A Link Trainer is a simple flight simulator named after its inventor, Edward A. Link. The Link Trainer was put in operation in Douglas on July 3, 1942 (Interview with H. D. Bush). It was often difficult to get parts for the Trainers, resulting in significant downtime and much overtime for enlisted men who tried to maintain the trainers.
Students were given five hours of Link training as part of their training at Douglas.
Teaching aids used by the ground school instructors included: a magnetic compass mounted on a tripod with the purpose of demonstrating compass compensating; a mockup of a compass, including compass card, window and lubber line, for practice in reading compass indications; wooden models of the E-6B computer; a mockup of an altimeter; a cardboard propeller to teach pitch angle and angle of attack; a cross-section of a carburetor; and a cut-away Continental seven cylinder airplane engine (Interview with Massey).
Flying Training in the PT-17
The only training plane model used at Douglas was the PT-17, also known as the Stearman, a two-seat 220 horsepower biplane. The average ratio of instructors to students was 4.5 to 1, and the average ratio of planes to students was 5 to 1. The number of planes available ranged from 40 in December 1941 to 78 in December 1942.
For more on the Stearman, click here.
Edwards, Eddy (2005). The Last Class: Based on a True Story.
Interview with T/Sgt. H. D. Bush, Link Trainer Department, on December 21, 1943, as cited in The History of the Douglas Primary School, compiled by Theodore F. Meltzer, 2nd Lt., Air Corps.
Interview with Joseph T. Massey, Director of Ground School, on January 17, 1944, as cited in The History of the Douglas Primary School, compiled by Theodore F. Meltzer, 2nd Lt., Air Corps.