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Historical Note - Edwin Link

August 24, 2018

Historical Note - Edwin Link

Edwin Link was the inventor of the flight simulator.

He was an aviation pioneer who advanced flight by training pilots. Link’s invention responded to the pilot’s controls and gave accurate readings on flight instruments, such as the altimeter, allowing pilots to train without ever having to leave the ground. Link’s “Blue Box” simulators were used by every flight school in the country and are still used in the pilot certification process today.
   Link established the Link Foundation in the Smithsonian Institution to provide assistance to students of the aeronautical sciences in 1953. He also provided for fellowships in aviation medicine residency at Ohio State University College of Medicine and in aviation psychology at Tufts College, where the recipient would also participate in the aviation research program. At the time, those fellowships were believed to be the first offered for the specialty of aviation medicine.
   Born in Huntington, IN, he became an aviator in the 1920s while working at his father’s organ factory. When he realized that a more effective way was needed to train pilots on the ground, he put together a simulator from parts and techniques from the organ factory. Later in life, Link took up oceanographic exploration, designing and developing numerous devices to assist scientific research underwater.
   Edwin Link was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2003. His Hall of Fame profile can be read at http://www.invent.org/honor/inductees/inducteedetail/?IID=192. There is also an article about the fellowships in the Journal of Aviation Medicine [J Aviat Med. 1955; 26(4):267].