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A working flight simulator, no computers necessary

  • Publicado em 3 Jul 2022
  • There are only a few working Link Trainers left in the world: but before microprocessors, before display screnes, half a million pilots learned the basics of instrument flying inside one. More: www.most.org/explore/link-fli...
    Edited by Michelle Martin, mrsmmartin
    I'm at tomscott.com
    on Twitter at tomscott
    on Facebook at tomscott
    and on Instagram as tomscottgo

Comentários • 1 299

  • Tom Scott
    Tom Scott  3 meses atrás +6732

    As a heads up, MOST's Link Trainer is usually only open to the public during special events! But it's a lovely museum, and I'm really thankful to all the team who helped put this video together.

    • Jonathan Weeks
      Jonathan Weeks Mês atrás

      @Albert Sanchez yup, just finished being sold to CAE

    • Albert Sanchez
      Albert Sanchez Mês atrás

      @Jonathan Weeks original Link is in Arlington, TX

    • Albert Sanchez
      Albert Sanchez Mês atrás

      I work for Link Flight Simulation! Now owned by CAE. We have a Blue Box in our lobbies

    • Ftwgaming
      Ftwgaming 2 meses atrás

      @_nayrb someone a fan of syracuse ny? honestly the city takes the spotlight as someone from syracuse but I love to see it!

    • Ftwgaming
      Ftwgaming 2 meses atrás

      awesome to see a video about something at a museum in my home town. I cant tell you how many times ive been to the MOST with friends and family over the years!

  • Arthur Alford
    Arthur Alford 2 meses atrás +4873

    The Link was made to teach pilots how to rely on instruments while flying instead of their own senses. With no visual reference, in a seat that moves and causes your sense of balance and direction to often be faulty, you are forced to look at the instrument panel and rely on what you see to fly properly. And, it worked.

    • Aaron Davis
      Aaron Davis Mês atrás

      It looks like the plane Homer Simpson would design. How many cup holders does it have?

    • SethMethCS
      SethMethCS Mês atrás

      I hope they can fully restore the dials, even if they can’t use radium.

    • DresdenFPV
      DresdenFPV 2 meses atrás

      @Tbarjr or just nothing glowing and invest into a battery powered lamp somewhere inside

    • László Zilahi-Brányi
      László Zilahi-Brányi 2 meses atrás

      @Pancake It seemed so obvious to me that I was sure, there is something that I don't understood. I hoped that I would get answer to that.

    • cr4zyj4ck
      cr4zyj4ck 2 meses atrás +2

      @Icesphere it actually teaches pilots to ignore their senses and trust their instruments. If you fly into a cloud or it's dark, or for some other reason you can't see where you're going, you can think you're diving when you're climbing, flat and level when you're banking, etc. Numerous "alien portal" experiences from private pilots are attributed to non-instrument rated pilots getting caught in random storms, claiming "their instruments went haywire," and ending up hundreds of miles away from where they thought they'd flown. You can even lose track of time in such situations, the pilots may think they've only been lost for a few minutes, but it's been an hour or two.
      Flight instruments. Trust them! They're more reliable than your own senses, because humans aren't *meant* to fly.

  • Raving Cyclist
    Raving Cyclist 2 meses atrás +3054

    I actually flew one of these. My brother-in-law was chief pilot for Southern Airways which used them. It had a "spider" connected to it. That was a small wheel with ink on it that ran across a map so they could see where you were traveling. Wind direction and speed were controllable. They put me in a hurricane. They said I ended up hundreds of miles off course and 60 feet under ground. 🙂

    • DårK Šøûł
      DårK Šøûł 13 dias atrás

      But did you die, bro?

    • VK's ASDgaming
      VK's ASDgaming 2 meses atrás +1

      I think every pilot in WW2-era airplane flying into hurricane will wind up way off-course and gets his airplane transformed into submarine or tunnel boring machine.

    • BariumCobaltNitrog3n
      BariumCobaltNitrog3n 2 meses atrás +1

      "I actually flew" might be a stretch. You sat in a box that went nowhere. Was probably fun though!

    • Patrick Phelan
      Patrick Phelan 2 meses atrás +7

      Another benefit for the Link trainer. Just as every plane used to train rookies wasn't a plane fighting on the front line, every plane virtually fangoriously crashed into the Earth's mantle is a plane not actually fangoriously crashed into the Earth's mantle.

    • Ben Holroyd
      Ben Holroyd 2 meses atrás +9

      Dont you just hate it when they don't implement collision detection correctly. Hope you filed a bug report

  • Robert Landrum
    Robert Landrum 2 meses atrás +3681

    The best thing about this simulator for WW2 pilots was that it forced you to rely more on your instruments to travel than relying on sight, which can be rendered moot by nighttime or bad weather.

    • Hypothermic Dysrhythmia
      Hypothermic Dysrhythmia Mês atrás

      He doesn't seem to be looking at the instruments very much, just staring at the camera and judging everything by how his weight is being thrown.

    • Just In
      Just In Mês atrás

      It only seems natural to navigate with your senses in most other modes of transport. But, they gave you gauges for a reason. if you're 12000 feet in the air. You're not going to be able to navigate like you would on the ground.

    • TheTheatreOrgan
      TheTheatreOrgan 2 meses atrás

      @Matthew Hemke and they were used to provide music for silent films of the time, in the most fancy and decorated auditoriums

    • alset333
      alset333 2 meses atrás +2

      Would love to see the basic instruments (level/horizon, IAS, ALT) fixed up or even simulated with electronics.

    • Aeosura
      Aeosura 2 meses atrás +2

      most likely also provided instrumental training when it came around to the late-evening US carrier counter-offensives at the Battle of the Philippine Sea, among other low visibility/night ops that proved to be decisive victories for the US.

  • Sir Pemberton S. Crevalius
    Sir Pemberton S. Crevalius 2 meses atrás +1814

    Piece is a lot more complicated than it seems.
    It genuinely looks like a 25 cent storefront ride, but it has many more components that make up a plane.

    • ​
       2 meses atrás +3

      @ijemand Bread 🍞

    • j Walster
      j Walster 2 meses atrás +1

      @• I thinks simple plastic dial, with clear letters, and a green led behind those would look cool.

    • •
       2 meses atrás +3

      @j Walster they use some form of luminous coating on watch dials, maybe stuff like that?

    • j Walster
      j Walster 2 meses atrás +7

      it would be cool if they remade to guages to work, but without the radiation problem.

    • ijemand
      ijemand 2 meses atrás +9

      @Shinren_ bread is already way too expensive

  • John McAdon
    John McAdon 2 meses atrás +589

    One overlooked benefit of the trainer was that those candidates who would not actually become good pilots could be more quickly and inexpensively be eliminated and reassigned to another unit.

    • Moolahn
      Moolahn Mês atrás +29

      @Skylined And if they failed that they made them generals.

    • Skylined
      Skylined 2 meses atrás +36

      And if they failed the horse simulator then they got to try out for the cannon fodder simulator.

    • Nupetiet
      Nupetiet 2 meses atrás +84

      Students who failed to qualify on the Link Trainer were subsequently tested on the Horse Simulator

  • The Iron Armenian aka G.I. Haigs
    The Iron Armenian aka G.I. Haigs 2 meses atrás +2653

    I saw one of these at the De Havilland Aircraft Museum, such a neat piece of kit.
    Their one is in working order too :D

    • ParadigmUnkn0wn
      ParadigmUnkn0wn Mês atrás +1

      @Tea And Medals a radium dial held directly against the body (e.g. a pocket watch) gives a dose of around 10 µSv / hour. That means in 20 minutes you get the equivalent of a single day's exposure to background radiation. Exposure drops off exponentially as you get farther from the source.
      Radium dials do generate a decent bit of radon which may be their concern with putting someone in there and closing the top, but it would probably take hours for it to build up to the maximum permissible limit.
      The biggest concern with old radium dials is the decay of the paint resulting in radioactive dust. Inhaling any of that dust is a serious, serious problem. As long as it's sealed inside the instruments, I don't see that as being a problem in this case.

    • Tea And Medals
      Tea And Medals Mês atrás

      @ParadigmUnkn0wnYep, you're spot on all points. It's a shame to see it just sitting there not doing anything due to excessive rules. Hopefully one day the Aviation Society will be able to get some alternative instruments installed and restore it.

    • ParadigmUnkn0wn
      ParadigmUnkn0wn Mês atrás +1

      @Tea And Medals it's sad that they make such an issue of the radium dials. It resulted in the one in this video ending up with stickers instead of gauges, and apparently the one you mention is intact but not allowed to be used. The real issue with radium was the effects it had on the poor gals that had to paint the dials and often even licked the brushes to orient the fibers. For someone to spend a few minutes around the sealed, already painted dials, the exposure is negligible.

    • mpk 666
      mpk 666 2 meses atrás

      Hi Iron!

    • 0lOgraM
      0lOgraM 2 meses atrás

      @Jan Chellini yes

  • David Frey
    David Frey 2 meses atrás +145

    Now that Tom's flown a plane blind, he takes on the ultimate challenge:
    Flying a not-plane blind

    • boli milda
      boli milda 2 meses atrás

      web site if your interested. Also Tom, I’m impressed you did as well as you with out instruments.

  • David Shi
    David Shi 2 meses atrás +224

    I love the fact that Tom has *actually* flown blind, before getting in the Link Trainer

  • Jonathan Tanner
    Jonathan Tanner 2 meses atrás +357

    I initially thought this’d be about something like the space shuttle simulator, where they had electronics but no realistic computer graphics so they put an analogue video camera on a robot arm above a miniature scale model of the terrain around KSC and piped the feed to the screens in the simulator so that when the astronauts moved the controls the image they’d see would be accurate.

    • Ryan
      Ryan 2 meses atrás +1

      I used something similar to that when I visited a German military base a few years ago, they used it for training tank drivers

    • Vigilant Cosmic Penguin
      Vigilant Cosmic Penguin 2 meses atrás +1

      Wow, this is the future!

    • David H
      David H 2 meses atrás +20

      I read that as Kerbal Space Centre and didn't think twice.

    • Ziginox
      Ziginox 2 meses atrás

      Tom even points out the terrain map while visiting the Space & Rocket Center over on Objectivity!

    • John Lucas
      John Lucas 2 meses atrás

      That's awesome.

  • Quill Maurer
    Quill Maurer 2 meses atrás +247

    As basic as everything else seems, that yaw system with bellows driving cranks seems way more sophisticated - you'd think electric motor control at the time would have been good enough to provide a simpler yaw drive (keeping the bellows for the pitch/roll). But it's really cool to watch, has a very steampunk look to it.

    • Music Man
      Music Man 2 meses atrás +10

      @Wolfgang Faust You beat me to it! Link is considered a legend among those of us who collect player pianos and other mechanical musical instruments. He was also responsible for a number of innovations in deep-sea diving.

    • Andrew Harrison
      Andrew Harrison 2 meses atrás +33

      The designer's experience was from his father working on pipe organs (about 1:20 in the video). His skill set was mechanical so that's how he built it. If the design works don't change it - particularly as those capable of improving it were needed for other military developments.

    • Wolfgang Faust
      Wolfgang Faust 2 meses atrás +75

      Since Link was experienced with pipe organs and pneumatics, this may just be a case of "do what you know will work"---that mechanism looks very similar to the sort of pneumatic motor a player piano uses to advance and rewind the roll.

  • John Beauvais
    John Beauvais 2 meses atrás +74

    There’s a story, and of course the accuracy is in question but it goes like this “One student got hopelessly lost, he was running out of fuel and told to follow his checklist, the final step of which was to bail out of the aircraft. He promptly opened the canopy and leap out, attempting to clear the propwash so he wouldn’t be bounced against the fuselage. Instead of parachuting to safety he broke an ankle, consequences of immersive flight simulation”

    • James Steer
      James Steer 2 meses atrás +14

      Probably exaggerated of course, but you can sort of imagine a literal type of chap following the checklist to a T, and then being disoriented by the light and rush of blood and managing to break an ankle. If they ever did use these for escape drills it would have ended like that more than once for sure.

  • Thomas Paine
    Thomas Paine 2 meses atrás +395

    I trained on one of these at an Air Show back in high school. Hey brought it out to the airpark and let us all have a go. it really got me into flying. 17 years later, I am working on my private pilot's certificate and fly regularly in MSFS20 through VATSIM. Such a cool experience.

    • Shaked Halamish
      Shaked Halamish Mês atrás +1

      @Storm Surge Firstly, that is more realistic. Autopilot does exist in large planes, and it is used often. Secondly, most small planes don’t have autopilot. It’s also not necessary to use autopilot to play the game.

    • Storm Surge
      Storm Surge Mês atrás

      So now you just use autopilot and drink coffee and not fly?

    • Diggy Soze
      Diggy Soze Mês atrás

      @Shaked Halamish cool

    • Shaked Halamish
      Shaked Halamish 2 meses atrás

      Have you tried flightgear? It has significantly more realistic movement than MSFS.

    • Jatin Khanna
      Jatin Khanna 2 meses atrás

      Absolute zero

  • Geoffrey Gallaway
    Geoffrey Gallaway 2 meses atrás +351

    There's a guy restoring a link trainer in Urbana, Ohio at the Champaign Aviation Museum. I got to test it out a few weeks ago. I was impressed by how smooth it was, it really did feel disorienting in the same way flying on instruments in the clouds is.

    • ShitHappens 68
      ShitHappens 68 Mês atrás

      @taten007 I just recently became a flight instructor. Go out to a smaller local airport, and just go into the FBO and say you want a discovery flight. You'll get to fly around with an instructor for half an hour to an hour. If you love it, then talk to some people, figure out the best flight school for you, and go for it. It takes a lot of studying though, so be ready for that, and getting your private pilot certificate will run you abt 10 grand for flight fees alone, not counting ground time with your instructor and misc aviation supplies you'll have to buy (charts, study materials, etc). Just be sure to shop around for flight schools and talk to would be instructors, a bad instructor or school can and will absolutely crush your love of flying.

    • slightlyevolved
      slightlyevolved 2 meses atrás +2

      @MaeLSTRoM1997 Not only that, but Urbana, IL is a merged city with Champaign IL, in Champaign county.... AND the Rantoul Air Force Base was only about 15 min north of Champaign-Urbana, IL..... Frasca International, a major commercial/military aircraft simulator company is also based here.... So it's all kinds of confusions.

    • MaeLSTRoM1997
      MaeLSTRoM1997 2 meses atrás +3

      So there is city of Urbana in Champaign county ohio, and then there is the city Urbana in Champaign county Illinois, both of which are about two hours drive from Indianapolis? The US really needs a major update on names

    • Erin Howett
      Erin Howett 2 meses atrás

      There's a coffee company in Cincinnati called Urbana. That nitro cold brew 😍

    • thewiseturtle
      thewiseturtle 2 meses atrás +2

      I wonder if my dad worked with that particular one. He was at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in the late 60's (I was even born on the base there!) and worked for the flight simulation department.

  • William Pitcher
    William Pitcher 2 meses atrás +384

    In the 1980s, I considered becoming a Canadian military pilot and their selection process involved having to spend time in a trainer very much like this one. There was a diorama on a curved wall with an horizon and other features.

    • William Pitcher
      William Pitcher 2 meses atrás +1

      @Lewis B Apparently, I sucked at it. laugh

    • Lewis B
      Lewis B 2 meses atrás

      Why didn't you go ahead and join the military? Would've been awesome

    • Kevin McNeill
      Kevin McNeill 2 meses atrás +3

      Me too, but in the late 60's and you got to shoot at dots on the wall.

    • Urigehead Mot
      Urigehead Mot 2 meses atrás +1

      The Monkey Box.

    • Korakys
      Korakys 2 meses atrás +1

      The Monkey Box.

  • Abigail Blackmon
    Abigail Blackmon 2 meses atrás +68

    Petition to cast Tom Scott as the Doctor. He's already got his flying blue box 🤣

    • True River
      True River 2 meses atrás

      ...and furthermore travelled back to WW2 in it

    • Pat Pierce
      Pat Pierce 2 meses atrás


  • Doug Gale
    Doug Gale 2 meses atrás +176

    The somatogravic illusion is s utterly convincing, it is the reason we even have IFR and VFR (I for Instrument, V for visual flight rules). Any dummy can watch the instruments, instrument rating means you are convinced that the instruments are correct, and that your vestibular system (sense of balance) is incorrect. Human orientation senses are very ambiguous, it needs input from other sources to disambiguate it. A subtle cue can be all you need to reinterpret your senses to tell you that your orientation is changing badly.

    • romanuks
      romanuks 2 meses atrás +1

      @YourMJK Oof, when I was a kid the pilots of a belarussian plane also let me hold the controls, though they said it was on auto pilot. Good thing I didnt die I guess

    • The man in a hat
      The man in a hat 2 meses atrás +1

      @Ragnhild your inner ear canals are full of liquid that sloshes against fine hairs as you change direction. If you keep turning in that direction the sloshing fades so without visual cues it seems like you are slowing down or even going straight. When you in fact do stop turning it now feels like you are now turning in the other direction.

    • Russell Nelson
      Russell Nelson 2 meses atrás

      IFR means "I Follow Roads".

    • Ragnhild
      Ragnhild 2 meses atrás +3

      Of course dizziness is still a thing, but you can end up in a dangerous spiral without getting noticeably dizzy. That’s the problem: the effects on your vestibular system are too subtle to notice, especially when you have no visual cues to tell you that you’re spinning.

    • Anonymous
      Anonymous 2 meses atrás

      @Ragnhild Why? Is dizziness not a thing anymore?

  • Phill Chapman
    Phill Chapman 2 meses atrás +76

    We had a Link trainer at my old ATC squadron and was taught to fly by instruments on it. It was always fun to see how the course drawn by the plotter compared to what you were trying to fly, especially in “bad weather”.

    • Fozzy Bear
      Fozzy Bear 11 dias atrás

      Same. Although I could maintain altitude and level flight for the half hour or so of "flight" time I got, and could make turns as directed, I didn't have the training to even attempt navigation.

    • Gary Morris
      Gary Morris 2 meses atrás

      Same for me! I couldn’t stay straight at all!

    • Jeff Jones
      Jeff Jones 2 meses atrás

      me to i was in the ATC i spent lot of hours in it

  • Baja555b
    Baja555b 2 meses atrás +40

    These were designed in Binghamton, NY ( hour south of where this vid was filmed) and possibly manufactured there as well. Years back I was volunteering a museum collection called tech works which has several trainers from different eras as well as a good portion of the engineering documentation on them. I think a good portion is on their web site if your interested.
    Also Tom, I’m impressed you did as well as you with out instruments.

    • mulchypotatoes
      mulchypotatoes 2 meses atrás

      Yes!! I've volunteered there before COVID and Susan was always showing these off. Great place and cool people, especially for an engineering student such as myself. My favorite was the self playing piano. If anyone is ever in Binghamton, definitely visit Techworks if you like old tech.

    • Daniel F
      Daniel F 2 meses atrás +1

      They used to have a replica at Binghamton airport with a little exhibit

    • Russell Nelson
      Russell Nelson 2 meses atrás +1

      I remember driving past Link on I-81. Disappointed when it ceased to be Link.

  • Chris Horry
    Chris Horry 2 meses atrás +56

    Wonder how many lives this saved, training for night flying is extremely dangerous in any era but during WW2 I can't even imagine! The Battle of Britain museum has a Spitfire trainer but it's just a static device to allow pilots to become familiar with the controls.

    • CurseTheDarkness
      CurseTheDarkness 19 dias atrás

      Fog or thick clouds may as well be night.

    • Owen Smith
      Owen Smith 2 meses atrás +3

      Spitfires were not night fighters, they only flew in daylight.

  • Creamy Pasta
    Creamy Pasta 2 meses atrás +220

    I worked for Link Miles back in the 1980s, it was fun getting a shot in all the simulators, civil and military, and fond memories from that era.

    • Creamy Pasta
      Creamy Pasta 2 meses atrás +2

      @Peter Harrison Yes, I was also at Lancing, the late 1980s though so you'd prob have been there long before I arrived. I recall working on the Tornado IFL sims and then on the Saudi ones that got a platform :)

    • Creamy Pasta
      Creamy Pasta 2 meses atrás +5

      @David Lawrence Yes, Lancing. From there I went on to work in East Grinstead designing electron microscopes. There was a fair few interesting industries in the southeast.

    • Peter Harrison
      Peter Harrison 2 meses atrás +9

      I worked at Link -Miles Lancing in the 70/80s it was very enjoyable and gave me the skills to join General Electric Aircraft Engines Ohio where I worked until retiring in 2005

    • David Lawrence
      David Lawrence 2 meses atrás +3

      Lancing in the UK?

  • R Fletcher
    R Fletcher 2 meses atrás +115

    My mind immediately jumps to think of the RAF Langham "Langham Dome" - which was WWII virtual reality trainer for antiaircraft gunners. Something quite remarkable and sophisticated for its time.

    • JdeBP
      JdeBP 2 meses atrás +9

      I was reminded of the Torpedo Trainer at HMS Jackdaw. Imagine Tom Scott on that, in its heyday!

  • Nick
    Nick 2 meses atrás +126

    My school still had a working one of these in the mid-90s! The air cadets would use it alongside doing air experience flights at Manston. On the desk next to it was a glass sheet over a map where an ink plotter would move along on your imagined course, so you could see how well you’d navigated at the end.

    • Aafje Yakubu
      Aafje Yakubu 2 meses atrás +2

      We had a very similar trainer made by Singer.

  • AnPanda
    AnPanda 2 meses atrás +117

    They have one of these in Duxford too. It always amuses me to see them, stepping out of a multi-million pound full motion sim at work seeing where flight training has come from

    • Valisk
      Valisk 2 meses atrás

      @AnPanda Thanks! Used to go to Flying Legends every year, but not been since Covid. Love Duxford, there's just so much awesome stuff to see.

    • AnPanda
      AnPanda 2 meses atrás +1

      @Valisk yep that's it! Next to the Phantom as of a few months ago when I last visited

    • Valisk
      Valisk 2 meses atrás

      I'm glad you posted this - I was sure I'd seen one there, but couldn't remember. Is it in the American hangar?

    • Rob Boltwood
      Rob Boltwood 2 meses atrás +2

      @AnPanda exactly the same at the Ansett sims in Melbourne Australia

    • AnPanda
      AnPanda 2 meses atrás +6

      @Erik Kennedy he does seem to do videos in batches. The one in Duxford is static though, I'm sure it's restored beautifully but I doubt it works.

  • Lost Melody
    Lost Melody 2 meses atrás +24

    "I'm gonna look back on the footage for this and realize, that I've just been spinning all this time." - Someone who was, in fact, spinning, the whole time.

  • whoeveriam0iam14222
    whoeveriam0iam14222 2 meses atrás +77

    flying without vision and without instruments explains why you were having so many issues with going in circles. the inner ear doesn't register constant rotation at the same speed and you have no other reference

    • LoneTech
      LoneTech 2 meses atrás +8

      Also a good example of how you can rotate fairly fast without noticing. This was way faster than the 15 degrees per hour some people are incredulous about.

    • NöSTer
      NöSTer 2 meses atrás +3

      I just wanted to write that.

  • Ashurean
    Ashurean 2 meses atrás +23

    Mechanical tech is so cool, I know computers can do all of this and more in a smaller package but these things are still marvelous

  • SteelSkin667
    SteelSkin667 2 meses atrás +22

    That thing deserves to be refitted with working instruments, perhaps replicas of the original ones - using safer paints of course.

  • Andrew Munro
    Andrew Munro 2 meses atrás +104

    The pipe organ link is amazing to me - I remember reading somewhere (fact-checkers, knock yourselves out) that until the invention of the telephone exchange, the largest pipe organ would have been the largest mechanical system ever invented...

    • Eric Adler
      Eric Adler 2 meses atrás +1

      it wasn't just pipe organs but player pianos which helped with some of the systems.

    • LueLou
      LueLou 2 meses atrás

      @Caspar von Campenhausen Clock tower pendulums aren't much bigger than you'd expect to see on a grandfather clock, the giant pendulums are a Hollywood invention.

    • Caspar von Campenhausen
      Caspar von Campenhausen 2 meses atrás +6

      Big clock towers? They aren't very complex, but they need a big pendulum to keep the time and a bunch of cogs to move the hands...

    • Church Tucker
      Church Tucker 2 meses atrás +12

      A lot of sailors would question that claim. ;)

    • a cloned sheep
      a cloned sheep 2 meses atrás +15

      "largest mechanical system" feels extremely vague. optical telegraph relays are mechanical, so is the water art Tom featured some episodes ago...

  • 10 ON 10 - Travel & Entertainment

    *If this was in an amusement park the tickets would surely be sold out! What an incredible piece of engineering considering the timeframe...*

    • DigitalDiabloUK
      DigitalDiabloUK 2 meses atrás

      I'd queue up to fly it.

    • Fryncyar Yorvjink
      Fryncyar Yorvjink 2 meses atrás +1

      Don't call me Shirley

    • kooll
      kooll 2 meses atrás +1

      @Daslynnter yes but that kinda just gets rip of why it's special other wise it would be just a Normal flight sim, tho even then I would still be fun. Could also mabey even be a hybrid so it uses tech but also is still is still mostly analog

    • ferretyluv
      ferretyluv 2 meses atrás +1


    • Leophyte
      Leophyte 2 meses atrás +1


  • mytube001
    mytube001 2 meses atrás +100

    Surely someone could get them a new set of working instruments! Doesn't have to be 1930s vintage. Modern instruments have barely changed.

    • Effervescent Relief
      Effervescent Relief Mês atrás

      @DrFod But what if you lick it?!

    • PristineTX
      PristineTX 2 meses atrás +2

      The original dials could have been restored by any watchmaker familiar with restoring old radium dial watches safely. There are modern ways of safely removing or sealing the old paint and repainting the dials with modern luminescent paint. This was simply a rather poor excuse by the museum, probably due to convenience or lack of funds.

    • DruidJaidan
      DruidJaidan 2 meses atrás +1

      @Reasons_Why That's complicated. I mostly was speaking to the availability of traditional "plumbed" steam gauge instruments. They are readily available today and have not changed. Most small GA aircraft (including my own) are still traditional steam gauge instruments with direct plumbing and no computer in between. Hell even if I upgrade mine to something like a Garmin G5, that plumbing of static and ram air sources will still be direct to the instrument.
      As to an airliner, they are a bit more complicated. Your 737-400 had both. The primary instruments in the -400 were fed by the ADC, buy retained their traditional appearance thanks in large part to airline demands, but where not plumbed in the traditional fashion and instead had a data feed. However, the -400 still had fallback instrumentation plumbed directly to the static and ram air source.
      That got more complicated than it's worth on youtube, but the tldr is this: If they wanted to restore the functionality without the radium it's 100% feasible, but perhaps not a good idea anyway. Most of these same instruments are available today and have the exact same internals. The only exception I saw would be the 4 course radio navigation instrument

    • Reasons_Why
      Reasons_Why 2 meses atrás

      @DruidJaidan So in aircraft like the 737-3 or -4 it would have the tubes directly to the instrument display? (analogue systems)

    • DruidJaidan
      DruidJaidan 2 meses atrás

      @Reasons_Why Not in anything other than the newest planes. Anything without a "glass panel" will have tubes running to the instruments

  • Archie Scriven
    Archie Scriven 2 meses atrás +40

    If Tom's in the states i wonder if he could get on one of Iowa class battleships to look at one of the Mark 1 fire control computers.

    • Deanna Gilbert
      Deanna Gilbert 2 meses atrás

      That might be the coolest thing I learned on the Missouri a couple of years ago.

    • Russell Nelson
      Russell Nelson 2 meses atrás

      Syracuse is in the States. Specifically NY.

    • Josh B
      Josh B 2 meses atrás

      Ooooo that would be awesome!

    • Sebastian Contreras
      Sebastian Contreras 2 meses atrás +1

      Probably. They are all preserved as museum ships. It depends where he is, though, Iowa is in Los Angeles , New Jersey is in... New Jersey, Missouri is in Pearl Harbor and Wisconsin is in Virginia.

  • TheTalantonX
    TheTalantonX 2 meses atrás +13

    Tom's prescience shows its one truly limiting quirk: he only knows what will happen when it comes to looking silly on camera.
    Seriously though, awesome video and well done!

  • John Glenn
    John Glenn 2 meses atrás +27

    I flew one as a Cub Scout in the ‘60s. My Den Mother’s family had one in her house! One of the greatest thrills of my childhood.

  • Rick Land
    Rick Land 2 meses atrás +61

    As a double Ace Airscout, and advancced high school student, 1947, I was one of the instructors for dozens of pilots who trained on our Link Trainer. I vividly remember using the tracker and having pilots fly paterns, from takeoff to landing. Yes, our High School was unusual, the principal an enthusaistic pilot and got the school board to have the Link Trainer installed. Sad the instruments do not work, students lived by the aritificial horizon and altimiter.

    • OneMansVoice
      OneMansVoice 2 meses atrás

      so your over 75 years old

    • Paul Frederick
      Paul Frederick 2 meses atrás

      Yes but they all died from horrible radiation! Why just sitting in one of those things is ground zero. The horror!

    • Ragnhild
      Ragnhild 2 meses atrás

      A simulator that’s meant to teach IFR but doesn’t have functional instruments is a bit sad, isn’t it?

  • Mike Fochtman
    Mike Fochtman 2 meses atrás +22

    Should go north to Camden NY. They have a 'wooden boat museum' there. At one time they had a wooden flight trainer that was essentially a one-legged hydrofoil that was towed behind a speedboat. The student pilot would sit in the top of it and control the underwater surfaces with a 'stick'. They could learn the basics of maintaining level 'flying' above the surface of the water and banking left and right to turn. Bit of a precursor to this flight trainer. I believe it was also a 'Link' trainer.

  • Max Cue
    Max Cue 2 meses atrás +21

    Way back in the 70’s I was it the cadets Air Training Corp (Thetford 1109 Sqd) in the UK and we had a Link Trainer. Spent some crazy and enjoyable times in it understanding the principles of instrument flying. Fast forward to the present, I’m now a Captain working for a commercial airline. The link trainer got me hooked with flying.

  • Aldefredger
    Aldefredger 2 meses atrás +18

    i saw one of these in a ww2 training film i was watching a few months ago and immediately thought "that's a brilliant idea" with just the simple calculations for each gage you have everything you need to train not only on bad weather or night time flying, but it was a US navy film so even just regular navigation at sea when your only landmark is water.

  • Derwood Bowen
    Derwood Bowen 2 meses atrás +21

    I actually got a chance to "fly" one of those when I was young. My father was in the USAF and we got a day at a pilot training facility. Had a great time.

  • Kevin Peirson
    Kevin Peirson 2 meses atrás +26

    Ha, I could hear the sound from the ball machine in the background and knew where you were immediately. We have a family membership and bring our kiddo there a lot in the winter. I have never actually seen the trainer in action. Thanks for the awesome video!

    • Breg
      Breg 2 meses atrás

      There's one like that in the Museum of Science in Boston; I thought of the same thing when I heard it!

  • Rusty Shackelford
    Rusty Shackelford 2 meses atrás +21

    Seems like they could use a glow-in-the-dark paint to simulate the radium that had to be removed. Flying with zero visibility and no instruments, people will naturally enter a turn, thinking they are going straight.

    • MrJJandJim
      MrJJandJim 2 meses atrás

      @Titanium Rain that's cool! Though, I've personally not seen those advertised in my area. I'd love to get my hands on something that cool, though, eventually.

    • Titanium Rain
      Titanium Rain 2 meses atrás +6

      @MrJJandJim Use of tritium is still advertised on watch dials and night sights for firearms.

    • MrJJandJim
      MrJJandJim 2 meses atrás

      @Kalli Katzke if you tell anybody about anything being radioactive, they'll flip out and try to sue you or something.

    • Kalli Katzke
      Kalli Katzke 2 meses atrás +5

      I would think about how tritium would work in this, its still radioactive but is what replaced radium because it can do the same job safer

  • 445fhn
    445fhn 2 meses atrás +26

    We had one of these at school (80's) albeit broken. I managed to get it working. It was linked to a map plotter that was a separate unit that moved over a fixed map.

  • IgnatianMystic
    IgnatianMystic 2 meses atrás +19

    One of the most brilliant things about it is that the sound of the motors and compressors running would very closely mimic the sound of a plane engine as heard from within the cockpit, making the experience that much more realistic. IMHO, actually _feeling_ like you were in a plane would make the transition from simulator to actual aircraft considerably more seamless in terms of being able to adapt.

  • Neill Thornton
    Neill Thornton 2 meses atrás +34

    Link Aviation lives on to this day, as part of CAE USA. Still working on modeling and simulation systems for the military!

    • Sir Ross
      Sir Ross 2 meses atrás

      @JBrinx18 I sure hope so

    • JBrinx18
      JBrinx18 2 meses atrás +1

      @Sir Ross you think they took out the radium paint? I work there too

    • Sir Ross
      Sir Ross 2 meses atrás +7

      Just started working here and my dad worked here when it was L3 Link Systems a decade ago. We’ve got one in the front lobby of the main office building!

    • Jay Dugger
      Jay Dugger 2 meses atrás +15

      I work there now. Down the hall from my desk, just past the VR lab, stands one of these Blue Box trainers.

  • Mean mr mustard
    Mean mr mustard 2 meses atrás +9

    Gotta love that even though it was made during wartime they still took the time to paint it like the real American trainer aircraft

  • Skoots
    Skoots 2 meses atrás +10

    Can we just take a moment to admire the fact that in the opening clip, that's MSFS, a personal use, non commercial flight sim, in the background with unofficial helicopters running. ;)

    • ZachFrost
      ZachFrost 2 meses atrás +1

      MOST's MSFS machinery is really freaking cool if you ever get a chance to go

  • Neil Creek
    Neil Creek 2 meses atrás +6

    I was extremely fortunate to have been able to have a "flight" in one of these recently. The volunteers at the Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre in Victoria, Australia have a working Link trainer that they have restored, including replacing all the instruments with working ones. They even had the map table which had a robotic shuttle of sorts that when working (this part had yet to be restored to a working state) would track with the pilot's movements over a map, drawing the course taken on the map with a wax pencil. Absolutely remarkable for a completely analogue system!

  • Vincent Arlequin
    Vincent Arlequin 2 meses atrás +36

    As a resident of Binghamton, where the Link Trainer originated, I loved to see your take on it and how it actually worked. I remember seeing the little blue box in our airport, but I had no clue that that box and others like it helped to win World War 2 for the United States and our Allies.

    • scottmale24
      scottmale24 2 meses atrás +2

      I was hoping this was at Roberson when I clicked on the thumbnail! Alas

    • Charles Ottman
      Charles Ottman 2 meses atrás +4

      There's a Link organ in the Roberson Museum as well.

  • DogsWithPurpose
    DogsWithPurpose 2 meses atrás +4

    I think it’s awesome that it was used as a carnival ride beforehand and then they made it into a pilot trainer

  • Kenny Phillips
    Kenny Phillips 2 meses atrás +14

    My airport had one of these 60+ years ago, still operational. I got to sit in it as a child, don't remember anything! But it's similar to the FAA's disorientation apparatus, which I did have a chance to sample (and kept my lunch inside, thank you!)

  • RSpudieD
    RSpudieD 2 meses atrás +1

    Very cool, Tom! I love how much old technology does with so much less than nowadays. Also, I live in the Binghamton area so it's always cool to see something from our area featured like this!

  • Professionally Hunted
    Professionally Hunted 2 meses atrás +6

    Yes, been wanting a new video on this splendid device. I remember going down the trainer rabbit hole for airplanes and looking for the most retro "simulation system". Then I come across this and how widespread and important it quickly became.

  • Multi- Facets
    Multi- Facets 2 meses atrás +4

    I wasn't expecting that to be so immersive. Guess that's what made it effective.

  • A Milky Way Laniakea Superclusterite

    Tom, please visit the simulator in the UK (if you haven't already) that uses a miniature scale landscape, onto which a video camera "flies" above it all, the signal of which is enlarged onto TV monitors (CRT not flat-screen!) in the mock cockpit.
    They were the next generation simulators after the blue box, I imagine, and it fooled the senses brilliantly. I crave to see it again, the lone still-working room-sized miniature landscape and accompanying 60s era video lens.

  • Violet Scarelli
    Violet Scarelli 2 meses atrás +3

    I'd love to build one of these with a few modern touches: maybe a VR headset or some kind of system that tells you where you are so you can do day flying.

    • Brad Evans
      Brad Evans 2 meses atrás +1

      A modern version could easily be assembled using 'off the shelf' components. I'd use a series of servo and/or stepper motors for the motion system, a 'glass cockpit' navigation system (something like the Garmin system found on a lot of modern light aircraft - they may already have something tailored to suit), and a PC to drive the inputs and collect any data output. A VR headset defeats the original purpose of this kind of trainer - instrument (IFR) flying - but a series of flat screens could add VFR functionality. The main skills required would be to fabricate the enclosure, and to write the code that connects the various systems and makes it all work together.

  • Devin Graves
    Devin Graves 2 meses atrás +4

    This is particularly designed to train pilots how to fly on their flight instruments only, without being able to see outside (like flying through clouds)

  • waterlubber
    waterlubber 2 meses atrás +2

    On the topic of simulators without computer - the Apollo program had an even more incredible solution to this problem. The LEM simulator used a small-scale model of the lunar surface with cameras mounted on gantries to generate the in-cockpit views, as opposed to the computer renders of today. I believe this was also used for a number of other simulators.

  • Adam Thompson
    Adam Thompson 2 meses atrás +3

    My grandfather, a radar operator in Scotland during WWII, remembers the flight line personnel getting so annoyed at his criticisms of poor landings that they dared him to try and land a plane in one of these things.
    The air-side crew were shocked at how beautifully he managed to "land"... with the minor exception of grandpa having "landed" at 100ft below ground level!
    He says he mostly shut up about bad landings after that :-).

  • David Messer
    David Messer 2 meses atrás +1

    When I was learning to fly, they had a Link trainer in the FBO I was flying out of. I spend some time in it. Lots of fun!

  • Rob Norris
    Rob Norris 2 meses atrás +3

    We had those for instrument ground school in college in the 80’s. Shortly after I started, we got Frasca simulators and the Link simulators went to museums. It’s possible this was one of them.

  • Woko Hedgehogs
    Woko Hedgehogs 2 meses atrás +4

    Used to have one that fully worked at my old RAF Air Cadet unit in the 80’s. It was an amazing piece of equipment. Fantastic memories 😊😊

  • Dru m
    Dru m 2 meses atrás +1

    When i was in the air cadets for teenagers, we had a canvas version of this. We greatly appreciated it and knew the history of it. But we never got to see it operate as it was such an antique that looks very fragile in person. To see this operational is an absoloute sight to behold. Many thanks for this video !!

  • plokkum
    plokkum 2 meses atrás +2

    I once flew in a Link trainer about 30 years ago. It really stepped up my enthousiasm for aviation

  • chompy gator
    chompy gator 2 meses atrás +2

    That shot of the machinery when the Trainer was moving side to side(I think?) I could watch that for hours! What a cool piece of engineering!

  • michael howell
    michael howell 2 meses atrás +2

    When I was doing my Basic Training at Ft. Knox, Kentucky, they still had some of the old analog tank training simulators from the 1950s and 60s. We never got to use them but they looked kinda complicated.

  • Jay Dugger
    Jay Dugger 2 meses atrás +4

    I now work at CAE-Link. We have one of these just down the hall from my desk, just past the VR Lab as a matter of fact.

  • RATO
    RATO 2 meses atrás +6

    *in the middle of a graveyard spiral*
    Tom: "i feel like i'm quite level!"

  • ClippedWings22
    ClippedWings22 2 meses atrás +1

    I've always been curious how this trainer worked. Awesome!

  • tallman11282
    tallman11282 2 meses atrás +1

    This was very interesting and cool. I wonder how well you would have done if it had working instruments instead of relying solely on feel.

  • Lewis Taylor
    Lewis Taylor 2 meses atrás +15

    I have known about these and their use for quite awhile, though never learning much actual detail about them. I have always been really curious how they actually worked.
    Funny I end up leaning about how electromechanical targeting computers on battleships actually function in detail before getting an inkling of detail on these.

    • couu alis
      couu alis 2 meses atrás

      "I'm gonna look back on the footage for this and realize, that I've just been spinning all this time." - Someone who was, in fact, spinning, the whole time.

  • RIPxBlackHawk
    RIPxBlackHawk 2 meses atrás

    5:01 I imagine someone walking past this thing and hearing someone inside expressing their sophisticated and well articulated thoughts to themselves about the experience they are having out loud.

  • Ian Borchardt
    Ian Borchardt 2 meses atrás +1

    We had three operational Link trainers in the local Air Training Corps a couple of decades ago (given the work involved in restoring them I hope they are still up). With mechanical spiders for crawling over a map. One even had a remote cabin with repeater instruments for cross-country navigation training. Great for practice flying under the hood (for getting an instrument rating).

  • Benjamin Middaugh
    Benjamin Middaugh 2 meses atrás +1

    My grandfather was a trainer for one of these. Thanks for the opportunity to see how one would have looked like in action.

  • MisterTalkingMachine
    MisterTalkingMachine 2 meses atrás +1

    A device that was very similar to this also existed during WWI, you can see a photo of it if you dig out the August 1919 issue of the Electrical Experimenter magazine.

  • Anna Aira Hála
    Anna Aira Hála 2 meses atrás

    I've been on a more modern one of these! Having no prior knowledge going into it it was almost sickening how disorientating it was, but I've always wanted to go back and do it again

  • Mike Manfredi
    Mike Manfredi 2 meses atrás

    Awesome to see this one working Tom. In Trenton Ontario there is an Air Force museum that has one of those simulators on display but as far as I know has never worked. So it was cool after 25+ years of looking at a non functioning one to see one work.

  • Emerson
    Emerson 2 meses atrás +1

    How completely fascinating! The inventor must have been a genius

  • epicasperigus
    epicasperigus 2 meses atrás +1

    Seeing Tom Scott in a museum I’ve been in many times in my home city is surreal. It’s awesome seeing something so cool in a place I’ve actually been before

  • Patrick Mulder
    Patrick Mulder Mês atrás

    I been in one that worked back in my teens. Lot of fun! Thanks for this trip down memory lane. Kind of curious now if that trainer still works today.

  • Nightelf Mohawk
    Nightelf Mohawk 2 meses atrás +1

    That is super cool and inspiring, I honestly want to build something like this now 😅

  • lanzecki
    lanzecki 2 meses atrás +1

    In the late 80's I worked for Singer Link Miles (yes that link) in Lancing, UK. They still made simulators, although slightly more complicated. They had a link trainer on display in the post offices where customers came. No, it wasn't working, just the blue box on it's stand. There was more chance of getting a go on a 747 sim then even being allowed to touch the link trainer.

  • landshark3509
    landshark3509 2 meses atrás +2

    Link also designed a simulator for one of the Apollo missions - it's kept in a tiny museum in Binghamton.

  • Paul Johnson
    Paul Johnson 2 meses atrás +2

    As an Air Training Corps cadet (UK) in the late 50s we used Link Trainers in our regular midweek evening meetings. Ours was more RAF grey-blue than blue and we had linked maps.

  • Chishannicon
    Chishannicon 2 meses atrás +5

    This is so cool! Had no idea this existed, and it turns out the one you used in this video is very close to where I live!

  • Midi Music Forever
    Midi Music Forever 2 meses atrás +2

    It's quite amazing to pull this off without the use of electronics!

  • SemiHypercube
    SemiHypercube 2 meses atrás +20

    I like how it's dark inside I guess because they couldn't display anything like where they'd be flying

    • Edward Millership
      Edward Millership 2 meses atrás +8

      As much of the wwii operations were night flights there wasn’t much to see outside the aircraft…

    • PsychoLucario
      PsychoLucario 2 meses atrás +21

      it was originally for training for flying by instrument

  • themonkeyhand
    themonkeyhand 2 meses atrás +2

    Amazing how toys often end up as training equipment for warfare.

  • Mauricio de Souza Alves
    Mauricio de Souza Alves 2 meses atrás

    It's so amazing how Tom Scott's videos always bring us quality informational videos full of really interesting curiosities, that's a BRclipr I can respect!

  • Steve J Green
    Steve J Green 2 meses atrás +1

    I flew one of them 40 years ago.
    I got very close to being a solo glider pilot. Only redundancy and lack of money stopped me.

  • Rai Knightshade
    Rai Knightshade 2 meses atrás +2

    I love that the outside looks like a toy plane but the inside has the actual parts of a plane

  • Mo
    Mo 2 meses atrás +69

    "When you said wooden blue box, I thought you’d mean an extraterrestrial space ship time machine flown by a 2000 year old alien, not some carnival ride!"
    ~ Some kid, probably

    • Nadia
      Nadia 2 meses atrás +1

      Is it bigger on the inside?

    • Mo
      Mo 2 meses atrás +3

      @subG Those were the times. I think in Thin Ice, Twelve mentions that he’s over 2000 years old

    • subG
      subG 2 meses atrás +5

      i remember when he was only _900_ years old or thereabouts

  • Larvs
    Larvs 2 meses atrás +1

    I work for an aviation systems company, and we have one at work! It's awesome to see you show this off Tom. Great video.

  • Aaron Paul
    Aaron Paul 2 meses atrás

    You can totally see how they went from this to a flight simulator (the professional kind ^^) ... i mean "all" it does it makes the controls even more realistic and add some visual display which reacts to what you are doing.

  • Tim Spellman
    Tim Spellman 2 meses atrás +1

    Thanks! My father-in-law was a World War II ace, and may have used one of these to learn to fly on instruments. He built and ran simulators for Curtis Wright after the war. More sophisticated than the Link Trainer, but still all analog.

  • Blake D
    Blake D 2 meses atrás +1

    I saw a non functioning one of these at a mesuem once when i was a kid, cool to see a working one. Great vid! 😃

  • Jonathan Fairchild
    Jonathan Fairchild 2 meses atrás

    We had one at the science museum I worked at. It was in the artifact warehouse because we didn't have room in the display area. It wasn't fully operational but it was really cool.

  • Brian Barker
    Brian Barker 2 meses atrás

    that's really cool. I love how technical things were before computers took over

  • Steve Taylor
    Steve Taylor 2 meses atrás +1

    I had a go on one of these when I was in air cadets back in the 70s. It worked fine when you were going straight or banking to the right, but if you made the slightest leftward move it would tilt all the way to the left and take aaaaages to get back up. Perhaps it was getting a little old even then.

  • Ivan Paskal
    Ivan Paskal 2 meses atrás +1

    I can't believe it was used for WW2, but it's nice to see this as a important relic for history now, those war days are gone and I'm glad it can still be used as one of the many methods to learn how to fly

  • 2 dragonfire
    2 dragonfire 2 meses atrás +2

    old analog devices like this always astonish me! not only are the designs super complex, but the manufacturing usually is too. I'm just glad that I live in an era of computers where this stuff is much more simple.