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Thread: Link Trainer and X-Plane

  1. #1

    Link Trainer and X-Plane

    EAA Chapter 44 in Rochester NY owns a 1960’s Link General Aviation Trainer (GAT-1.) It is currently INOP and our Chapter electrician has been trying to get it running on the old electronics for several years. If and when he does, we want to try to marry it with X-Plane, to have them communicate with each other and to work together to provide a full-motion, 3-axis experience with either 3-monitors in the cockpit or an Occulus Rift headset. That’s the goal.

    But first we have to get it running. So I have two questions: Does anyone out there have experience with Link Trainers and getting them running? And, does anyone know if these two CAN be married or if they already HAVE been joined in Holy Simlock. Chapter 44 would appreciate any leads. Thanks.

    Bob Nelligan-Barrett
    EAA Chapter 44
    Rochester NY

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Trailbossbob View Post
    EAA Chapter 44 in Rochester NY owns a 1960’s Link General Aviation Trainer (GAT-1.) It is currently INOP and our Chapter electrician has been trying to get it running on the old electronics for several years. If and when he does, we want to try to marry it with X-Plane, to have them communicate with each other and to work together to provide a full-motion, 3-axis experience with either 3-monitors in the cockpit or an Occulus Rift headset. That’s the goal.

    But first we have to get it running. So I have two questions: Does anyone out there have experience with Link Trainers and getting them running? And, does anyone know if these two CAN be married or if they already HAVE been joined in Holy Simlock. Chapter 44 would appreciate any leads. Thanks.

    Bob Nelligan-Barrett
    EAA Chapter 44
    Rochester NY
    These people in Australia have been working on a Link Trainer project which was well on the way when I saw it a year ago.
    Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre
    Location: Nhill Aerodrome, VIC, 3418

    P: +61 490 657 770
    E: nahc3418@gmail.com

  3. #3
    rwanttaja's Avatar
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    I've got experience with a Link ANT-18, the WWII model, but that wouldn't apply much, here. The ANT-18 was, basically, an analog computer using vacuum instead of electronics.

    When you say, "get it running," what's the state, now? When you power up, does it just sit there, or....?

    From NASA report NASA-CR-86294, it appears that the aircraft information such as pitch, roll, rate of climb, etc. is available at the slip rings under the cabin.

    https://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?R=19700005776

    Page 15 has a signals list; don't think it's a complete one, though. You would need something to do the Analog to Digital conversion and the appropriate port into the X-plane world.

    Ron Wanttaja

  4. #4

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    The museum I work for part-time has a WWII vintage link trainer. They worked with some local group to restore it to (mostly) working order.

    Responding to the original thread; I know a guy who worked on newer Link trainers for the military, T37, C130, Chinook, etc. I can get in touch and see if the GAT-1 is something he might be able to help with.

  5. #5
    Sure I'd appreciate it. I'm not the member directly working on this but I am one who wants to see it "fly." Thanks for your help.

  6. #6
    rwanttaja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tench745 View Post
    The museum I work for part-time has a WWII vintage link trainer. They worked with some local group to restore it to (mostly) working order.
    WWII Link Trainers are completely different from the GAT-1. The WWII link (ANT-18) is an analog computer working in vacuum instead of electricity. There's an "altitude" tank that has air drawn out when the plane climbs, there's a manifold that "stores" your airspeed, which gets bled off or added to by throttle position, valves hooked to the aircraft pitch, etc. Yes, there's lots of electronics, but it's mostly to aid monitoring the aircraft status.

    Led a team of CAP cadets, restoring one, almost 50 years ago. Great fun.

    Ron Wanttaja

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by rwanttaja View Post
    WWII Link Trainers are completely different from the GAT-1. The WWII link (ANT-18) is an analog computer working in vacuum instead of electricity. There's an "altitude" tank that has air drawn out when the plane climbs, there's a manifold that "stores" your airspeed, which gets bled off or added to by throttle position, valves hooked to the aircraft pitch, etc. Yes, there's lots of electronics, but it's mostly to aid monitoring the aircraft status.

    Led a team of CAP cadets, restoring one, almost 50 years ago. Great fun.

    Ron Wanttaja
    Thanks for the extra info, Ron.

    I've been neck deep in our WWII link trainer. It's a spaghetti of hoses and really neat pneumatic/mechanical features. Sadly, they removed all the original instruments for fear of the radium dials.

    I've mentioned the GAT-1 project to my friend and will let you know what he says.

  8. #8

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    I've talked to my friend. Sadly, it's just a bit too far away for him to bite. Say's he's never worked on a civilian model anyway.

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