Welcome to
The Cimarron Field and Mustang Field Museum!

Our  primary goal is to preserve and present the history of Cimarron Field  and Mustang Field, two United States Army Air Forces Primary Flight  Training fields operating during World War II.   The museum is located  at Clarence E. Page Airport in Yukon, Oklahoma.   This was Cimarron  Field during the war and was operated by Clarence Page and other  investors.  Mustang Field, 8 miles west in El Reno, Oklahoma, served a  similar role and was also run by Mr. Page.  This museum exists to honor  the sacrifices of our Greatest Generation of Americans, especially the  23 killed at the two bases and the many pilots who lost their lives in  World War II after leaving Cimarron Field and Mustang Field.  Additional  exhibits highlight aircraft and engines of the Cold War and honor the  glory days of large piston-engined aircraft.  

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CIMARRON FIELD & mustang field HISTORY

  

Cimarron Field History:   Clarence E. Page Airport during World War II was Cimarron Field, one of  about 62 contract Primary Flight Schools training pilots for the United  States Army Air Corps (USAAC) / Army Air Forces.  Clarence Page was one  of the principal owners of the flight school.  Cimarron Field was  renamed Clarence E. Page Airport on Labor Day 1978.
•Civilian  instructors taught military aviation cadets at the school.   Primary  Flight Training was the first course of flying for a potential pilot.   4,089 cadet pilots were graduated from Cimarron Field during its  operation from March, 1941, eight months before Pearl Harbor, through  August 1, 1944.  Schools including Cimarron were gradually closing as  the need for new pilots diminished.
•The aircraft type used at  Cimarron was the Fairchild PT-19 Cornell, an open-cockpit aircraft with  wood wings and tail and a fabric covered fuselage.  Strategic materials  such as aluminum were saved for combat and transport aircraft.  Most of  the PT-19s had no electrical system so starting was by hand crank.   Communication between the instructor in the front and the cadet in the  back was via the gosport system, whereby the instructor spoke into a  funnel connected back to rubber tubes that went to each of the cadet’s  ears.   It was a one-way system!
World War II Begins and U.S. Military Buildup:  Hitler’s military invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, beginning World  War II.  The U.S. would not enter the war for over two years, when the  Japanese carried out the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7,  1941.  The U.S. initially declared neutrality in September, 1939.  Its  stated policy was to stay out of the war if possible but to keep the  Axis Powers out of the Western Hemisphere.  The U.S. soon loosened its  neutrality stance by offering lend-lease military equipment aid first to  Great Britain starting in March, 1941, and later to Russia and 43 other  countries.  In January, 1939, the USAAC was a very minimal force,  ranking 7th in the world in military aircraft with only 1,700 aircraft  including trainers and 1,600 officers and 18,000 enlisted men.  By  contrast, our future enemies had much larger air forces in 1939:   Germany had 9,000 to 10,000 aircraft
•General Henry H. “Hap” Arnold,  Commander of the USAAC, sought to dramatically increase pilot training,  with the eventual goal to train 200,000 pilots.  Randolph Field, Texas,  the Only USAAC pilot school, was woefully inadequate to train the pilots  needed as its facilities could only train about 500 pilots annually.   Hap Arnold devised a plan to let civilian pilot training schools conduct  the first phase of Army pilot training, called Primary Flight  Training.  Contract Primary Schools began training pilots in late 1939  .  Cimarron Field was among the first 26 schools.  After the U.S. joined  the war, the number of contract primary schools would swell to 62.
Cimarron Field Early History:   The construction site had to be out of the major air routes from  Oklahoma City to Wichita and to Dallas, and from Oklahoma City to  Amarillo.  The 240 acres of land (later expanded to 400) was purchased  in January, 1941.  Buffalo wallows had to be filled in during the  construction .  Hangars, barracks, ground school buildings, the  administration building, and canteen were all constructed over the next  two months.  The school was dedicated on March 23, 1941 and was ready to  accept its first class of cadets later that month.  Four auxiliary  fields were constructed primarily to practice takeoffs and landings away  from the busier Cimarron Field.  Many classes of West Point Cadets  trained at Cimarron.  Only 3 of 62 schools  were approved for that  mission.
Cimarron Field Was an Interesting Mix of Civilian and Military Personnel:
–Civilian :  Primary flight instructors, ground school instructors, aircraft mechanics, office workers
–Military  Contingent:  Base Commanders Robert L. Johnston, Charles J. Long, and  Finally Robert A. Stover.  Army Check Pilots gave final flight test to  pass or fail a cadet.  Commandant of Cadets, Adjutant, doctors, and many  others were military.
Course of Training for a Cadet at Cimarron Field: 
–Ground school courses in engines, navigation, aerodynamics, aircraft structures, mathematics, meteorology, etc. 
–65 hours of flight instruction to be completed in 10 weeks including some aerobatics. 
–Link Trainer instrument training.
Cimarron Field Expansions:  The  USAAC/US Army Air Forces (after 6/20/41) asked  Cimarron Field to step  up the number of cadets training on several occasions.  A third hangar  was under construction in December, 1941, and a fourth would later be  built.   Hangars three and four still exist today while all other base  buildings are gone.
Mustang Field Is Built After Cimarron Expands to Its Capacity:   The USAAF asked that the pilot output be increased  at Cimarron again  in the summer of 1942 .  Cimarron had grown all it could, so a 2nd field  named Mustang Field was constructed in El Reno.  Four hangars were  built there.  It was also operated by Clarence Page and other  investors. 
Training at Cimarron and Mustang Peaks:   At the peak of training, each base had at least 500 cadets, 100 PT-19s,  and sufficient instructors and mechanics.   Cimarron Field statistics:
–First class graduated May, 1941 with 24 graduates.  Last class graduated August, 1944 with 177 graduates.
–Total cadets enrolled 6,078 in 34 classes.  Total cadets graduated 4,089 (67.3%)  Total cadets washed out 1,989 (32.7%)
–At least 150 PT-19s crashed during training causing significant damage.
Cimarron Field Fatalities:   At least 10 in flying accidents, 1 hit by propeller on the ground, 1  laborer fell off of a ladder and was killed.   Total of 12.
•Mustang Field Fatalitites::  At Least 11 killed in flying accidents.
Cimarron Flight Training was Year Round: These  open cockpit aircraft were flown all year round, including winter.   Pilots wore heavy leather flying jackets and pants for flying in the  winter.  If the temperature was below 15 Degrees, flying was  cancelled.   With open cockpits, flying was cancelled if it rained.
The Cimarron Field / Mustang Field Museum:  This  museum exists to honor the sacrifices of our Greatest Generation of  Americans, especially the 23 killed at the two bases and the countless  pilots who lost their lives in World War II after leaving Cimarron Field  and Mustang Field.