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Thread: Advanced Link Trainers

  1. #1
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    Default Advanced Link Trainers

    Aircrew training in Canada and elsewhere included simulated flying (especially for “blind” flying) in Link Trainers. At the level of elementary and service training, the Link was a pretty basic tool - almost like a carnival ride. However, I note that once in Britain, in advanced and operational training, there was also Link time, often considerable. For example, Gerald Wilfred Allen logged flew Sunderland aircraft at No.4 (Coastal) OTU, 25 July to 20 October 1944 - seven hours thirty minutes day dual, 58 hours 35 minutes day solo, five hours 45 minutes night dual and 14 hours 45 minutes night solo. This included 14 hours five minutes on instruments. He also logged 22 hours ten minutes Link time.

    George Frederick Arbuckle, once overseas, attended No.11 AFU, 21 April to 15 June 1943 flying Oxford aircraft. His training included six hours in Link trainers. At No.22 OTU, 15 June to 31 August 1943, he flew some 50 hours in Wellington III aircraft and also logged 15 hour Link time.

    My question is this. Would the Link Trainers used at an AFU or OTU have differed markedly from those wingless toy aircraft experienced in Canada ? Or would have there been developed, by 1943, type-specific Links for Oxfords, Sunderlands, and other advanced operational types ?

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    Hugh

    My understanding (rightly of wrongly) is that the standard link trainer was utilised throughout training (including on operational squadrons) .... the exercises, with the hood up (or down for instrument flying exercises) were quite complex. I have the training exercise / schedules tucked away somewhere in my archives if you are interested.

    Other synthetic trainers, such as the Silloth Trainer, were introduced later in the war, but I am not sure where these were located
    Main areas of research:

    - CA Butler and the loss of Lancaster ME334 (http://rafww2butler.wordpress.com/ )
    - Aircrew Training (Basic / Trade / Operational / Continuation / Conversion)
    - The History of No. 35 Squadron (1916 - 1982) (https://35squadron.wordpress.com/)

    [Always looking for copies of original documents / photographs etc relating to these subjects]

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    Hugh/PeteT,
    Just a thought!
    Are we looking, here, at the very beginnings of “simulators”? I don’t know, but I would think there were ‘type-specific’ Link trainers being developed. The ‘bomber’ Links might well incorporate flashing (search?) lights, loud distracting noises, even the clatter of flak shrapnel?
    Modern airlines rely heavily on the flight simulators to teach their aircrews – it’s cheaper than spending (expensive!) hours flogging round a real circuit in a real aircraft!
    I must admit that I am a bit surprised, after a couple of decades in this research game, that very little effort seems to have been expended by qualified Pilots in “flying” the modern desk-top flight simulator programmes in solving, or re-creating, some of the WW2 aviation ‘mysteries’!
    I have done a very little bit in this area myself. Nothing terribly exciting. But able, on one occasion, to ‘prove’ that a little twin-engined training aircraft could not have got from A to B in the time stated unless it was powered by 4 x Merlins!
    I would like to know more!
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Last edited by Resmoroh; 26th May 2019 at 13:40. Reason: QSD
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Link trainers in Canada/US were true ANT (Army/Navy Trainer) or C Type

    but Link was also doing specialised Celestial and Crew Training devices
    https://bookwormhistory.com/2017/10/...ion-trainer-2/

    scroll down to the piccy showing the nose over the terrain map.

    So Link time could be on a variety of different devices but for SFTS was mostly ANT/C-2 types.

    Link would go on to produce some "out of this world trainers" eg LEM, Gemini etc for NASA

    In the UK most training was on a derivative that came to be known as the D type - 2 for wartime and 4 for post war piston. jet and Gnat.

    The purpose of the link was enroute radio aid training and beam approach so it was mostly used for this application and continuation of blind flying panel exercises after initial hood instruction was given on type.

    A few home brew variants are listed in wartime RAF Synthetic Training Catalogues published specifically for Fighter, Bomber and Coastal Commands which expanded the D2 for deflection shot training with models running round curtain rail in the trainer room ( the catalogue lists the meccano parts should units want to produce copies)

    Link Trainers were the tip of the iceberg with
    Synthetic Training Fuselages,
    Hydraulic and Fuel Training Board
    Drem Lighting ZZ simulations
    Harwell Box
    Harwarden Trainer
    Silloth Trainers (Hudson and Halifax)
    The Coastal/RN Tactical Floor c/w gauze screen to simulate poor visibility - a much expanded version of the Western Approaches Simulator
    AML Bombing Teacher
    etc
    etc

    Synthetic training was quite advanced wartime but then went into a lull post war with flying aircraft and exercises making training on the job preferred. Then in the late 50s/early 60s the D4 Type and later rediffusion procedure trainers becoming norm.

    Visual trainers were limited by cost with the Lyneham Hercules and Lossiemouth Jaguar being the main UK devices that lasted.

    Ross
    The Intellectual Property contained in this message has been assigned specifically to this web site.
    Copyright Ross McNeill 2015/2018 - All rights reserved.

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    Peter,

    Not even close to the very beginnings of powered aircraft simulators!

    Need to go back to 1909 and the "tonneau Antoinette"

    https://www.historyofsimulation.com/...-simulators-2/

    Ross
    The Intellectual Property contained in this message has been assigned specifically to this web site.
    Copyright Ross McNeill 2015/2018 - All rights reserved.

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    Ross,
    We've come a long way!
    My late father (b. 1896) remembered the newsboys running down the streets of Cardiff shouting "The Wright brothers fly!!".
    Rgds
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Apart from the very earliest days, Link trainers used by the RAF and Commonwealth air forces were not regarded as flying simulators, and tests had already proven that Link's ideal of lowering the cost of flying training, as well as eliminating unnecessary deaths during training was sadly a fantasy. Link trainers failed to impress anybody concerned with flying training that they could provide realistic (and useful) training, and it was found that providing pupils with a course on the early Link trainers made no difference, and indeed lulled them into a false sense of security. Upon introduction to an actual aircraft, the pupils were surprised to find that it flew nothing like the Link, in fact the sensations of flying were a huge surprise. When comparing pupils wholly trained in real aircraft with pupils who had received an introductory course on the Link, it was realized that no advantage was to be had in the latter case, and they still had to learn to fly a real aircraft, in the air. However wiser heads foresaw a niche where the Link could do some good, as Ross has mentioned, namely in instrument flying and in practicing various procedures, at a fraction of the cost of operating a real aircraft. The original "Visual" Links (the ones with wings, tails and "working" flying controls) were only of use in playgrounds, which is why most wartime Links were of the "instrument flying" type, with no flying surfaces, and no view from the cockpit. The vital part was in fact only connected to the "aircraft" by what was necessary to convey the control inputs by the pilot to the instructor's table, including "the crab", which displayed for all to see the accuracy of the pilot's flying the designated navigation exercise on the map. The USAAC, US Navy, etc, may have once believed that the Link might shorten the actual flying time required to train a pilot in the earliest days, but I am certain that they also "saw the light", and only retained them for navigation exercises as had the RAF. So the Link was born as a hoped-for "flight simulator" to reduce the cost of learning to fly (it was originally intended for the civilian market, and hoped that the military might also get up enthusiasm for it), and to obviate the loss of life and/or serious injuries. However it ended up as a rather serious tool to greatly improve the standard of instrument flying in the Allied air forces, as well as some procedures, as its characteristics were totally inadequate to fool anybody that they were actually in flight, and could not represent anything like control forces, the effects of G or other unpleasant sensations, and all the sensations of flight, and interaction between lift and gravity, control and lack of control, etc. Nevertheless it was probably considered a qualified success in the roles actually required of it, as the RAF's main bombing offensive was conducted under conditions where instrument flying (in varying degrees) was the principal form of flying undertaken by pilots in Bomber Command, and frequently in Coastal, while even in day fighters, or training, instrument conditions (including darkness) could be met with even when unexpected. However nobody could mistake the Link for an actual flying training instrument in itself - it just could not do that.
    David D
    Last edited by David Duxbury; 29th May 2019 at 06:29.

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