No. 7 Elementary Flying Training School
No. 7 Elementary Flying Training School, now home to the CH2A, was constructed in 1940 as part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP). By mid-1939, the RAF was in dire need of trained pilots and crews. However, England's size, terrain and climate were less than ideal for such an endeavor. The BCATP (aka The Plan) was a concept devised by the RAF and the British government to resolve these training issues and in December 1939, Canada, Australia and New Zealand signed on to the Plan. Tens of thousands of young men, wanting to become pilots and aircrew were sent overseas from the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries to be trained at these far-off locations. In Canada alone, over 120 training schools were built and more than 133,000 aircrew trained over the next four and a half years. The positive effect of this program on the Commonwealth war effort was immense and it was certainly one of the most significant contributions by Canada towards the winning ot the war.
The main hangar at No. 7 E.F.T.S. was completed in June, 1940 and the first class of pilot trainees began their six- to eight-week course on July 22nd. Up until its closing in late 1944, when no more aircrew were required, the school graduated 1673 student pilots. Of the total of 2267 candidates, the rest went on to bomber, gunnery, radio or navigation schools. Seven young men lost their lives in training accidents while at the school. No. 7 EFTS operated with a civilian staff of 185 and was the first to employ women in non-office positions, having many working in ground support or hangar positions.
After the school closed, many buildings were demolished or moved to other locations around the city. By 1995 nothing but the main hangar remained and it was purchased at that time by the CH2A. Major hangar renovations were completed in 2012 and the facility now houses an impressive collection of WWII-era aircraft, both training and combat, that would have typically been seen during the war and shortly afterwards.