To the Discussion Leader

Man’s age-old dream of flying has been realized within the lifetime of men and women barely past middle age. As this pamphlet is written, Orville Wright, one of the American brothers who made the first successful airplane flight, is still alive.

Americans are air minded. While Army and Navy flyers have been shooting down Germans and Japs in terrific sky battles, their sons and little brothers back home have been building and flying model planes. Pilots, air crew and ground crew men, little brothers, and the men and women who are building the planes all wonder what will happen in aviation after the war.

Private flying is part of the postwar aviation picture. It may concern the personal interests of more people than does commercial aviation. It will involve personal decisions in individual homes: whether the family should buy a plane, whether members of the family should take flying lessons. Private flying is both a personal and a community problem.

Making discussion effective

Your problem as leader is to bring out the pro and con facts about private flying and to stimulate worthwhile discussion among persons attending your discussion meeting.

You will find War Department Education Manual, EM 1, GI Roundtable: Guide for Discussion Leaders, filled with instructions and helpful suggestions on techniques of organizing and conducting group discussions. You can adapt these to your discussion of private flying—and to all other subjects in the GI Roundtable series.

If you should wish to broadcast your discussion program on a radio station or sound system of the Armed Forces Radio Service, you will find practical suggestions on radio discussion techniques in War Department Education Manual, EM 90: GI Radio Roundtable.

Private flying can be discussed by any of the usual discussion methods: forum, panel, symposium, or general group discussion. The size of your group and the facilities of your meeting place will help determine the method you use.

One suggestion for a forum meeting is that you invite some prominent flyer, either military or civilian—preferably one who had private flying experience before the war—to relate his experiences and give his views on the future of private flying.

If you could obtain two or more experienced flyers to speak to your group, you could use a panel or symposium method. General group discussion will follow, of course, any type of introductory talks.

Some members of your discussion group may have private flying experience which would provide a valuable addition to information given in this pamphlet. You should make full use of them and of questions raised by members of your group.

Persons attending your meetingswill probably be interested in any good posters or photographs of small planes of the type suitable for private flying. You could display these on walls of your meeting place, or pass them among members of your group if the group is small.

Additional questions for discussion

Questions suitable for discussion have been grouped at various points in the text of this pamphlet. You are encouraged to amplify these and to use your own initiative fully in outlining your program and planning your discussion meeting. Additional questions pertaining to important phases of private flying are listed below.

  1. What are basic factors you would consider in reaching a decision on whether to take up private flying? Can private planes be made so useful that they will become a necessity for many people? Will the initial and operating costs alone prevent wide ownership of private planes? If you had the money to buy either a good automobile or a small plane which would you purchase? Why?
  2. What qualities would you most desire in your own plane? Isit possible for an airplane to be foolproof? Would you prefer a metal or molded plastic plane? Why? If you could choose between a speedy jet-propelled plane and a conventional propeller-driven plane, which would you select? What do you regard as the major difficulties in selecting your plane?
  3. What requirements should be set up to protect buyers against acquiring defective planes? Should sales agencies con-duct their own flying schools for the instruction of private flyers? What should be minimum requirements for the training of private flyers in operation of planes and reading of navigational instruments? Should every potential pilot be required to take a course in radio operation?
  4. How can the would-be flyer determine the best type of engine for his needs? Can you depend on converted military planes being sound and safe? Will the use of converted military planes for private flying discourage the manufacture of special new models for this purpose?
  5. How would you suggest organizing an aviation club in your, community? Will benefits of a local airfield to an average community justify the use of public funds for construction and maintenance? Would a community benefit more by encouraging private flying or by supporting commercial “feeder airlines” to connect with airports on main transcontinental airlines? Will military pilots accustomed to speedy planes with great maneuverability be a menace to community safety when flying small planes with low speeds and limited maneuverability? Will military ground crews be as much interested as trained military pilots in postwar private flying? Do you want your son or daughter to learn to pilot a plane? Should periodic inspection of all private airplanes be required by law? Do you believe government regulations should be increased as private flying grows and the number of airplanes increases?
  6. What regulations should govern private flyers wishing to fly to Canada, Mexico, or more distant foreign countries? Would the cost and responsibility of owning and piloting your own plane increase or decrease your enjoyment of a vacation? A business trip? What are basic advantages of travel by air? Disadvantages? What kind of travel gives the most benefit: travel by plane, train, or automobile? Why?