• Rudy Frasca with his P-40 Warhawk, one of several warbirds he owned over the years. (Frasca International)
    Rudy Frasca with his P-40 Warhawk, one of several warbirds he owned over the years. (Frasca International)

The world-wide aviation industry has lost a pioneer with the death this week of Rudy Frasca.

Frasca, who died on Monday aged 89, was a giant of flight training simulation technology and his name became synonymous with some of the best and most advanced simulation devices ever developed.

Frasca's facscination with flight simulation started in the US Navy just after WWII, where he instructed new naval aviators on the Link trainer. He left the navy just after the Korean War to study Aviation Psychology.

"The more he worked with that early generation of pilot training devices, the more he realized that there had to be a better way," Frasca International stated when announcing their founder's death.

"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).

The company went onto become one of the largest simulation companies in the world, introducing many new technologies and taking the industry from cloistered boxes to wide-screen, full-motion systems that have been instrumental in training and checking right throughout every level of aviation.

Rudy Frasca was also a collector of warbirds. Over the years, he owned several including a P-40, Spitfire, Wildcat, SNJ (navy version of a Harvard), T-34, Fiat and a Zero replica. Frasca was active in many aviation organizations and lent several of his aircraft to the Experimental Aircraft Association museum so the general public can enjoy them.

Frasca and his wife Lucille had eight children and 18 grandchildren. He is today being remembered as an innovator as well as an outgoing person with a very strong work ethic.


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