Update from the Flight Simulators (part I) ……….
Thankfully the busy Summer season is now coming to an end. The various machines have seen lots of use by many schools visitors and others. Hopefully, we can now get some time for maintenance of the different trainers and exhibits!
The Link D4 is resisting all our attempts to restore the vacuum to operating level, putting all link trainer operation on the 1940’s built ANT-18. More information to follow later on the ANT-18.
Some information on the Link D4 (taken from RAF Sources) is given below.
The motor/gearbox driving the rotor blades on the Sycamore is making horrible noises, so something needs repair or replacement. It has been in position for 1,600 open days so a lot of starts but not many running hours. Hopefully, the installation can be improved when a new drive is installed. Further update on the Sycamore in a later post.
Author:: The Link Team
Link Instrument Flying Trainer Type D4
The “Link Trainer” was invented in 1926 by Edwin Albert Link. It was originally used as an amusement attraction, and it wasn’t until the high crash rates amongst civilian pilots flying mail across the USA that it was brought into use as an instrument trainer. It became widely used by many of the Allied air forces during World War II and helped to train thousands of pilots and navigators.
In the 1950s the Link Instrument Flying Trainer Type D4 was ground equipment used in teaching all phases of elementary and advanced instrument flying, including radio navigation, radio range and loop orientation, instrument landing systems, voice procedure, and flight and engine instrument familiarisation in parallel with the Piston Provost.
Instrument flying is the process of keeping an aircraft in the air, in normal flight position on a predetermined course, when conditions are such that the pilot has no visual contact with the earth. Instrument flying, as its name implies, depends entirely upon instrument indications to maintain normal flight positions and upon radio indications for navigation. The Type D4 trainer provided an effective, economical and safe means of pilot training under instrument conditions.
The complete equipment embodies the necessary controls, switches, instruments, and mechanisms to reproduce realistically all the major flight characteristics and instruments of the then (the early 1950s) advanced training type aircraft. The cockpit and used with controls and instruments identical in appearance and function with the then standard aircraft instruments. Also, the “feel” of flying is reproduced so realistically that if the pilot feels at ease in the training aircraft, he will likewise feel at ease in the trainer.
The trainer was made of a system of pumps, valves and bellows which responded to the pilot’s controls. The inventor used his extensive knowledge in organ manufacturing to connect a vacuum operated motor to the trainer and mount it on a pedestal giving the pilot a range of motion. A student pilot could ‘pilot’ the console to pitch, dive, roll and climb. In training, he relied on the instruments in the cockpit to ‘fly’ the device. The instrument readings in the cockpit are repeated to an instructor’s console outside and used to guide the student. Another important feature is that the actual flight path the student navigates was ‘drawn’ on a map by a mechanical apparatus.
The Link Trainer D4 was produced by Air Trainers Ltd of Aylesbury who manufactured several versions under licence from the US company, Link Aviation Devices Inc, founded and headed by Edwin Link.