Forging a Nation
How WW1 Tested and Transformed Canadian Pilots
The First World War was the first military conflict where aircrafts were used in large numbers. In the beginning, air planes were mainly used for observing and listening to gather information. As the war progressed technology advanced, enabling airplanes to be used for combat such as gunning down other airplanes and bombing the battlefield. Pilot’s living conditions were much better than solders, but their job was much more risky. Being a pilot in WW1 was the most dangerous role of all. Which makes it not surprising that 52% of airplane fliers were Canadians, who were top tier for this role.
Top World War 1 Canadian Air Aces
Canada's top flying ace of the First World War, officially credited for 72 victories. Described as "The Lone Hawk" for his preference for solo misions.
As commander of "Black Flight" Collishaw was the first pilot to claim six victories in a single day.
Donald Roderick MacLaren
MacLaren was described as "bold in attack and skillful in maneuver", having the most victories of any pilot who flew the Sopwith Camel.
As many Canadian men enlisted for war the use of airplanes was very important. With an airplane your side can get a “birds-eye view” of the battlefield. When flying over enemy territory you can draw information. By 1915 airplanes were starting to be used for combat as well. Being a pilot already meant low chances of surviving, but with combat added that time is even shorter. Only the skilled survived long, most were gunned down or crashed landed since it was so easy to target. The average life expectancy for a pilot was a few weeks, much more dangerous than a solider.