[Received December 20, 1917]

Northolt Aerodrome

November 22, 1917

Dear Father:

Today has been the most satisfactory day I have spent since I joined the army. And all just because of 40 minutes of the day. Forty minutes of flying. I have actually and at last done the thing, and proclaim it the king of sports.

Before breakfast, Lieut. Holland took me up for a 15 minute joy ride. I had my feet and hands on the controls but he did all the flying—I received the sensations. We “taxied” out onto the field, headed into the very slight breeze and opened the throttle. As we gained speed the jolting from the wheels on the ground became less and less until we were entirely free of the jolting and the ground was receding away and passing rapidly to the rear. The engine made considerable noise and some vibration, but our motion was straight and uniform. We were up fifty feet when he pulled our nose up and we rose rapidly and smoothly—I feeling considerable of the shoot [sic] sensation which muchly pleased me. We flew all about turning in every direction and rising and falling between 500 and 10 feet up. It surely was wonderful. He would put us around a quick turn and dive down into a flock of sheep. They appeared to grow large as we descended as if looking through a giant magnifying glass as it was being moved farther away. And you should see how they scattered and stampeded away from us in all directions. Just as we got close to the ground he would pull her nose up and Hoops my dear up up up we would shoot to turn and dive again onto a clump of trees or a railroad station.

Sometimes I would try to concentrate on the balance of the machine and the position of the controls. At these times I would lose all sense of direction and locality. When you make a smooth turn with the correct bank on you cannot feel how much you are turning. We landed as nicely as we had gotten off, and taxied back to the hangar.

In the middle of the morning it got very cloudy and drizzled a bit. However it cleared a little and I got another flight of 25 minutes before lunch. This time we tried very plain straight flying. I flew her on the straight aways and he managed it on the turns. We made a landing and ascended again. This afternoon was a bit uncertain. He took a couple of men up but did not get around to me. I am expecting to go up early tomorrow morning. They say that if we get good weather we will be ready to leave here for a more advanced school in two weeks.

I must close now. Will finish up about London and the general information about this school in my next.

I forgot to number my last one that I mailed from Piccadilly Hotel. It was #3. This is #4.




Parr Hooper

U. S. Aviation Section

In training with R.F.C.

c/o American Embassy, Hotel Goring, London, Eng.

Parr’s instructor was William Ernest Bertram Holland. A year younger than Parr, he was originally in the Scottish Horse, but attached to the R.F.C. since at least September 1916, when his R.A.F. record indicates he was at Oxford. There followed stints in various reserve and training squadrons; he became an assistant instructor at No. 2 Training Squadron on November 10, 1917.138