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Flashback Friday: A 1950s Training Film For Helicopter Transition

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This week’s edition of Flashback Friday provides a look at old-style training films.

Some of the military training films from the 1940s and 1950s qualify as either cures for insomnia or causes for laughter when viewed today.

It was serious business, though, trying to explain and teach important lessons to young men who were learning how to become experts for their future assignments.

Shortly after World War II, the development of helicopters – aka rotary wing aircraft – led to new areas of training for those servicemen who did their duty in the air.

This black and white training film from the U.S. Army in 1956 – officially, Trailing Film 46, 2423 – is entitled Transitional Helicopter Flight Training. One can only imagine the rapt attention of those sitting in the dark in the audience, trying to absorb all of the information before they received hands-on experience.

This particular training film explained what pilots could expect in advancing to the H-19. Designed by Sikorsky, the “Chickasaw” was used by all branches of the U.S. military after its initial development in 1949.

Written by Wendell Barnhouse

Wendell Barnhouse is a veteran journalist with over 40 years of experience as a writer and an editor. For the last 30 years, he wrote about college sports but he has had an interest and curiosity about aviation since he was in grade school.