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Old 25 January 2007, 01:34 PM   #1
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Lightbulb Life expectancy of a pilot in the Western Front

Does someone have any idea about the average life expectancy of a pilot in the Western Front during WWI?

Thanks in advance


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Old 25 January 2007, 02:23 PM   #2
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Hi Ruy,
Of course the pilot's life expectancy was varied amongst the different nation's services and at the different points of the war. It's been said that a pilot who made it through his first few weeks had a better chance of living longer.

The worst life expectancy rate I've read of was with the Royal Flying Corp pilots during the Spring of 1917 when, according to some sources, it was approximately 10 - 15 days.
Jan Goldstein

Last edited by rainbase; 25 January 2007 at 04:27 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 25 January 2007, 02:40 PM   #3
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This is such a difficult area to assess in many ways- statistically (at least from H.A.Jones War in the air ) british hours flown per casualty (wounded & killed) ranged from the low 92 hours in April 1917 to the 295 hours of August 1916.
How does one rate life expectancy in terms of hours flown - 2 hours per patrol or does this include familiarisation flights - how many flights per day - as said earlier really difficult.
Rainbase is correct however - if as in April 1917 young inexperienced pilots are hurried through to front line service against an experienced opposition whose scouting aircraft could only be matched by a couple of squadrons, those young pilots life expectancy would be awful.
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Old 25 January 2007, 05:25 PM   #4
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Depends what they were up too as well.
An experienced RFC/RAF fighter pilot, in the last twelve months of the war, was a match for any Hun he'd be likely to come across. Put the same bloke ground strafing at twenty feet over enemy lines and he's not much more of a chance than any Sprog.
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