§ Mr. A. Henderson
asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air how far the alterations in the defence production programme will result in a reduction in the number of aircrew required for the Royal Air Force.
The number of aircrew required will naturally be smaller than under earlier plans; but there will still be a very large requirement for Regular aircrew of the highest quality. There will also continue to be openings for the training of National Service candidates of similar calibre. The number of National Service men accepted for aircrew training will, however, be substantially reduced and they will in future be trained as pilots only.
It will also be necessary to limit the training given to National Service pilots and navigators now in the Service. All those who are suitable will be trained to the stage when they qualify for the award of wings and will thereafter receive advanced training. In addition, candidates for the Royal Auxiliary Air Force will complete an operational conversion course
§ Mr. A. Henderson
asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air what effect any envisaged reduction in aircrew training is likely to have on those civil firms which provide training under contract.
As a result of the reduction in the numbers of National Service men to be trained as aircrew, the seven schools set up for that purpose will soon be closed, and new entries will be trained in Service schools in Flying Training Command. The grading or preliminary flight testing now carried out in two civil schools will also be transferred to Service schools.
In my reply to the hon. and gallant Member for Derby, North (Group Captain Wilcock) on 27th November, I stated that limits were to be placed on the numbers of existing Reserve aircrew who would be re-engaged, and it has now been decided to close down seven of the existing Reserve Flying Schools during the next six months. The effect will be spread as fairly as possible, but account must be taken of cost and geographical location.282W
It is a matter of great regret to my noble Friend that it should be necessary to close these schools, since many of the companies operating them have served the Royal Air Force faithfully for a number of years.