Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum
Canada 150 Vignette – 128 of 150
British Commonwealth Air Training Plan Schools

​No. 5 Air Observers School - Winnipeg Manitoba​
Based in Winnipeg Manitoba, No. 5 Air Observer School was in operation for 1575 days between January 6, 1941 and April 30, 1945 at two locations on land which now is the home of the Richardson (Winnipeg) International Airport and RCAF 17 Wing. No. Built on 60 acres of Manitoba prairie, it is a mix of standard British Commonwealth Air Training Plan buildings – double-sized hangars, h-huts, administration buildings, messes and quarters for officer, airmen and non-commissioned officers, etc.. In its heyday, No. 5 AOS employed 900 civilians including ground crew, mechanics and pilots. Although No. 5 AOS was a privately owned school, operations were supervised by, and training was offered by Royal Canadian Air Force personnel.

Utilizing ground school and airborne training with the Avro Anson aircraft, Air Observers (who were replaced by Navigators later in the war) underwent training which included navigation (dead-reckoning and visual navigation), wireless operation and bomb aiming. Training in navigational tools included aeronautical charts, the magnetic compass, time piece (watch), trip logs, the Douglas Protractor, Dalton Navigational Computer and the drift recorder.

In 1943 with an expansion of the number of trainees by three, No. 5 AOS was moved to new facilities nearby its original location. The abandoned school was taken over by No. 4 Wireless School. No. 8 Repair Depot, which employed 300 civilians, was also located nearby.

Manitoba Historical Society -

The Dalton Navigational Computer
The drift recorder is used to measure direction and magnitude of the effect of crosswinds on an aircraft’s course.