‘Going downhill’: the consequences of the Stabilisation Scheme on Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain and into 1941

  • Stephen Moore Newcastle University


By September 1940 the quality of pilots supplied to Fighter Command had become unacceptably low. Reducing earlier stages of training was meant to be replaced by increased Operational Training Unit instruction, but this merely provided conversion to operational type. To preserve the first-line fighter force Fighter Command adopted a ‘Stabilisation Scheme’, relegating a third of squadrons to a training role. Pilot demand remained high and the Stabilisation Scheme was retained until pilot numbers in first-line squadrons were finally satisfactory in June 1941, and the need for training squadrons disappeared, despite increases in flying accidents during 1941.