1944.
In the spring of 1944, the impending closure of No. 36 SFTS was announced and by the end of October the last of the Oxfords had been ferried away and nearly all the RAF personnel had departed. A total of 1,284 pilots graduated from No. 36 S.F.T.S., over a thousand of them members of the Royal Air Force.
The former aerodrome is now the site of the Red Deer Regional Airport.
The Harvard Historical Aviation Society has been formed to commemorate and celebrate the history of the Penhold Base in Alberta. Please visit: [www.penholdbase.ca] to learn of their progress.