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Aviation Program Gets New Frasca Simulator

Advanced technology helps students "see out the window" to practice flight maneuvers

Monday, November 17, 2014
Flight student Fran TaoThis fall, students in Parkland College's aviation institute are enjoying enhanced flight training, thanks to a recent technology boost from Frasca International.

The Parkland College Institute of Aviation at the University of Illinois received a Piper Warrior Flight Training Device (FTD) from Frasca in late September. Newly installed, the single-engine flight simulator now provides a larger 'cockpit' for student training, one that more closely resembles real-world functionality. This is something previous simulators did not allow, according to Sybil Phillips, the institute’s chief pilot.

"The 180-degree visual system and improved technology increase flexibility in our flight training and allow us to do much more using simulation," she said. "Now, students can 'see out the window' while practicing traffic patterns, takeoffs, landing approaches, stall recoveries, and ground reference maneuvers."

Flight student Fran TaoAlong with its 180-degree visual capabilities, Frasca's Warrior FTD features a database that includes local airports, buildings and terrain, dual Garmin 430 Avionics, and other applications that add to the realism and training value.

Parkland College took over the aviation institute from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign this fall. Approximately 30 students currently take courses at the community college's flight school. Frasca has leased the new FTD (which is valued at $30,000) to Parkland and waived fees for one year, allowing the school to use the training device while the aviation program continues to grow.

"Frasca is thrilled to be the simulator provider for Parkland's Aviation program," Frasca International President John Frasca said. "It's great being able to support our local college and aviation program; we are pleased that Parkland has taken over the flight training program."

Frasca International has provided simulators for several years to the institute, based at university-owned Willard Airport in Savoy. One of the few Part 141 flight training schools in downstate Illinois, the institute employs five additional Frasca simulators for students to use and train on. The older simulators, which do not have visual displays, work well for students learning to fly on instruments alone, Phillips said.

In addition to the new simulator, Frasca International also has committed to funding aviation and technology scholarships at Parkland, according to Ellen Schmidt, interim executive director of the Parkland College Foundation.

"We appreciate the support of Frasca International that includes providing scholarship assistance to Parkland students in aviation and industrial technology," Schmidt said. "Their generous commitment has helped to advance the flight training program at the aviation institute and will provide continued support to students for years to come."

Frasca Promotions Manager Peggy Prichard said the donations benefit both the college and the flight simulator company.

"Frasca hires a lot of Parkland graduates from technology fields, and we look forward to helping these students, as well as the aviation students, fund their education," she said.


About the Parkland College Institute of Aviation at the University of Illinois:

Parkland College, a community college located in northwest Champaign, launched its flight school in August 2014 following closure of the University of Illinois Institute of Aviation. Through Parkland's program, students can earn a transferable Associate of Science in Aviation degree, FAA-approved private pilot certification, and commercial pilot ratings. Parkland is leasing the university's fleet of airplanes, equipment, and ground school facilities under a three-year agreement.

About Frasca International:

Frasca International of Urbana, Illinois, has over 55 years of experience manufacturing flight training equipment for airlines, flight schools, universities, and military organizations worldwide. The product range includes Flight Training Devices (FTDs), Synthetic Training Devices (STDs), Cockpit Procedure Trainers (CPTs), Full Flight Simulators (FFSs), and more for all aircraft types, fixed wing and rotary. Over 2,600 devices have been installed worldwide.

[Photo Caption: UIUC student Fran Tao examines the new Frasca flight simulator. Tao, who earned her private pilot certificate last year, plans to enroll at Parkland the spring to train for an instrument rating.]

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