Tuesday [May 11, 1918]
Have been putting off writing until I had soloed. Expected to do so two weeks ago, but bad weather interfered and delayed me. However, finally got away with my tryout last Friday, passed it and then took to the air alone for my first solo flight. Got off the water all right and then completed the two fifteen mile rounds of the bay. Was up 40 minutes. Got along fine but I surely did have a sort of feeling of, “oh, why did they let me go up”, when I hit the first air bumps. Have been going fine since then and have in 10.20 hrs in the air alone now. My first few rounds of the bay rather resembled a snake’s path, but am getting better now. I have been up 3100 feet by myself tho went up 6300 once with an instructor. Will get in 3 and a half hrs a day from now on as have passed my 10 hrs of solo. Up to 10 you’re only allowed an hour and a half. Wish that Horace could come down here and see the planes and flying boats we have. All the big boats are equipped with Liberty motors and they are all performing marvelously. Don’t think that he would say that the Navy wasn’t well-equipped. There seems to be no scarcity of the Liberty motors as far as our needs are concerned. We have an English captain from the Royal Naval Air Corps attached to the station now to assist in instruction on the big boats.
He is some flyer, has two German planes and one submarine to his credit. Hope and expect that I should qualify and get my commission by the last of July. We have besides the elementary flying, to qualify in the big boats now before we are thru. Will get a two weeks furlough when I finish and then will probably be sent to one of the elementary training stations for a couple of months training in executive work. The hope is to train us so that we will be able to handle any sort of job when we go across. Don’t think that there’s any chance of any of our company going across until late in the fall so there’s no need to worry about my being rushed across.
We are working pretty steadily now from 6 a.m. till 8:30 p.m. as we have classes and then we clean the planes up at night. Am getting so brown that don’t think you will know me. You all never did say whether you received that company picture of us at Tech. Will send Carl‘s uniform this weekend as had to have the coat realtered first. I had the bottom pockets taken off for my use as we only have two on our uniform and then when I got your letter had to have them put back on which was some job.
In regard to the matter with Mr. Hughes have written him and will take care of that myself so don’t bother about it.
Tell Bell enjoyed her letter lots.
Love to all, John.
P.S. don’t let the fudge and chocolate cake stop. I need them.