Of course, Maldens connection with Link Trainers is heavily tied to the training that occurred here in the 1940's and 1950's, but the chance for Malden to once again be the home of Link Trainers started in July 2004. Denise Evans, a valued MAAPS Member, was doing her usual great work by researching information on the internet. She happened to come across a site about Link Trainers and e-mail correspondence began in earnest between Denise Evans, Barbara Crayne, George Hagans, and Gene Cox (all MAAPS Members) to Mr. Geoff Baldwin of Virginia.
Some of Mr. Baldwins remarks and history of the Link Trainers are:
July 22, 2004
" When i was younger one of them was fully functional and sat in my father's ground school class. The other one, my father had purchased and had been damaged by fire, but would be great for parts and/or restoration, because the damage was not that severe. Both units were stored in a barn for the last 20 years and do need work to get them back into "flying condition". The instructor's desk that plotted the course is not with them. I have manuals, both instructional and maintenance manuals including written diagrams, ect. I would like to see one back up and running again in a permanent home.
August 22, 2004 "I am happy to hear of your excitement for the links. My father had a love of flying that he carried all his life, after learning to fly with the marine air corps and then as a Navy flyer. He worked on developing new nondestructive testing methods for improved quality in jet engines at Pratt and Whitney after flying for a short time with a commercial after the war. During the war, my father was an instructor, PBY pilot and DC-3 pilot in the South Pacific.
But his flying activities continued and he passed along that excitement to his family. He started and ran a flight school for many years out of the Conneticut as well as being active with EAA. Worked on the first helicopter from Kaman and later built and flew the Benson Gyroceptors, Hot Air Balloons, anything that flew. He believed every pilot should have at least 60 hours, not the 35-40 hours of flight time before going for his or her license. He wanted each student and one of them was operational for a time when I was about 7. The two links are now in a trailer waiting for shipment, I would like to discuss how we can get Malden to be their permanent home. I look forward to hearing from you and your team."
August 24, 2004 " I think Malden would be a good home for my dad's links." "These links could be considered on permanent loan to Malden. I only ask that is Malden decided they no longer want them, the would be returned to me. Of course, it sounds like they would be in good hands and my family and I would look forward to seeing your facility and seeing one of them up and flying again.
The discussion then changed to the cost of shipping the link trainers to Malden. Estimates were between $2,300-$3,900. MAAPS really needed help with the shipping/loading expense and the the future expense of rehabilitation. Everybody "came to the rescue." Don Cook of Falcon Communications of Malden graciously agreed to pickup and deliver the link trainers to Malden for no charge since Falcon Communications conducts business in Virginia on a regular basis. Attendees of the AAA Reunion in September 2004 generously donated funds toward the Links Trainer Project. MAAPS paid $780 for storage/packing/loading. Jim Krepps of Malden Ag Craft accepted the shipment in October 2004 and has been working on the links as time allows. MAAPS is lacking some parts for an operational link, but is proceeding with the "beautification" of one link trainer, which we hope to have on display at future AAA MAB Patriots Reunion.
UPDATE: While not operational yet, the Link Trainer is on display in the Malden Military Museum with information about Mial Earl Baldwin's aviation career. The Link was unveiled at the 2006 Reunion and it was an honor to have the Geoff Baldwin Family in attendance. MAAPS does need assistance from Volunteers to continue working toward having an operational Link Trainer at Malden again.
Special thanks to Geoff Baldwin and Family!!