Founded by Rudy Frasca in 1958 and now headed by his son, president and CEO John Frasca, Frasca International is renowned for the fidelity, quality, and performance of its aircraft simulators. It ranges from various levels of flight training devices (FTDs) to six-axis full flight simulators (FFSs), all designed and manufactured with the highest attention to realism and accuracy.
To date, about 2,600 of the company’s helicopter and fixed-wing simulators have been delivered to approximately 70 countries worldwide—and more are on the way. “We don’t just meet the regulatory requirements; we go far beyond them to create the most compelling and realistic flight training environments possible,” said John Frasca. “We work closely with our customers so that we can give them precisely what they want, and incorporate actual flight test data to ensure that our simulators are as true to the real thing as possible.”
The flexibility and usefulness of Frasca International’s simulators are illustrated by its most recent deliveries. A case in point: Metro Aviation’s Helicopter Flight Training Center is adding a Frasca Bell 407 Level 7 FTD to its simulator lineup. This FTD comes with an advanced visual system capable of providing visual flight rules (VFR), instrument flight rules (IFR), and highly realistic night vision goggle (NVG) training using actual night vision goggles. “Unaided, you see realistic night scenes. Put on the goggles and you see a fully realistic night vision view, both inside the cockpit and out the window,” said Frasca. The FTD comes with a large field of view visual system (Frasca’s TruVision Global), plus specialized databases for emergency medical services (EMS) and police training scenarios, HeliSAS autopilot, and Garmin equipment. Frasca’s new SimAssist software is also installed on the FTD. SimAssist measures the pilot’s performance in real-time and provides assistance in real-time. The effect is like a flight instructor assisting on the controls when the pilot is having difficulty. The result is faster learning for new pilots and smoother simulator acclimation for experienced pilots. Frasca International is also providing a Bell 206L Level 7 FTD to Air Evac Lifeteam. That FTD is equipped with Garmin G500H, Genesys Aerosystems HeliSAS, helicopter terrain awareness and warning systems (HTAWS), and Garmin GTN 650, and includes the same NVG training suite supplied to Metro Aviation.
Air Evac is the launch customer for Frasca’s new TruCue, a newly developed simulator cueing and vibration system, which provides critical vestibular feedback to the pilots. “TruCue uses short stroke actuators operating in six axes to provide the student with actual motion cues, a first for an FTD of this kind,” said Frasca. “While TruCue is a smaller motion system, it is designed to optimize the motion cues that are important in helicopter flying, and minimize the false cues that accompany large motion systems.” HNZ Group is purchasing a Frasca Airbus Helicopters H125 Level 7 FTD for use at its training center at the Edmonton International Airport in Alberta. The FTD will also be reconfigurable to the AS350 B2 and B2 VEMD (vehicle and engine multi-function display) variants. The H125/AS350 series is one of the most popular commercial single-engine helicopters in North America, and this FTD will be the first of its kind in Canada.
Once the H125 FTD has been certified by Transport Canada, HNZ’s training course will be the first in North America to receive regulatory credit for in-aircraft flight hours on a helicopter FTD. Frasca will be loading it with databases that include the Edmonton area and specialized training scenarios at various locations in Canada. “Synthetic training is recognized by Transport Canada and our major customers as being a highly effective tool,” said HNZ president and CEO, Don Wall. “This FTD represents the very leading edge of technology in simulated flight.” Finally, Frasca International has delivered a Bell 407GX FFS to the Bell Helicopter Training Academy; the first FFS built to simulate this rotorcraft. This FFS has all the latest training technology, including Frasca’s TruVision Global visual system with NVG simulation, a six-axis motion system with 62-inch actuators, and a secondary TruCue six-axis vibration system. This 407GX simulator is easily convertible between the helicopter’s legacy configuration and the latest GX Garmin G1000 configuration. This is done by exchanging panel assemblies, allowing customers to train on their specific aircraft configuration.
Worth noting: The Bell Helicopter Training Academy has been a Frasca customer since 1993, and operates numerous Frasca simulators at the company’s new Fort Worth, Texas, training academy.
“The effort we put into making our simulators pays off in the high quality of training our users experience, and by extension, in the safety and comfort of the flights they provide to themselves and their passengers,” said John Frasca. “As well, we know the simulators we build at Frasca make a real difference in aviation safety all around the world—and we take this responsibility very, very seriously.”