Longtime family-owned Frasca International sold to Ohio-based FlightSafety

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Jan. 7—URBANA — After more than six decades as a family-owned flight-simulator company in Urbana, Frasca International has been acquired by Columbus, Ohio-based aviation training company FlightSafety International.

Frasca International, which announced the sale Thursday, will continue to operate under the same company name.

Frasca President John Frasca and the rest of the management team will remain in place, and all employees are keeping their jobs, according to Peggy Prichard, Frasca's marketing manager.

The Frasca family is retaining ownership of Frasca Field in Urbana, she said.

Over the years, there have been other companies interested in acquiring Frasca, but FlightSafety was the right buyer at the right time, she said.

FlightSafety spokeswoman Staci Perkins said the company has traditional strength in high-quality training in large Level D simulators, "and Frasca's strength in training development and ab initio (early) flight training makes this partnership beneficial for both entities."

As Frasca's new owner, FlightSafety isn't planning any major changes for the operation in Urbana, Perkins said.

"Nothing will drastically change," she said. "John Frasca will remain as president and operations will continue as they do today with close collaboration with FlightSafety's simulation team."

Frasca International and FlightSafety already have a long history of collaboration dating back to the friendship of their aviation pioneer founders, the late Rudy Frasca and the late Al Ueltschi, Prichard said.

In April, Frasca announced that it had been named a subcontractor for one of FlightSafety's training projects with the Navy.

The contract called for FlightSafety subsidiary FlightSafety Defense to provide instructional services and availability for 18 Frasca-designed and manufactured Level 6 and Level 7 flight-training devices.

Frasca International was founded by Rudy Frasca in 1958, originally as Frasca Aviation.

A former flight instructor for the Navy, Mr. Frasca researched aviation psychology at the University of Illinois and built his first flight simulator at home in his garage.

The company grew to become a leading designer and manufacturer of flight simulators, flight-training devices and simulation components.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for flight training didn't slow down, and Frasca International had its best sales year ever in 2021, Prichard said.

Frasca recently completed an expansion of its manufacturing facility in Urbana to respond to strong flight-simulator sales, including a contract for a Level D full flight simulator for an undisclosed helicopter operator.

According to the project announcement last year, the addition was built to "increase the facility's size to accommodate manufacturing capacity for two Level D full fight simulators with large dome visual systems and Roll-On, Roll-Off cockpit configurations."

Ueltschi founded FlightSafety International in 1951. The company now has 31 locations in the U.S.

"Our company is the world's premier professional aviation-training company and supplier of flight simulators, visual systems and displays to commercial, government and military organizations," Perkins said. "We provide training for pilots, technicians and other aviation professionals from 167 countries and independent territories."

Perkins said FlightSafety also operates the world's largest fleet of advanced full-flight simulators at learning centers and training locations in the U.S., Canada, France and the United Kingdom.

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