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Civilian Pilot Training Program (U.S)



  • Existence: 1938 - 1946

Historical Information

The United States' Civilian Pilot Training Program was begun in 1938. President Franklin D. Roosevelt supported the program's plan to train 20,000 civilian pilots a year, so the country would be prepared for the number of military pilots that would be needed for the impending war. By 1939, the number of newly Army-trained pilots grew from about nine hundred to approximately eight thousand in 1940. The year 1941 saw 27,000 pilots trained, but it was deemed necessary to train many more, as the United States' involvement in World War II seemed imminent. The Army desperately needed help to train the number of pilots needed. The United States Army Air Forces drew fliers from the Civilian Pilot Training Program, from an additional network of civilian schools under contract to the United States Army Air Forces, as well as from their own training schools.

The Civilian Pilot Training Program CPTP) reached the point where it operated out of 1,132 colleges and universities and 1,460 flight schools. The program trained approximately 435,165 pilots from 1939-1944. Purdue University was one of the universities which ran a CPTP.


Owen, Ruth Eve. Purdue Flies into War: Transforming Trainees into Pilots. Flight Paths. Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Family of Sites. Accessed January 5, 2020.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

John C. Franks papers on the Civilian Pilot Training Program

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MSP 171
Scope and Contents The John C. Franks papers on the Civilian Pilot Training Program include twenty photographs of Franks and a number of unidentified flight students. The subjects of the photographs are the Purdue University Airport, flight students, and airplanes, including a Weaver Aircraft Company of Ohio (WACO) aircraft, and a Howard DGA-18, which was a training aircraft. There is also a photograph of a World War II military fleet. Identifying information is included with the photographs. Along with the...
Dates: 1942 - 1946