The Link Trainer
The ANT-18 (Army Navy Trainer) was an early form of flight simulator and was extensivley used for many years by the Royal Air Force to train pilots. This curious machine featured rotation through all three axies, effectivley simulating all flight instruments and moddled common conditions such as pre stall buffeting, overspeed of the retractable undercarriage and spinning. It was fitted with a removable blind canopy, which would simulate instrument only flying and navigation training.
The ANT-18 consisted of two main components. The trainer 'aircraft' is connected via a universal joint to a base. Inside the cockpit is a pilots seat and aircraft controls. The base is made up of several complicated air driven bellows which inflate and deflate to simulate movement and a vacuum pump which both drives the bellows and provides input to a number of aircraft instruments.
The second component is the instructors station, which consisits of a large map table, a repeated display of the flight instruments and a moving marker know as the crab. The crab moves across the glass surface of the map table plotting the pilots track. The instructor and pilot can communictae via headphones. The photos here are of a working ANT-18 at the Boscombe Down Air Collection.
The original machine from Blakehill is sadly lost.
The location of the link trainer building is marked on the original plan as being in the area off the technical site