Edwin Albert Link

Edwin Albert Link (July 26, 1904 – September 7, 1981)[1] was a pioneer in aviation, underwater archaeology, and submersibles. He is best known for inventing the flight simulator, commercialized in 1929, called the "Blue Box" or "Link Trainer", which started a now multibillion-dollar industry.[2][3] In total, he obtained more than 27 patents for aeronautics, navigation and oceanographic equipment.[4]

Edwin Albert Link
Edwin Link
Edwin A. Link
BornJuly 26, 1904
DiedSeptember 7, 1981 (aged 77)
EducationBinghamton Central High School
Known forInventor of flight simulator; underwater archeologist; ocean engineer
Spouse(s)Marion Clayton Link
ChildrenWilliam Martin Link, Edwin Clayton Link
Parent(s)Edwin A. Link, Sr., Katherine Martin Link

Early life

Edwin Link was born in Huntington, Indiana in 1904, the son of Edwin A. Link, Sr., and Katherine (Martin) Link. In 1910, he moved with his family to Binghamton, New York.[1][2][5]


He took his first flying lesson in 1920.[6] In 1927, he obtained the first Cessna airplane ever delivered and eked out a living by barnstorming, charter flying and giving lessons.[6]

As a young man, Edwin Link used apparatus from his father's automatic piano and organ factory (of the Link Piano and Organ Company) to produce an advertising airplane. A punched roll and pneumatic system from a player piano controlled sequential lights on the lower surfaces of the wings to spell out messages like "ENDICOTT-JOHNSON SHOES". To attract more attention, he added a set of small but loud organ pipes, also controlled by the roll.

In the 1920s, he developed the Link Trainer, "a fuselage-like device with a cockpit and controls that produced the motions and sensations of flying."[6] Much of the pneumatic system was adapted directly from technology used in the organ factory.[7] (In the 1970s, Link used parts scavenged from an inoperative trainer to help rebuild a Link pipe organ.) He formed the Link Aeronautical Corporation in 1929 to manufacture the trainers.[6] His few early customers were amusement parks, not flight training schools; the early models served as amusement rides.[6] Finally, in 1934, the United States Army Air Corps bought six.[6] During World War II, more than half a million airmen were taught using the Link Trainer.[8]

Together with his wife Marion Clayton Link, whom he had married in 1931, Edwin Link managed the very successful Link Aviation, Inc.[2][5] He contributed a great deal to the Binghamton, New York area, where he set up a production facility that at one time employed thousands of workers. Although the company later passed through different ownership, its legacy can be traced to the current L3 division known as Link Simulation and Training, now headquartered in Arlington, Texas (though it still maintains some operations in Binghamton).[9]

In 1953, Edwin and Marion Link established The Link Foundation. The foundation continues to provide grants and fellowships in aeronautics, simulation and training, ocean engineering, energy, and organizations of interest to the Links.[3][4]

Undersea interests

Man-in-Sea project

After Link sold his company to General Precision in 1954, he addressed himself to underwater archeology and underwater research.[2] Link worked at developing equipment for deeper, longer lasting and more secure diving. To this end he designed several submersible decompression chambers.[1][2][3] On August 28, 1962, at Villefranche-sur-Mer on the Mediterranean Sea, Link inaugurated his "Man in Sea" project by spending eight hours at a depth of sixty feet in his submersible decompression chamber (SDC), becoming the first diver to be completely saturated with a mixture of oxygen and helium (Heliox) while breathing underwater.[2][10][11][12][13] This dive served as a test run for a dive the following month by Robert Sténuit, who spent over 24 hours in the SDC at a depth of 200 feet and thus became the world's first aquanaut.[2][10][11][12][13] In June–July 1964, Link conducted his second Man in Sea experiment in the Berry Islands (a chain in the Bahamas) with Sténuit and Jon Lindbergh, one of the sons of Charles Lindbergh, who made the first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic. Sténuit and Lindbergh stayed in Link's SPID habitat (Submersible, Portable, Inflatable Dwelling) for 49 hours underwater at a depth of 432 feet, breathing a helium-oxygen mixture.[2][11][12][14][15][16] Dr. Joseph B. MacInnis participated in this dive as a life support specialist.[11][12][15][16]


In March 1967, Link launched Deep Diver, the first small submersible designed for lockout diving, allowing divers to leave and enter the craft while underwater.[2][12] Deep Diver carried out many scientific missions in 1967 and 1968, including a 430-foot lockout dive in 1967 (at the same location as the 1964 Sténuit-Lindbergh dive) and a 700-foot lockout dive near Great Stirrup Cay in 1968. Dr. MacInnis participated in both of these dives as an observer in Deep Diver's forward chamber.[12][17][18]

Later in 1968, after Deep Diver had been requisitioned by the United States Navy to help search for the lost submarine USS Scorpion, the Bureau of Ships determined that Deep Diver was unsafe for use at great depths or in extremely cold temperatures because of the substitution of the wrong kind of steel, which became brittle in cold water, in some parts of the sub.[12] Link proceeded to design a new lockout sub with a distinctive acrylic bubble as the forward pilot/observer compartment. In January 1971 the new sub was launched and commissioned to the Smithsonian Institution. It was named the Johnson Sea Link after its donors, Link and his friend John Seward Johnson I.[2][12]

Death of son

In June 1973, Link's 31-year-old son, Edwin Clayton Link, and another diver, 51-year-old Albert D. Stover, died during a seemingly routine dive off Key West. They suffered carbon dioxide poisoning when the Johnson Sea Link became trapped in debris around a Navy destroyer, the Fred T. Berry, which had been sunk to create an artificial reef. The submersible's other two occupants survived.[2][19][20][21] Over the next two years, Edwin Link designed an unmanned Cabled Observation and Rescue Device (CORD) that could free a trapped submersible.[2]


Edwin Link died in his sleep on September 7, 1981 in Binghamton, New York,[1] where he had been undergoing treatment for cancer.[2]


Link Hall, Syracuse University
Link Hall, Syracuse University

Link was awarded the Howard N. Potts Medal[3] in 1945 for developing training devices for aviators, and the Royal Aeronautical Society Wakefield Gold Medal in 1947.[22] He received an honorary degree from Binghamton University.[23] In 1976, he was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame.[6]

In 1992, Link was inducted into the International Air & Space Hall of Fame at the San Diego Air & Space Museum.[24]

Edwin Link is the namesake of Link Hall on the campus of Syracuse University. The building houses offices, classrooms and laboratories of the Syracuse University College of Engineering and Computer Science.

The field on which Greater Binghamton Airport lies is named after him,[3] and there is an original "Blue Box" on display in the terminal.


  1. ^ a b c d "Edwin Albert Link - A Chronological Biography". Binghamton University Libraries. Archived from the original on 2012-03-17. Retrieved 2011-12-29.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Clark, Martha; Eichelberger, Jeanne. "Edwin A. Link 1904-1981". Binghamton University Libraries. Archived from the original on 2012-03-17. Retrieved 2012-06-06.
  3. ^ a b c d e "A Biographical Sketch OF Edwin A. Link". Florida Tech Evans Library. Archived from the original on 2011-10-02. Retrieved 2011-08-26.
  4. ^ a b "Link Foundation Information". Link Foundation. Archived from the original on 2011-07-27. Retrieved 2011-08-26.
  5. ^ a b "Binghamton Univ. Libraries: Edwin A. Link". Binghamton University Libraries. 2011-02-15. Archived from the original on 2011-07-19. Retrieved 2011-08-26.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g "Edwin Link: Innovator/Inventor/Industrialist". National Aviation Hall of Fame. Retrieved August 27, 2012.
  7. ^ "Link Trainer Restoration". starksravings.com. Retrieved 2011-08-31.
  8. ^ Memorial Tributes: National Academy of Engineering, Volume 2 (1984). National Academy of Engineering. 1984. p. 174. ISBN 0-309-03482-5. Retrieved August 27, 2012.
  9. ^ https://www.link.com/about/pages/history.aspx
  10. ^ a b Lord Kilbracken (May 1963). "The Long, Deep Dive". National Geographic. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society. 123 (5): 718–731.
  11. ^ a b c d Sténuit, Robert (1966). The Deepest Days. Trans. Morris Kemp. New York: Coward-McCann. LCCN 66-10428.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h Link, Marion Clayton (1973). Windows in the Sea. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press. ISBN 0-87474-130-0. LCCN 72-93801.
  13. ^ a b Ecott, Tim (2001). Neutral Buoyancy: Adventures in a Liquid World. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press. pp. 249–250. ISBN 0-87113-794-1. LCCN 2001018840.
  14. ^ Link, Edwin A. (April 1965). "Outpost Under the Ocean". National Geographic. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society. 127 (4): 530–533.
  15. ^ a b Sténuit, Robert (April 1965). "The Deepest Days". National Geographic. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society. 127 (4): 534–547.
  16. ^ a b MacInnis, Joe (1975). Underwater Man. New York: Dodd, Mead & Company. pp. 53–68. ISBN 0-396-07142-2. LCCN 75-680.
  17. ^ MacLeish, Kenneth (January 1968). "A Taxi for the Deep Frontier: Project Man-in-Sea Goes Mobile". National Geographic. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society. 133 (1): 138–150.
  18. ^ MacInnis, pp. 91-103.
  19. ^ "Science: Tragedy Under the Sea". Time. 1973-07-02. Retrieved 2011-08-26.
  20. ^ Alexiou, Arthur E. (1974). "Ocean". The World Book Year Book 1974. Chicago: Field Enterprises Educational Corporation. p. 426. ISBN 0-7166-0474-4. LCCN 62-4818.
  21. ^ Ellis, Richard (1998). Deep Atlantic: Life, Death, and Exploration in the Abyss. New York: The Lyons Press. pp. 76–77. ISBN 1-55821-663-4.
  22. ^ "R.Ae.S. Medals and Prizes". Flight. 51 (2005): 500. 29 May 1947. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
  23. ^ "Honorary Degree Recipients". Binghamton University, State University of New York. 9 April 2012. Retrieved 23 May 2012.
  24. ^ Sprekelmeyer, Linda, editor. These We Honor: The International Aerospace Hall of Fame. Donning Co. Publishers, 2006. ISBN 978-1-57864-397-4.


External links


1904 (MCMIV)

was a leap year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar and a leap year starting on Thursday of the Julian calendar, the 1904th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 904th year of the 2nd millennium, the 4th year of the 20th century, and the 5th year of the 1900s decade. As of the start of 1904, the Gregorian calendar was

13 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.



was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar, the 1981st year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 981st year of the 2nd millennium, the 81st year of the 20th century, and the 2nd year of the 1980s decade.

Deep Diver

Deep Diver was the name of a deep-sea scientific research submersible built by Edwin Albert Link. Deep Diver was the first small submersible designed for lockout diving, allowing divers to leave and enter the craft while underwater. It was first launched in January 1966.

GSE Systems

GSE Systems, Inc. develops and markets software-based simulation and training products to nuclear, oil, and gas electricity generators, and the chemical process industries. It also sells software for monitoring and optimizing plant and signal analysis to the power industry.

GSE Systems was established in 1994 from three simulation companies that came together. They were part of an original heritage from Singer-Link where they were involved in high-intensity simulation applications such as flight simulators. Since 1994 the company has grown through acquisitions. The primary businesses continue to be process control focused in the chemical, pharmaceutical and food industry, and simulation, which is also focused on fossil and nuclear simulation.

GSE Systems is headquartered in suburban Baltimore, Maryland. Global operations are conducted from offices in Sykesville (Maryland), Nyköping (Sweden), Beijing (China), Stockton-on-Tees (UK), and Chennai (India).


1929 Edwin Albert Link invents and patents the first Link Trainer, forms Link Aeronautical Corporation in Binghamton, NY.

1930 Link Flying School organized in Binghamton.

1933 Link Aeronautical Corporation moves to Endicott, NY to maintain the flight school, repair airplanes, and operate charter flights.

1934 Link Aeronautical Corporation returns to Binghamton.

1935 Link Aviation Devices, Inc. is formed in Binghamton, NY to manufacture trainers etc. Link Aviation Devices, Inc. renamed Link Aviation, Inc.

1937 Link Manufacturing Company Limited is formed in Gananoque, Ontario to build

trainers for Canadian and UK customers.

1953 Ed Link steps down as president of Link Aviation.

1954 Ed and George Link sell Link Aviation to General Precision Equipment Corporation.

1956 Link Aviation acquires a controlling interest in Air Trainers Limited of England and changes its name to Air Trainers Link Limited.

1959 Ownership of Air Trainers Link Limited is transferred to the parent company, GPE, and the name changes to General Precision Systems Ltd.

1965 GPE buys the operations of the Riverdale, MD plant of Electronics Division of ACF Industries (previously ERCO) and moves it to Silver Spring, MD.

1967 Redifon, a member of Rediffusion, buys Air Trainers Link Ltd. and renames it Redifon Air Trainers Ltd.

1968 Singer Corporation acquires GPE. Edwin Link remains as consultant until 1972.

1984 Simuflite Training International Inc. is founded by Singer.

1987 Singer’s Link Division is incorporated as Link Corporation.

1988 Paul A. Bilzerian buys Singer Corporation.

1988 CAE Industries, Ltd. buys Link Corporation of Silver Spring, MD.

1988 Singer’s simulation manufacturing business is reorganized under the name of LinkMiles with two companies: Link-Miles Limited located in Lancing, England and LinkMiles International Simulation Corporation based in Binghamton, NY.

1989 Singer is renamed Bicoastal Corporation.

1989 Bicoastal Corporation files Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

1990 Link-Miles Simulation Corporation of Columbia, MD is renamed S3 Technologies.

1990 Thomson-CSF of France buys Link-Miles Limited, merges it with Redifussion Simulation, and renames it Thomson Training & Simulation.

1992 Bicoastal Corporation is dissolved.

1993 ManTech International buys S3 Technologies.

1995 Hughes Electronics Corporation buys CAE-Link.

1994 GSE Systems (Global Simulation & Engineering Systems) absorbs S3 Technologies.

Major Milestones:

In 2011, Construction of Westinghouse AP1000 nuclear power plant simulator, a first-of-a-kind project

In 1977, GSE was a pioneer provider of high-fidelity refinery and fossil power plant simulators. Since then, GSE has built more full-scope simulators than all of its competitors combined.

In 1971, GSE Systems, then Link Simulation, built the first commercial full-scope nuclear power plant simulator.

Major Acquisitions:

GSE Systems Acquires EnVision Systems, Inc in the year 2011. EnVision Systems, Inc. (“EnVision”), which provides interactive multi-media tutorials and simulation models, primarily to the petrochemical and oil & gas refining industries. EnVision, with headquarters in Madison, NJ and an office in Chennai, India, was founded in 1991. EnVision’s tutorials and simulation models serve the rapidly growing entry-level training market for the oil & gas refining and specialty chemicals industries. EnVision’s products provide a foundation in process fundamentals and plant operations and interaction. With this knowledge base, users may then graduate to the full-scope, high-fidelity, real-time simulators provided by GSE. EnVision has completed more than 750 installations in over 28 countries and its approximately 130 clients include Shell Oil Company, BP, Total and Chevron.

Gold Coast Railroad Museum

The Gold Coast Railroad Museum (reporting mark GCOX) is a railroad museum located in Miami, Florida, adjacent to Zoo Miami.

Howard N. Potts Medal

The Howard N. Potts Medal was one of The Franklin Institute Awards for science and engineering award presented by the Franklin Institute of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is named for Howard N. Potts. The awards program started in 1824. The first Howard N. Potts Medal was awarded in 1911. After 1991, the Franklin Institute merged many of their historical awards into the Benjamin Franklin Medal.

Innovation and business in Upstate New York

Upstate New York has been the setting for inventions and businesses of international significance. The abundance of water power and the advent of canal and rail transportation provided nineteenth century Upstate New York entrepreneurs with the means to power factories and send their products to market. In the twentieth century, hydroelectric power and the New York State Thruway served the same roles.

Johnson Sea Link

Johnson Sea Link was a type of deep-sea scientific research submersible built by Edwin Albert Link. Link built the first submersible, Johnson Sea Link I, in 1971 at the request of his friend Seward Johnson, founder of the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute. It was the successor to Link's previous submersible, Deep Diver, which had been determined to be unsafe for use at great depths or in extremely cold temperatures. Johnson Sea Link II was built in 1975.The Johnson Sea Link submersibles carried a crew of four in two separate compartments. The aft compartment was originally designed for lockout diving, allowing two divers to be compressed to the ambient pressure of the ocean and leave the submersible to work underwater. The forward pilot's compartment was an acrylic sphere with a diameter of 5 feet (1.5 m), providing a panoramic underwater view for the pilot and an observer.

Johnson Sea Link accident

The Johnson Sea Link accident was a June 1973 incident that claimed the lives of two divers. During a seemingly routine dive off Key West, the submersible Johnson Sea Link was trapped for over 24 hours in the wreckage of the destroyer USS Fred T. Berry, which had been sunk to create an artificial reef. Although the submersible was eventually recovered by the rescue vessel A.B. Wood II, two of the four occupants died of carbon dioxide poisoning: 31-year-old Edwin Clayton Link (son of Edwin Albert Link, the submersible's designer) and 51-year-old diver Albert Dennison Stover. The submersible's pilot, Archibald "Jock" Menzies, and ichthyologist Robert Meek survived. Over the next two years, Edwin Link designed an unmanned Cabled Observation and Rescue Device (CORD) that could free a trapped submersible.

July 26

July 26 is the 207th day of the year (208th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 158 days remaining until the end of the year.

Link (surname)

Link is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Bruce Link (b. 1949), American epidemiologist

Edwin Albert Link (1904–1981), American inventor and engineer

Goethe Link (1879–1980), American surgeon and amateur astronomer

Johann Heinrich Friedrich Link (1767–1850), German naturalist and botanist

John F. Link Sr. (1901–1968), director and Oscar-nominated American film editor

John F. Link, son of John F. Link Sr., Academy Award nominated film editor of Die Hard

Kelly Link (b. 1969), American editor and author of short stories

William Link (b. 1933), American film and television writer and producer

List of National Inventors Hall of Fame inductees

The National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF) inductees includes over 500 inventors spanning three centuries of lifetimes. John Fitch was the earliest born inventor inducted into the NIHF (1743), while Barrett Comiskey is currently the most recently born (1975).

List of people considered father or mother of a field

The following is a list of significant men and women known for being the father, mother, or considered the founders mostly in Western societies in a field, listed by category. In most non-science fields, the title of being the "father" is debatable.

List of undersea explorers

This is a list of amateur and professional explorers of the oceans, including

Archaeologists, Treasure hunters, Biologists, Marine Geologists, Geophysicists,

Ocean Engineers, Oceanographers, Submersible Designers, Pilots of Submersibles,

Cave Divers, Cavers, and Speleologists, and First Generation Diving Safety Officers.

Mohawk Airlines

Mohawk Airlines was a regional passenger airline operating in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, mainly in New York and Pennsylvania, from the mid-1940s until its acquisition by Allegheny Airlines in 1972. At its height, it employed over 2,200 personnel and pioneered several aspects of regional airline operations, including being the first airline in the United States to hire an African American flight attendant in 1958. The airline was based at Ithaca Municipal Airport near Ithaca, New York until 1958, when it moved to Oneida County Airport in Whitestown, New York.

National Aviation Hall of Fame

The National Aviation Hall of Fame (NAHF) is a museum, annual awards ceremony and learning and research center that was founded in 1962 as an Ohio non-profit corporation in Dayton, Ohio, United States, known as the "Birthplace of Aviation" with its connection to the Wright brothers. In 2017 the annual induction was held in Fort Worth, Texas, as the organization began rotating the ceremony among various cities.On July 14, 1964 the National Aviation Hall of Fame was chartered nationally by an act of the U.S. 88th Congress, public law 88-372 signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson. The organization continues today as a public foundation reporting annually to Congress. The primary support for this foundation comes from private, tax-deductible membership dues and contributions from individuals and organizations.

Its mission is to "honor aerospace legends to inspire future leaders" by realizing the tenacity, vision, persistence, skill and courage of the men and women of the air & space industry.

Principal activities since 1962 are the annual gala induction ceremonies for people selected for enshrinement, typically four to five per year. The selection process for induction into the National Aviation Hall of Fame involves a rigorous review and final selection process by a prestigious and knowledgeable group of aviation and space experts from around the country.

The enshrinement ceremony is often referred to as “The Oscar Night of Aviation". It is held in conjunction with the Wings of Women (WOW) mentoring program.

The National Aviation Hall of Fame is located adjacent to the National Museum of the United States Air Force. The museum covers many areas of flight including military, commercial, general and sport aviation, as well as space flight. It is open year-round with the exception of certain holidays.

Player piano

A player piano (also known as pianola) is a self-playing piano, containing a pneumatic or electro-mechanical mechanism that operates the piano action via pre-programmed music recorded on perforated paper, or in rare instances, metallic rolls, with more modern implementations using MIDI. The rise of the player piano grew with the rise of the mass-produced piano for the home in the late 19th and early 20th century. Sales peaked in 1924, then declined as the improvement in phonograph recordings due to electrical recording methods developed in the mid-1920s. The advent of electrical amplification in home music reproduction via radio in the same period helped cause their eventual decline in popularity, and the stock market crash of 1929 virtually wiped out production.

Underwater habitat

Underwater habitats are underwater structures in which people can live for extended periods and carry out most of the basic human functions of a 24-hour day, such as working, resting, eating, attending to personal hygiene, and sleeping. In this context 'habitat' is generally used in a narrow sense to mean the interior and immediate exterior of the structure and its fixtures, but not its surrounding marine environment. Most early underwater habitats lacked regenerative systems for air, water, food, electricity, and other resources. However, recently some new underwater habitats allow for these resources to be delivered using pipes, or generated within the habitat, rather than manually delivered.An underwater habitat has to meet the needs of human physiology and provide suitable environmental conditions, and the one which is most critical is breathing air of suitable quality. Others concern the physical environment (pressure, temperature, light, humidity), the chemical environment (drinking water, food, waste products, toxins) and the biological environment (hazardous sea creatures, microorganisms, marine fungi). Much of the science covering underwater habitats and their technology designed to meet human requirements is shared with diving, diving bells, submersible vehicles and submarines, and spacecraft.

Numerous underwater habitats have been designed, built and used around the world since the early 1960s, either by private individuals or by government agencies. They have been used almost exclusively for research and exploration, but in recent years at least one underwater habitat has been provided for recreation and tourism. Research has been devoted particularly to the physiological processes and limits of breathing gases under pressure, for aquanaut and astronaut training, as well as for research on marine ecosystems.

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