Excellent story.

Thank gawd that our Air Force had retired the Harvard just before I joined the RCAF as a noob pilot in 1966 or I'd still be flippin burgers somewhere, ha!!

The Harvard is a real handful for novice pilots due to it being a tail-dragger coupled with the strong torque properties of a big radial engine swinging a good sized propeller. They often ended up off the runway in the grass after suffering the infamous 'ground loop'.

I was fortunate as an 18 year old just-out-of high school dweeb to go directly from the street to our CT-114 Tutor Primary Trainer that is still being flown by our Snowbirds Aerobatic Team today. Thankfully it is a very civilized & forgiving aircraft in every way - & a lot of fun as well. Even so, the majority of pilot candidates failed to achieve their wings due to the speed & complexity of starting out from scratch on a jet. Because of the high failure rate, that program lasted for only a couple of years when they introduced the prop-driven Chipmunk (sort of a much smaller Harvard) as the Primary Trainer before candidates carried on to the jet.

I envy Ian for getting that chance...