MFG: Link Aviation Devices, Inc.
Built In: Binghamton, NY
Serial No: S-W C-3 6733
No. Built: + 10,000
First Produced: 1929
Contract No: W535-AC-35342
In 1929 at Mitchell Field in New York, American aviation pioneer James “Jimmy” Doolittle successfully conducted the first completely “blind” flight in history. As it happened, Edwin A. Link also produced his first flight simulator in 1929. Instrument flying and training had become a reality.
Designed at the start of the Great Depression, Link Trainer or “Blue Box”, offered a low cost alternative to previous methods of pilot training. Upgraded and improved upon over the years, Link Trainers would go on to train more than half a million pilots in WWII, helping to fulfill this critical need to the war effort.
Once the trainee had climbed inside the cockpit and closed the overhead hood, he would “fly” a pre-determined route using simulated instruments. The instructor could monitor his progress via a remote “bug” that would roll across the map on the desk tracing the pilot’s course in red ink so it could be reviewed and critiqued later. Variants of the Link Trainer were used well into the 1950’s.