Base / Station: Portage la Prairie

 

Period of Information: 1939-1992

 

Integral Units:

  • No. 14 Elementary Flying Training School
  • No. 7 Air Observer School
  • No. 3 Air Navigation School
  • No. 1 Manning Depot
  • No. 2 Radio Wave Propagation Unit
  • No. 2 Advanced Flying School
  • No. 3 Flying School
  • Flying Instructors School
  • Central Flying School
  • No. 3 Canadian Forces Flying Training School
  • Central Flying School Detachment

Structures:

  • Building 7 – Was the base Hospital
  • Building 18 – Water tank pump house
    • Built pre 1952 likely still in use
  • Building 36 – Base Headquarters
    • Built 1940? Still Standing 2020
  • Building 37 – Mynarski Building –
    • Original H hut (Quarters) built 1940?
    • Still standing 2020
  • Building 45 – Drill Hall
    • still in drawings 1952
    • removed to build new officers mess 1952-3
  • Hanger (3?)
    • built 1940?
    • Still in use 2020
  • Building 78 – Officers Mess
    • built 1952-3
    • Still in use 2020
  • Supply Building
    • built post 1952?
    • Still in use 2020
  • Fire Hall
    • Built?
    • Still in use 2020
  • Base Maint Building
    • built?
  • Hanger 2 (Original)
    • Built during Base original construction
    • destroyed by fire started by fatal aircraft accident 21 May 1942.
  • Training “Silo’s”
  • Hangar 5 – Double-Double Maintenance hangar
    • Demolished after 1990
  • PMQ’s construction post 1952
  • Dependant School “Harold Edwards School”
    • opened 1953
  • Ejection Tower
  • Station Theater and Recreation center
    • constructed during original base construction
    • destroyed by fire 9 Jan 1957
  • Butler Building
    • opened for use 15 Dec 1961
  • Outdoor Swimming Pool
    • opened 7 Aug 1963
  • Base Whirlpool
    • opened Aug 1979

Unit Duties / Information:

  • No. 14 Elementary Flying School was relocated to Portage la Prairie from Winnipeg December 5, 1940. The school was located at Winnipeg from October 28 to December 5 to allow for the completion of the facilities at Portage. The EFTS was given the task of providing prospective pilots with wings standard training and preparing them for further training in fighter and bomber classifications at a Service Flying Training School.
  • April 28, 1941 No.7 Air Observer School was opened as   part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. It was operated by Yukon Southern until it was taken over by CP Airlines in January 1942. The purpose of the Air Observer Schools was to train navigators/bombaimers. The school    provided basic navigation training for the observer-to-be before sending him along to navigation school for more advanced training and then to a bombing and gunnery school.
  • April 1, 1945 No. 3 Air Navigation School was opened. The school was opened at Portage la Prairie following the closure of the Air Observer School in order to make use of the navigation facilities available at the base. It was responsible for providing advanced navigation training to    its students.
  • February 15, 1946 No. 1 Manning Depot was opened to provide a basic military introduction to new member of the RCAF. Inductees were also issued their uniforms at Manning Depots such as this.
  • April 1, 1946 No. 2 Radio Wave Propagation Unit was moved to Portage from Torbay, NF. ??WHAT WAS THE PURPOSE OF THIS UNIT??
  • September 15, 1952 Portage la Prairie was officially constituted and reactivated as a flying base after having been closed following the departure of No. 2 Radio Wave Unit in 1949.
  • November 15, 1952 No. 2 Advanced Flying School was moved to Portage la Prairie from MacDonald. The school was a component of the NATO training scheme and trained Canadians and pilots from other NATO member countries.
  • Beginning in 1959 the Flying Instructors School was moved to Portage la Prairie from Trenton, ON. The purpose   of this school was to ensure that instructors in the Canadian Forces were provided with a uniform training syllabus.
  • September, 1964 No. 3 Flying School was relocated from Rivers. It trained advanced students on the Expediter aircraft. Students received their instrument rating and pilots wings from this school.
  • In March, 1966 the Golden Centennaires were authorized to perform at air shows for Canada’s centennial year. The team’s home base was Portage la Prairie.
  • April 17, 1970 the Primary Flying Training School was moved to Portage from Borden and, in July, No. 4 Flying Training School Helicopter Squadron was moved to Portage la Prairie from Rivers. These two schools were amalgamated to form No. 3 Flying Training School (eventually renamed No. 3 CFFTS) with two elements: the Primary Flying School and  the Rotary Wing Training School (later renamed the Basic Helicopter School).
  • The Central Flying School Detachment was located at Portage la Prairie ??WHEN?? to train instructors for No. 3 FTS and No. 2 FTS in Moose Jaw.
  • No. 3 CFFTS continued to operate both its Primary Flying School and Basic Helicopter School at Portage.
  • Also located at Portage la Prairie was the Central Flying School Detachment which reopened in 1981 to train all of the instructors for No. 3 CFFTS and No. 2 CFFTS at Moose Jaw. It is also given the task of providing refresher training for pilots who are returning to flying duties from an out-of-trade posting.
  • 1981 – the Central Flying School at Portage was reopened. WHEN WAS THE CENTRAL FLYING SCHOOL CLOSED BEFORE THIS??

Aircraft Flown:

  • No. 14 EFTS
    • Finch and
    • Tiger Moth
  • No. 7 AOS
    • Anson
  • N0. 3 ANS
    • Anson
  • No. 3 FTS 
    • Musketeer,
    • Kiowa, and
    • Jet Ranger
  • CFS Detachment –
    • Dakota,
    • CT 114 Tutor,
    • CT 134A Musketeer,
    • CH 139 Jet Ranger
  • No. 2 AFS –
    • Harvard and
    • T-33
  • No. 3 FTS –
    • Expediter
  • No. 3 FTS –
    • Chipmunk,
    • Hiller,
    • Musketeer,
    • Kiowa, and
    • Jet Ranger
  • Flying Instructors School –
    • Tutor,
    • T-33,
    • Expediter,
    • Chipmunk
  • Central Flying School 

Financial Impact: $1,378,845 (total cost of BCATP construction   to 15 March 1942)

Commanding Officers:

Date / Reason for closure:

  • No. 7 Air Observer School was closed March 31, 1945 due to the decline in need for Allied aircrew and the decision not to renew the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan agreement.
  • July 3, 1942 No. 14 EFTS was moved to Assiniboia, SK.
  • September 15, 1945 No. 3 Air Navigation School was closed only 6 months after it was opened due to the end of the war in the Pacific.
  • March 1947 No. 1 Manning Depot was disbanded.
  • April 1, 1949 No. 2 Radio Propogation Unit at Portage was disbanded.
  • On September 7, 1964 No. 2 Advanced Flying School moved to Moose Jaw and Gimli.
  • In 1970 the Flying Instructors School and No. 3 FTS were disbanded and replaced by the new No. 3 FTS (later known as No. 3 CFFTS).
  • in 1992 the base at Portage la Prairie was sold to Southport Aerospace and the Air Force has contracted out to this company Primary Flying Training of its pilots. This contracting out of services replaced those duties previously carried out by NO. 3 CFFTS.

Current Status: civilian airfield, all runways/taxiways exist in good condition, most base buildings still exist

Relevant links:

 

RCAF Aerodrome Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. Image frome the RCAF Pilots Manual of Aerodromes and Seaplane Bases circa 1942.