Link received his pilot's license in 1927 and purchased his first airplane the following year. While working for his father at his piano and organ factory in Binghamton, New York, Link came up with the idea to build a mechanical device that could be used for teaching rudimentary piloting skills instead of using aerial flight training, which was expensive and dangerous for learning pilots. Drawing from his expertise in air-driven pianos and pipe organs, Link used organ parts and compressed air to build the first flight simulator.
In 1929 he completed the first version of the flight simulator and formed the Link Aeronautical Corporation to market the product. Production was set up in the basement of his father’s factory, and at first the only buyers were amusement parks. Then he started Link Flying School, which used the trainer as the basis of the curriculum, but during the onset of the Great Depression there were few takers.
It wasn't until 1934 that Link found success with the flight simulator after the Army Air Corps suffered several high profile accidents while flying the mail. Six orders for trainers were placed, which Link modified specifically for advanced instrument flying. The instrument trainer's popularity grew, and with the permission of the U.S. government, Link conducted business with several foreign countries. In 1935, Link Aviation Devices, Inc. was founded. Employing 1,500 people during World War II, the company manufactured up to 80 trainers a week.
The youngest son of Edwin Sr. and Katherine Martin, Link was born in 1904 in Huntington, Indiana and grew up in Binghamton, New York. In 1931 he married Marion Clayton, a reporter for the Binghamton newspaper. After his success with the pilot trainer, Link's interest left aeronautics and focused on oceanography. Link invented several devices to explore the mysteries of the sea, including a mobile unmanned television camera for probing the sea bottom, a small submarine, and a submersible decompression chamber. By establishing the Link Foundation, he also distributed grants to universities and other nonprofit institutions for research in aeronautics and oceanography. He died in 1981 and is buried in New York.
Although he never graduated high school, Link received five honorary college degrees as well as numerous awards from organizations including the Smithsonian Institution, the Royal Aeronautical Society of London and Philadelphia's Franklin Institute.