Cydweithredu Ddyry Cychwyn
Teamwork Leads the Way

1344 (Cardiff) Squadron
Air Training Corps

Teamwork Leads the Way

Our Link Trainers

Link Trainers, named after Edwin Albert Link, were flight training machines produced in the 1930s & early 1950s to help teach pilots how to fly by instruments safely.

We will not go into too much detail here as you can read all about them on Wikipedia* Follow that link ;-).

This page is to give you the history about the two Link Trainers 1344sqn owned and their time with us.

Acquiring the Links

This section is under research

The ANT-18

The Army Navy Trainer model 18, c1943, was our operational Link, although not fully operational as non of the instruments actually worked. What made it operational was the working Black & Decker 3/4HP vacuum pump, which worked the bellows that allowed the trainer to pitch, yaw and bank when the stick control and pedals were moved.

While this limited the trainer to tilting forwards and backwards, left and right and going round in either direction without the corrisponding instruments giving any readout, the fact it could do this was impressive enough to those who witnessed it in operation or even had a go.

The hum of the motor and hiss of the bellows and the site of it only just clearing the ceiling and walls in the room it was in, along with the pride of having one of only about a dozen working models in the country at our squadron are things which will be forever ingrained on the cadets and staff who walked past it every parade night. This is especially true for CI Graham "Mr T" Tatnell, who lovingly kept it in operation throughout its time with us.

In May 2013 a home was finally found for the ANT-18 at Boxcliff where it'll be restored to better working condition.

The D4

c1952 this was our static Link Trainer, not in operation as it was missing its base and motor. The cabin could in fact be attached to the base the ANT-18 was on ,however as this model was longer it would have hit the ceiling each time it climbed or descended. The floor beneath would also have required strengthening.

Instead this model was used as a static interactive display, in which people could sit and see the differences between the two, including the yoke control rather than stick and a lot more instruments and options.

Although not strictly correct as the Trainer did have internal lights to see by, the canopy would be closed over the occupant, leaving them in the dark so they could experience what it was like to be enclosed in it. We had planned to add some working lights, including a UV one to light up the luminous dials.

Lost Links

When the announcement came that we would be getting a new building but couldn't take the Link Trainers with us we were faced with the harsh possibility that they would have to be scrapped. Nobody wanted this to happen and so Mr T and several other staff sprung into action to try and find new homes for them. Several possible locations around the country were contacted but with no positive results.

To take advantage of modern social communication the sqn's IT manager had set up in October of 2011  a [now removed] Facebook page dedicated to the Links & Simrod. In March of 2012 posts were made citing the fact we would be losing our Links. The page didn't have many fans though so wasn't spreading this message very far.

But in early April 2013 a man named Colin Green posted asking about the ANT-18 pictured in the banner.

"Does it actually work.??? I am rebuilding a D4 Link Trainer at Boscombe Down Aviation Collection Old Sarum Near Salisbury. This one is 1952 and much more complicated than yours but looking at pics some parts are the same so its just a bigger brother."

We responded that it did and that we also had a D4. He said that if we ever decided to get rid of the D4 to let him know. We did, and were delighted that we could.

And so on Thursday 2nd May 2013, Colin and another member of the collection came to our squadron and together with some of our members (including Mr T) the D4 was loaded onto their trailer and taken away.

Their restoration project already involved another D4 and their plan was to cannibalise ours to restore theirs, although they saw that ours was in very good condition so might use it as the main frame instead. Details of the project are unavailable at present but we will bring you any details when we get them.

Around the same time we got a response from Boxcliff to say they would take the ANT-18. Again they intend to restore it to a more operational status.

This was removed on the 21st May 2013.

Details of this project are also unavailable