Ace Academy: Flight Experience

Ace Academy: Flight Experience

This interactive travelling exhibit was developed by Ingenium – the Canada Aviation and Space Museum. Although the exhibit is currently closed, you can visit their website to download the game Ace Academy: Skies of Fury to play at home! 

 Ace Academy Game

 Check out the more information below on the history of the Royal Flying Corps!

 

The Royal Flying Corps 

Photograph of Captain Grimes with his Armstrong Whitworth FK8 aircraft, dated circa 1918.


Captain Ernest Christopher Grimes (centre) served with the Canadian Army from 1914 until 1917 when he became a pilot in the Royal Flying Corps. After the war, he married Ida Mary Powell and settled in Elora, where he operated Grimes Grocery on the southeast corner of Colborne and Geddes Streets.

During the First World War, more than 22,000 Canadians joined Britain’s Royal Flying Corps (RFC) because Canada did not have an air force of its own. In 1917, the RFC began training pilots in Canada, establishing camps in Toronto, Hamilton, and at Camp Borden, near Barrie.

Pilots trained on the Curtiss JN-4 (Canadian), also known as the “Canuck.” About 1,120 of these planes were built in Toronto by Canadian Aeroplanes Limited, making it the first aircraft to be mass produced in Canada.

 

Photo Gallery: WCMA_The Royal Flying Corps will appear here on the public site.

By the end of the war, Canadian schools had trained more than 10,000 airmen, including over 3,000 pilots and observers and 7,000 mechanics and aircraftmen. 

 

Eyes in the SkyPhotograph of an observation balloon


Observation balloons had large wicker baskets suspended beneath them to lift airmen and their equipment off the ground. 

Credit: Canada. Department of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada / PA-003646

Initially, the Royal Flying Corps acted as the “eyes in the sky” for the army—conducting aerial reconnaissance, photographing enemy fortifications, and targeting artillery strikes.

In addition to airplanes, the RFC used inflatable observation balloons to get a bird’s eye view of action on the ground. Air Observers identified and photographed landmarks and enemy gun emplacements from the air, and relayed coordinates to troops on the ground by telephone or wireless.


Pilots flew with an Observer in the second seat of their aircraft, whose job it was to observe, photograph, and record important information about enemy fortifications, gun emplacements, and troop movements. 

 

Photo Gallery: WCMA_Eyes in the Sky will appear here on the public site.

 
As the war progressed, airplanes were also used to strafe enemy trenches, bomb strategic targets, and engage enemy aircraft in “dogfights.” 

 

Photograph of wing-mounted machine gun fired by an airmen Wing-mounted machine guns allowed airmen to shoot at enemy aircraft without hitting their own plane’s propeller. 

Credit: Canada. Department of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada / PA-022852

 

Dressing for the Job

Photograph of Flyers of Jasta 71 treated for frostbite at their aerodrome in Habsheim, Germany (now France), 1918


Flyers of Jasta 71 treated for frostbite at their aerodrome in Habsheim, Germany (now France), 1918. 

Credit: Collection of Phil Dietrich

Flying in an open cockpit at 17,000 ft exposed airmen to extreme cold, with air temperatures as low as –35°C in the winter months. In order to stay warm in the air, pilots wore many layers of insulating clothing and covered any exposed skin with whale oil to prevent frostbite.



Photograph of Leutnant Strassberger and Unteroffizier Wörle of Jagdstaffel “Jasta” 71 in Habsheim, Germany (now France) in 1918.

For a typical cold weather mission, a pilot might wear:

  • Silk underwear beneath woolen underwear
  • Knit vest
  • Silk inner shirt beneath wool outer shirt
  • Sweater or pullover
  • Wool-lined flying suit
  • Fur-lined flying boots
  • Silk inner gloves beneath fur-lined outer gloves (gauntlets)
  • Silk scarf to prevent drafts around the neck
  • Balaclava to protect head, face and neck
  • Leather flying helmet
  • Flying goggles

 

Leutnant Strassberger and Unteroffizier Wörle of Jagdstaffel “Jasta” 71 in Habsheim, Germany (now France), 1918. Jasta 71 was a “hunting group” or fighter squadron of the Luftstreitkräfte, the air arm of the Imperial German Army. 

Credit: Collection of Phil Dietrich

 

 

Photograph of Captain Ernest Christopher Grimes

Royal Flying Corps Slang

 

 

Graphic image icon for sound


Listen to Captain Ernest Christopher Grimes’ experience as a pilot in France in 1917

Do you recognize any slang terms?

 

Credit: Adapted from the diary of Ernest Christpher Grimes, Wellington County Museum and Archives A2003.102 

 

Below is a list of slang terms that the airmen of Royal Flying Corps invented.

 

The airmen of the Royal Flying Corps invented slang words to describe equipment, activities, and daily life.

Ace                  Pilot with 5 or more confirmed kills

Ack-Ack           Anti-aircraft fire

Archie              Anti-aircraft fire

Blighty             England

Boche              German soldier

Brass               High-ranking officer

Bus                  Airplane

Hun                 German soldier

Lay Eggs          Drop bombs

Taube              German airplane

Tommy            British soldier

Sausage          Observation balloon

Windy             Scary, or fearful

 

 

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