Visionary Edwin Link Inducted Into Inventors Hall of Fame
Sept. 7, 2018
Edwin A. Link, Former Vice President, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, Florida Atlantic University (1904-1981) • 27 U.S. patents
The late Edwin A. Link, a driving force behind bringing FAU’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute to Fort Pierce, was officially inducted at the fifth Annual Florida Inventors Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony & Gala on Friday, September 7, 2018, at the Hilton Tampa Downtown.
Edwin Albert Link was an engineer, pilot, industrialist, dreamer and pioneer in aviation, underwater archaeology and submersibles. He held 27 U.S. patents for his inventions in aviation, navigation and ocean engineering, but Link is most recognized for inventing the Link Trainer flight simulator in the 1920s, which helped to train countless pilots, including more than 500,000 airmen during World War II.
Link was born on July 26, 1904 in Huntington, Indiana and moved to Binghamton, New York with his family in 1910. His fascination with aviation led him to take flying lessons, and that passion and curiosity ultimately led him to invent the world’s first flight simulator. Together with his wife, Marion, whom he married in 1931, Link built and managed their highly successful company, Link Aviation, Inc. The couple went on to establish the Link Foundation together in 1953 to support research and education in the fields of aeronautics and oceanography. A generous grant from his Foundation in 1965 allowed Florida Atlantic University to create the country’s first undergraduate ocean engineering degree program. The Link Foundation has made substantial contributions to more than 120 universities and nonprofit organizations.
“As the visionary behind our FAU Harbor Branch, the legacy that Ed left is unmistakable, and the university continues to benefit from his generosity,” said Dan Flynn, Ph.D., vice president for research. “He and his work rank right up there with Jacques-Yves Cousteau, and to have that unique connection to such brilliance is a true gift for FAU.”
Later in life, Link turned his attention from the sky to the sea. In 1969, Link discovered a deserted mining channel between Vero Beach and Fort Pierce, Florida. In 1971, he helped to create Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute on that site as an independent research institution for marine science and ocean engineering with the financial support of founder J. Seward Johnson.
Link designed a myriad of tools to explore marine environments, including the Johnson-Sea-Link submersibles, which were built by a team of engineers at Harbor Branch in the 1970s. Link’s contributions to the worlds of aviation and ocean exploration have brought him recognition from many universities and organizations. He received honorary degrees from Tufts University, Hamilton College, State University of New York at Binghamton, Syracuse University, and Florida Institute of Technology.
Link died September 7, 1981. Just a few days before his death, the city of Binghamton in New York honored him by renaming its airport Edwin A. Link Field.
The Florida Inventors Hall of Fame (FIHF) recognizes and commends Florida inventors whose achievements have advanced the quality of life for Floridians, the state and the nation.