The Link Trainer is often described as the first successful attempt at what we now recognize as flight simulation and even virtual reality. Instead of asking how well the device simulated flight conditions, this article shows that what the Link Trainer simulated was not the conditions of the air, but rather the conditions of the cockpit that was gradually filled with flight instruments. The article also considers the Link Trainer as a cultural space in which shifting ideas about what it meant to be a pilot were manifested. A pilot in the Link Trainer was trained into a new category of flier—the virtual flier—who was an avid reader of instruments and an attentive listener to signals. This article suggests that, by situating the pilot within new spaces, protocols, and relationships, technologies of simulation have constituted the identity of the modern pilot and other operators of machines.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 28-53
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.