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Royal New Zealand Air Force



At the beginning of 1942 when New Zealand had practically no operational aircraft, a scheme was put into operation whereby training units could, in emergency, be used as operational units. The aim of the project, which was known as the FAFAI Scheme, was that in case of invasion every aircraft in the country could be used offensively and every pilot who could fly an aeroplane employed. To this end, the following auxiliary squadrons were formed: a bomber-reconnaissance squadron of 12 Vincents at the School of General Reconnaissance at Nelson, a bomber-reconnaissance squadron of 18 Oxfords at each of the SFTSs, fighter-bomber squadrons of 12 Harvards at each of the SFTSs, a light bomber squadron of 18 Tiger Moths at each EFTS, an air transport squadron consisting of the civil aircraft belonging to Union Airways, and a composite squadron of Oxfords, Harvards, and Moths at the Central Flying School.

The main purpose of these units was to attack enemy shipping, particularly transport, and it was intended that every aircraft should be a potential bomber. A proportion of the aircraft was to be equipped also for ground strafing enemy troops, using machine guns or light bombs. All aircraft in the training schools were modified to enable them to carry out these tasks. Machine guns and bomb racks were fitted to the Vincents, Gordons, Oxfords and Harvards, and the Tiger Moths were equipped with racks for light anti-personnel bombs.

To allow the auxiliary squadrons to reach a sufficient standard of operational efficiency without interfering unduly with the flying training programme, a week of operational training was carried out between the end of each flying training course and the start of the next. In addition, to ease the burden on instructors and staff pilots at training units, their establishment was increased. page 112 The scheme continued until the latter part of the year when, as the danger of invasion was no longer imminent, it was suspended.