Seeing the recent posts about the Link Aviation Trainer reminded me of
a recent article in the NWPPA journal on the life Gordon Iles, and the
Silloth Trainer. The following site had been created in commemoration
of a 'lost' Lancaster Bomber crew, but it includes excellent photos of
both a 'basic' Link Trainer (with the stubby wings) and, towards the
end, a Halifax-specific Silloth trainer.
Like the Link trainer the UK made Silloth was based on 'Pianola'
"The Silloth Trainer was developed at RAF Silloth by Wing Commander
G. Iles. Its purpose was to familiarise all crew members with the
procedures for dealing with aircraft malfunctions.
An instructor could enter a malfunction into the control panel and the
crew would have to react and deal with the emergency.
The simulator utilised pneumatics to create realistic aircraft
movement, with engine noise being created by 'organ' sound effects."
Unlike the Link, which was a 'general' trainer, the Silloth was 'type
specific', each unit emulating a specific plane, The first unit was for
the Hudson Bomber and there followed other versions of the Silloth
Trainer for the Wellington, Halifax and Lancaster bombers, the Mosquito
fighter-bomber and the Dakota transport aircraft. These devices were
praised not only for the accuracy of their handling but also for the
quality of the sound effects that were present such as engine and
aircraft systems noise.
Wing Commander Gordon Iles had previously been an employee in the
development Dept. of the Aeolian Co. in the UK and after the end of the
war he purchased the few remaining assets of The Universal Roll Co.,
Aeolian's by now defunct UK roll making subsidiary.
He continued producing both 88-note and also a limited number of Duo-Art
rolls under the Artona roll label ("Art-on-a Roll") until ill health
forced closure in 1982.
Additional information on both Aircraft trainers and Gordon Iles can be
found on the Royal Aeronautical Society web site
Bob Kissick - North West Player Piano Association