Transocean Air Lines 1946 - 1960
TALOA ACADEMY OF AERONAUTICS
The Taloa Academy established branch offices and training facilities at Minter Field in Bakersfield, California.
This school was licensed by the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) to operate with the following ratings:
primary flight, commercial flying, and basic and advanced ground school.
The first major training contract won by the Taloa Academy was from the
government of Indonesia for the training of sixty cadets, who were to serve as
the nucleus of that country’s newly established military and civilian flight
programs. Their training at Minter Field began with "classrooms in the air,"
sixty hours of flight training in Aeronca aircraft. The second phase of training
was conducted in Boeing PT-13D airplanes, powered by Lycoming 225 hp
engines. In addition to the flight training, the cadets received ground training in
navigation, air regulations, meteorology, and special instruction in American
history and English. English is the diplomatic language of the world, but it is
also `the international aviation language, used by control towers, ground
control stations, and aircraft the world over-which explains the English
requirement of the academy.
|Herbert Webb, director of
the Taloa Academy of
In 1951 the Taloa Academy began classes for pursers, stewardesses, and flight attendants, under the direction of
Gwendolyn Raymond and Kayle Halley, both registered nurses. The curriculum included aeronautical indoctrination,
international documentation, inflight meal service, flight emergency procedures and medical care, inflight service,
professional etiquette, appearance, charm, poise, and airline operations.
U.S. Coast Guard personnel on flying status were trained for wet ditching at the Taloa Academy at Oakland. This instruction
included taking aloft a crew of four or five pilots to 1,500 or 2,000 feet so that they could observe the pattern of the swells on
the surface. The plane would then descend to ten or fifteen feet above the water to show the Coast Guardsmen the flat
spots between the ocean swells where they could "dunk" safely in an emergency.
In August 1958, the U.S. Army completed a two-year training program conducted
by the Taloa Academy that involved more than 2 million miles of instrument flying.
Under contract to the Sixth Army, the academy trained more than 200
commissioned aviators as instrument-rated pilots; they received both flight and
ground school instruction from Emmett Fall, Joe Pruszynski and other academy
Because of the airline's many DC-4 flights over the Pacific route to the Orient,
TAL's training division saw the necessity for a flight simulator which would
duplicate flight emergencies and procedures while safe on the ground.
Operating under Transocean's "can do" creed, Frank Grinnon saved the company
much of the million-dollar purchase price of a flight simulator by building one.
Assisted by Burt Elliott and Harry King, it still required 2,500 man-hours and the
cost of surplus parts and instruments. Their efforts produced a working mock-up
of a DC-4 cockpit with standard layout and instruments.
In addition to training TAL's crews, the academy also provided Link Simulator
training for the flight crews of other airlines such as Overseas National Airlines,
U.S. Overseas Airways, and California Eastern Airways, as well as private and
executive pilots. The simulator was referred to by the pilots as The Monster. A
newspaper reporter once said of the machine: ". . . it'll do anything except fly and
tell your mother-in-law her age."
Taloa Academy was the first division created by Transocean. The year was 1946. It was established to provide ground
and flight training for the airline's flight and operations personnel. As the school grew, so did its reputation. It achieved
acclaim from airlines around the world and from foreign governments for the quality of flight crews it graduated.
Headquartered in a
barracks building at the
north end of the field at
the academy became
one of the largest flying
schools in America. In
1950, it purchased the
assets and name of
Moreau Flying Service,
one of the oldest
services on the West
Coast, and merged it
with its own.
The academy was first directed
by retired U.S. Air Force Colonel
Roger Q. Williams, author of Half
Way to the Moon and Back, a book
written about space travel at least
ten years before John Glenn
circled the earth. Later Taloa
Academy was directed by Herbert
Webb. Many of its students were
military veterans who qualified
under the G. I. Bill of Rights for the
government to pay for their
schooling. The school offered a
wide range of aviation-related
courses so that upon graduation,
its students would be certified for
either flight crews, ground crews,
or flight operations.
Many of those cadets who were
trained at Taloa Academy were
later ranking senior officers in the
Indonesian Air Force. Several
were among the first pilots hired
for Indonesia's Garuda Airways,
which is still in operation today.
Other contracts from foreign
countries included the training of
fifteen pilots for Japan Air Lines-
all of whom were Japanese air
veterans who had been
grounded since the end of World
War II; pilots and flight engineers
for Lufthansa; and helicopter
pilots for South Korea. By the end
of its first six years of operation
the school had trained more than
1,400 students from ten nations.
At its peak, the academy
employed more than thirty-five on
its staff and had a fleet of fifty-six
|Graduation ceremony for Indonesian cadets at Taloa
Academy of Aeronautics, Minter Field, Bakersfield, CA, 1951
|Robert Lang congratulates Republic of Korea graduates
|TAL stewardesses participating in wet
ditching drill, San Francisco Bay
|"Down the chute" Training drill
|TAL wet ditching drill in San Francisco Bay . The ditching trainer is ex-TALOA
aircraft, N93061. It was burned in a hanger fire at Southwest Airways' SFO
hanger on Dec 30, 1955. The fuselage was painted orange and floated with
barrels in the lagoon off the Coast Guard Air Station at SFO
|"Coffee, tea or milk?" Stewardesses in
training at Taloa Academy of Aeronautics
|Stearman training planes in formation,
Minter Field, Bakersfield, CA
Roster of 60 cadets
from the Indonesian
Cadet Iman Soekotjo
Cadet Ignatius Dewanto