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Edwin A. Link, Jr.



Pioneer Flight

Simulator Designer

1904 - 1981

Edwin A. Link, Jr. was born in Huntington, Indiana, on 26 July 1904. During his youth he developed a great interest in science and mathematics as well as a fascination with things mechanical. Upon leaving high school in 1922 he started work in his father’s factory learning to build pianos and organs, and at the same time began to take flying lessons. Later, in reflecting on the flying instruction he received, he concluded that the quality of instruction could be improved and costs reduced by the use of simulators on the ground. He soon put his mechanical skills to work and built a pilot trainer in 1929. His flight simulator began a totally new industry and a revolution which continues today in the way aviators and astronauts are trained.

From the initial simple pilot trainer designed to simulate the rudiments of airplane flight, the ubiquitous World War II "blue box" instrument trainer evolved to be followed by ever more complex simulators which now provide such a high degree of fidelity. In many cases, all training for specific aircraft may be carried out on the ground. As a result of Edwin Link’s vision and inventiveness, an inestimable number of lives worldwide have been saved which otherwise might have been lost in training flights. The overall quality of training has been improved, and enormous resources have been conserved in terms of aircraft, fuel and related infrastructure.

With his retirement in 1954 as Chairman of the Board and President of Link Aviation, Edwin Link redirected his interests from aerodynamics to oceanography by designing and developing unique diving systems and manner submersibles. He continued these endeavors until his death in Binghamton, New York on 7 September 1981.

Invested 1992 in the International Aerospace Hall of Fame

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Updated: March 12, 2004