The Link name has been associated with training excellence for 80 years. Below are a few of the historical highlights of the beginning of flight simulation .
During the early part of the 20th century, modern aviation history was launched. The Wright brothers began at Kitty Hawk in 1903 and daredevil pilots in silk scarves and goggles followed, setting records for duration, speed and distance in frail biplanes made of wood and canvas.
Ed Link was just a boy in those early days of aviation when the new and expanding technology captured his imagination. Years later this fascination would challenge his mechanical skills and eventually establish his place in aviation history.
Ed, who as he grew older started to demonstrate an aptitude for science and mechanics, ended his formal schooling in 1927 and went to work in the family's piano and organ factory. He built pianos and tuned organs, a job that required a thorough knowledge and handling of the pumps, valves and bellows which directed the air power within these popular musical instruments of the day.
Ed's passion, however, was his consuming interest in aviation. All his spare time and money went towards learning how to fly. But he could not afford the prohibitive costs of plane rental, fuel and lessons.
To compensate for his lack of actual flying time, Ed would taxi a friend's plane along the Endicott, New York and Cortland, New York airport runways, learning the movements of hands and feet until they became automatic, the feel of the wings and the capabilities of the rudder.
But Ed felt that there had to be a better solution to learn how to fly and at the age of 24 embarked on a project that would change the course of aviation. Ed began to work on building the first pilot trainer, a project that would usher in the multi-billion dollar industry of simulation.
The Dawn of Flight Training
It took a year and a half for Ed to complete construction of his pilot trainer. Finally, in the early part of 1929 the trainer was ready.
The pilot trainer resembled a toy airplane from the outside, with short wooden wings and fuselage mounted on a universal joint. Organ bellows from the Link factory, driven by an electric pump, made the trainer pitch and roll as the pilot worked the controls.
The cockpit was equipped with standard aircraft controls and later modifications introduced radio aids and gauges to tell the pilot if he was flying level.
During the 1930s, Ed chose to open the Link Flying School with his brother. They operated the flying school after-hours in the family plant, offering individuals a guaranteed "learn to fly" flat charge of $85. The school did well until the full force of the Depression made flying lessons an extra most people did without.
The North American Museum of Flight Simulation Society, Canada
Our Museum is still a dream, but we are moving in the right direction and will keep you posted on our status. A beta website is available and we are currently in the process of filing for Charitable status so we can issue tax receipts (in Canada) for all donations.
Museum Beta Website
The North American Museum of Flight Simulation invites people of all ages and from all regions to explore the wonders of flight simulation. It will do this by collecting and displaying working and static Flight Simulators and their history, showing the significance—scientific and technical, as well as economic, that simulators have contributed to the North America and the worlds aviation industry.