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He was also a pilot, but dissatisfied with the amount of real flight training that was available, he decided to build a ground-based device to provide such training without the restrictions of weather and the availability of aircraft and flight instructors.
His design had a pneumatic motion platform driven by inflatable bellows which provided pitch and roll cues.
Initially, aviation flight schools showed little interest in the "Link Trainer". During the first weeks of the mail service, nearly a dozen Army pilots were killed.
The Army Air Force hierarchy remembered Ed Link and his trainer.
He later patented his design, which was first available for sale in 1929.
The Link Trainer was a basic metal frame flight simulator usually painted in its well-known blue color.
A vacuum motor similar to those used in player pianos rotated the platform, providing yaw cues.
Statistically significant assessments of skill transfer based on training on a simulator and leading to handling an actual aircraft are difficult to make, particularly where motion cues are concerned.
Link flew in to meet them at Newark Field in New Jersey, and they were impressed by his ability to arrive on a day with poor visibility, due to practice on his training device.
The result was that the USAAF purchased six Link Trainers, and this can be said to mark the start of the world flight simulation industry.
This was the first of today's modern flight simulators for commercial aircraft.
Several different devices are utilized in modern flight training.
For the Microsoft product, see Microsoft Flight Simulator.