Winging It: The Home Front Pilots

The attention switches to the defence at home, and the story of the civilian organisation known as the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) who played a vital role during World War II.

spitfire

The attention switches to the defence at home, and the story of the civilian organisation known as the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) who played a vital role during World War II.

Originally set up to transport mail and medical supplies, the civilian organisation were soon required to make sure Hurricanes, Mosquitoes, Spitfires, Mustangs and Lancasters reached where they needed to go.

Called upon to ferry military planes of all types between airfields, factories and maintenance units, ATA pilots and crews were faced with bad weather and operational adversities, as well as being asked to fly planes they had never flown before. But despite these obstacles, the ATA, during the six years of the war, delivered over 300,000 planes to various key destinations.

The ATA members were often those who failed to get into the RAF because of physical disability. But if they could fly a plane the ATA needed them, and members included those with short sightedness and physical disabilities. ATA members also included over 150 female pilots.

With tales of heroism, laughter and loss, the unheralded and sometimes often forgotten contribution by the ATA is finally given the credit it deserves.