Originally created in 1907 by the United States Army Signal Corps, it expanded as the Army's air assets increased. Candidates originally had to be between the ages of 19 and 25, athletic, and honest. Two years of college or three years of a scientific or technical education were required. Cadets were supposed to be unmarried and pledged not to marry during training.
The U.S. Army Signal Corps Aviation School was first based at College Park ( Maryland ), from 1907 to 1912. It later moved in 1912 to Rockwell Field ( North Island, San Diego, California ). To meet the increased demand for pilots, the Signal Corps Aviation School was shut down during the First World War and its functions moved to other facilities. Between 1917 and 1918, the student training consisted in three stages :
- Ground School ( 8 - 12 weeks, United States ).
- Preliminary Flight School ( 100 flight hours, United States ).
- Advanced Flight Training ( 90 flight hours, United Kingdom, France and / or Italy ).
In June 1918, the Air Service insignia of a winged single - prop propeller replaced the Signal Corps insignia. Two years later, Rockwell Field was closed and just used for storage.
During the interwar period, the training was reduced to two stages, until 1939. In 1940, the Cadet flight training was reduced to 7 months.
On June 20th, 1941, the air arm of the U.S. Army previously known as the United States Army Air Corps ( U.S.A.A.C. ) became the United States Army Air Forces ( U.S.A.A.F. ). The grade of Aviation Cadet was created for pilot candidates and the programme was renamed the Aviation Cadet Training Program*. In 1942, it was expanded to also cover training navigators and bombardiers. For pilot candidates, basic training consisted in three stages before starting Pilot School ( four stages, 215 flight hours and another 2 - month training period ).
In September 1947, the U.S.A.A.F. became a separate and independent service, renamed the United States Air Force ( U.S.A.F. ), but had no service academy of its own yet. The Aviation Cadet Training Program continued to remain as a principal source of the Air Force's pilots and navigators. The U.S.A.F. Aviation Cadet Program ended for pilots in 1961, and navigators in 1965.
* Programme in British English.
( source : Wikipedia )