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URBANA — Frasca International Inc. has been named as a subcontractor for a U.S. Navy training contract.

The Urbana flight-simulator manufacturer will build eight simulators and update 10 existing ones for FlightSafety Defense, which is the main contractor providing instructional services to the Navy.

“We provide the flight-training devices. They provide the training,” Frasca spokeswoman Peggy Prichard said.

Student aviators will train on the devices at Whit- ing Field in Milton, Fla.

“It’s a sizable contract for us, and it goes over several years,” Prichard said.

The new contract will see the aviators train on a different type of helicopter, so the existing devices need to be upgraded to simulate the new helicopters, she said.

“Those will be retrofitted,” Prichard said. “You can use some of the hardware, but you have to do some cockpit changes and some software changes.”

Frasca also recently announced that it is expanding its Urbana facility so it can build more of the larger full simulators.

The expansion isn’t for the simulators in the Navy contract, but it will still help Frasca make room for other simulators it is building, Prichard said.

“These devices aren’t as large and will fit in the existing structure,” she said.

Frasca was founded in 1958 by the late Rudy Frasca, a flight instructor for the Navy who attended the University of Illinois and invented his own flight simulator.

The company was located on the southeast corner of Neil and Green streets in Champaign until 1990, when the factory moved to Frasca Field in north Urbana.


Ben Zigterman is a reporter covering business at The News-Gazette. His email is, and you can follow him on Twitter (@bzigterman).

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