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Frasca Flight Simulators


 

The museum exhibits several flight simulators and trainers manufactured by Frasca International, Inc., of Urbana, Illinois. Frasca International was founded in 1958 by Rudy Frasca. Rudy began taking flying lessons at the age of 14 and soloed shortly thereafter. In 1949, Rudy joined the Navy and was stationed at Glenview Naval Station, where he worked as a flight instructor teaching pilots on the early Link trainers. After the Korean war, Rudy left the Navy to attend the University of Illinois, where he did research in Aviation Psychology and honed his interest in the field of flight simulation. The more Rudy worked with that early generation of pilot training devices, the more he realized that there had to be a better way. In 1958, putting together everything he had learned in the Navy and the University, Rudy built his first flight simulator at home in his garage and Frasca Aviation was founded (the name later changed to Frasca International to reflect the emerging character of the business). With over 50 years of active flying, Rudy’s love of aviation is obvious. But aviation is not just a business for Rudy, it’s also his avocation. Over the years, Rudy has flown hundreds of aircraft and collected several, including a number of "warbirds," all in flying condition: a P-40, a recently restored Spitfire Mk XVIII, a Wildcat, an SNJ, a T-34, a Fiat, and a Zero replica.

 Rudy is active in many areas of aviation and has held every office in the Warbirds of America organization. He has been a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) since 1956 and has loaned several of his aircraft to the EAA museum so that the general public can enjoy them. He has received numerous awards both for his personal efforts and for Frasca International’s success in the simulation industry.

Over the years, Frasca simulators have developed a reputation for realism, reliability and affordability. As the number and reputation of Frasca simulators in use grew, the name "Frasca" began to be used as a generic term for simulators, becoming in effect a household word in the aviation training community. Rudy’s company continues to work hard to maintain the good reputation that Frasca simulators have earned. Although the company has grown dramatically, Rudy’s original mission remains the same: to design and manufacture high quality and reasonably priced flight simulators for training pilots worldwide.

Frasca International is an innovator in many areas. Under Frasca's direction, the company led the industry in the development of cost-effective simulation for single and twin reciprocating engine, pure jet and turbopropeller fixed wing simulation, and helicopter simulation. Within the last fifteen years, Frasca International has developed a significant custom simulator market.

Frasca takes pride in providing customers with highly authentic and reliable duplication of the performance and characteristics of actual aircraft. In addition, Frasca simulators have a well-deserved reputation for long life and easy maintenance. It is estimated that over 90 percent of the over 1,500 simulators built since the company's inception in 1958 are still in operation today. Customers benefit from Frasca simulators in many ways. They are used as primary and advanced simulators to teach flying techniques and procedures, including emergency procedures. Military organizations use the simulators in much the same manner, but go even further with their instruction. Military simulators are used for mission rehearsal, tactical exercises and cross-training. Because of the highly accurate replication of actual aircraft characteristics, the simulators substantially reduce the training hours pilots have to spend in the real aircraft -- time that can be used for actual missions. The ability to provide efficient and effective flight simulators, aided by industry growth brought on by the international shortage of airline pilots puts Frasca International in the right place at the right time. Frasca International is uniquely positioned to capture much of the midrange market, as well as the lower range of the more expensive simulators. In order to compete effectively and allow growth, Frasca International has undertaken an expansion program that has doubled the plant size and tripled the number of employees. Frasca presently employs 140 individuals and continues to expand.

Frasca International is located on Frasca Field, an FBO owned and operated by the Frasca family. The FBO also houses Frasca Air Museum which includes Rudy's collection of WWII aircraft. The facility, built in 1990 is a 70,000 square foot building with offices and manufacturing areas. A high bay manufacturing area allows for production of multiple Full Flight Simulators. The factory includes a machine and wood shop, standard production area, custom production area, offices and shipping and receiving areas.
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