Australian & New Zealand Military Aircraft Serials & History

RAAF A63 Link Celestial Navigation Trainer

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  Link CNT 01

Celestial Navigation Trainer Image Gallery

  The early Link series of Trainers were designed specifically for pilot training, but as the war continued and long-range aircraft were introduced, it became necessary to co-ordinate the training of aircraft crews from multiple disciplines.

Link's answer was the Celestial Navigation Trainer (CNT), which was an ingenious and remarkable conception for its time. The CNT was housed in an air-conditioned, eight-walled building, 13.7 metres high by 7.9 metres across the base. Aircrew members were positioned in a fuselage similar to the Link Trainer, but enlarged to carry a pilot, navigator, bomb-aimer, and wireless operator. Above the fuselage was a synthetic night sky for astro-navigation, and ground features could be projected on a white screen beneath the fuselage. Thus, the pilot would fly the 'aircraft' while the navigator would use sky or ground references to reach an objective, where the bomb-aimer would take over to complete the mission. The CNT instructor could introduce bumpy flying conditions, changes of wind, create daylight or nightfall, scurry clouds across the sky, or arrange static to worry the wireless operator.

The RAAF purchased three CNTs in 1944, and they were initially registered with Link Trainers under the A13 series. However, the CNTs were much more complex to maintain, and so they were grouped under the A63 designation to assist in the procurement of spares. The first CNT, A63-1, was installed at East Sale, while various other localities, including Tocumwal and Rathmines, were considered for the other two units. However, because of servicing difficulties and spares backing, the East Sale installation proved to be the only successful unit.

A63-1 operated until 1957 when it was superseded by DR Navigation Trainers and the CNT was finally dismantled and sold in 1962.

Aircraft Serial Type c/n Aircraft History
A63-1 ANT-34 AN255411 1944 purchased from Link Corporation,
Initially allocated A13-84,
Operated at East Sale until 1957 when it was superseded by DR Navigation Trainers,
1962 Dismantled and sold in 1962
A63-? ANT-34 ? Planned forTocumwal but not proceeded with.
A63-? ANT-34 ? Planned for Rathmines but not proceeded with.

Link CNT 01 Link CNT 02 Link CNT Capt B. E. Tucker, Sgt Rita Schwartz, PFC Jeanette Walker, and PFC Jane Russell Link CNT NAS Seattle July 1944 01 Link CNT NAS Seattle July 1944 02 Link CNT Drawing 01 Link CNT Drawing 02


The Author of this page is Darren Crick updated by Brendan Cowan

Source:, ,


Updated 26 November 2012


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