Into the Sky: Primary Flying School By When the United States entered World War II in December 1941, the U.S. Army Air Forces continued with the type of pilot training program it had originally established in 1939 -- primary flying school operated by civilian companies under contract, and basic and advanced flying schools operated by the USAAF. The civilian primary schools had been started by 10 civilian contractors without contracts -- all they had was an urgent plea from Gen. Hap Arnold and his statement that he thought he could get the necessary funds from Congress the next year. Fortunately, the schools were already well in operation at the time of Pearl Harbor. The civilian schools used Stearman, Ryan and Fairchild trainers owned by the USAAF, but their flight instructors were civilian employees. Each cadet received 60 hours of flight training in nine weeks before moving on to basic flying school. Click here to return to the AAF Training During WWII Overview.