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Young America Flies (1940)

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Four young student pilots, each with different long term ambitions, work to become certified in their chosen field.



(original screenplay)
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Title: Young America Flies (1940)

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Complete credited cast:
Jane - Bill's Fiancee
Donald Woods ...
John Woodward
William Lundigan ...
Bill Brown
Henry O'Neill ...
Dr. Webster
Jack (as William Orr)


Bill, Jane, Jim, and Jack, four aspiring young pilots, enroll in flight school and are assigned to John Woodward, a tough but sympathetic flight instructor. Bill hopes to become a commercial pilot, Jane, his fiancee, an instructor, and Jim, an army pilot. Jack's brashness and lack of discipline cause him to get cashiered as a pilot, but to his credit he re-enrolls in order to become an aeronautical engineer. Written by Gabe Taverney (

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Release Date:

13 July 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Broadway Brevities (1939-1940 season) #10: Young America Flies  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This film appears as an extra on the DVD release of The Fighting 69th (1940). See more »


Narrator: It takes longer to train a pilot than it does to build an airplane.
See more »


Edited into My Country 'Tis of Thee (1950) See more »

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User Reviews

"Exhibitionism isn't tolerated in this school."
4 January 2011 | by (Tucson, AZ) – See all my reviews

With a screenplay by Delmer Daves, "Young America Flies" is a pleasant, enjoyable short film regarding civilian aviation training at Stanford University. The film focuses on four students with very different personalities and goals. Jim (Herbert Anderson, uncredited) is a friendly, willing student hoping to gain a seat in the U.S. Air Force. Bill (William Lundigan) is also a very serious, hardworking student, hoping to be a commercial pilot along with his lovely fiancée Jane (Jean Parker). Jack (William Orr) is like many young people we've met: a brash, cocky know-it-all who feels that the rules do not apply to him. Their flight instructor (Donald Woods) is a very likable man who can be a tough taskmaster but who has complete confidence in his students.

My favorite sequences in this short occur about halfway through when the students take their very first solo flights, as well as during the last couple of minutes when they take their final flight tests in front of a civil aeronautics inspector (Frank Wilcox). In both of these scenes, while each student is up in the air, all the other students somewhat nervously watch from below, reacting favorably when a student performs well, and even finding time to trade witty lines with their superiors.

"Young America Flies" is a fine two-reeler short, but I have to admit that I believe it might be misleading in one respect. I imagine that in real life, flight instructors and civil aeronautics inspectors are not as easygoing as the ones we see in this film.

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