Link Job Description

Link Trainer Instructors also got a “ratings description” booklet which told them of the details of the job.  Jean Clark’s booklet has her name typed on the front cover.

One of the things they trained pilots was in a skill known as a “square search”:

The go up in the air, some of these 90 day wonders (officers trained in 90 days), they’re flying around on a flight, wherever they’re going and they come back. They can see the field and make a landing. OK. Another day they go out and they go out and it fogged in.  They can’t see the field.  And they can really get into trouble. So we had to teach them what they call the square search. Where they were to fly in a direction for one minute and make a turn and fly, a left turn and fly in another direction until they could finally spot the field.  If they were lost in the fog and didn’t know where they were and were coming down and didn’t see it. That was mainly extra protection to keep them from flying into a mountain.

This booklet comes from the collection of Jean Clark.

Learning the Ropes

Jean Clark was sent to Atlanta in order to learn how to give proper instruction to potential pilots via the Link Trainer. But it wasn’t enough to simply learn how to give instruction. They had to learn everything about the trainer from top to bottom.

We also had to check the trainer. While we were at the air base, not only did we learn how to operate the trainer, we also learned how to repair it if anything went wrong.  There was an engine just outside of the building, the main, that had to be dismantled and cleaned every now and again so it was operating efficiently.  That was part of our duty.

At the end of the training session, the women received a certificate saying that they were qualified in their ranking.

This certificate comes from the Jean Clark collection.

Coveted Assignment

WAVES worked in a wide variety of jobs, but many of the women with teaching experience like Jean Clark ended up in instructional positions. Jean wanted to become a Link Trainer, which used an early form of flight simulation to train men in piloting skills.

We had to take aptitude tests.  Now, I’m going to brag a little bit. Partly, I think, because I’d been a teacher. All of the girls who were chosen to go to Link School had been in education. I think they felt, “They’ve already learned how to teach.  After that, we can teach them the subject matter and they can teach it.” That was their theory I’m sure. They said it was the top thing and if it was the top thing, that’s what I want (laughs).  So, everybody was envious if we got it. There were only 50 of us I think that got it. So not too many.

This is a photo of Jean training a man in the Link flight simulator. It comes from the collection of Jean Clark.