Aerospace Industry Mourns Passing of Aviation Icon Rudy Frasca
May 13, 2020 Editor Warbirds News
We are sad to report the passing of Rudy Frasca two days ago on May 11th. The 89 year-old Frasca was an icon in the aviation world, having built up a formidable flight simulator business, Frasca International, which he founded in 1958. He was a former naval aviator, with a passion for warbirds, having owned, restored and flown a half dozen vintage military aircraft during his life, including former RCAF Curtiss Kittyhawk Mk.I AK905, ex-RAF/Indian AF Supermarine Spitfire FR Mk.XVIIIe’s TP276 and TP280, ex-Italian Air Force Fiat G.46-3B MM52823 and former U.S. Navy FM-2 Wildcat Bu.86746 to name a few. He has had a major impact on flight training around the world, and was a vivid presence on the warbird scene for decades. He will be missed by all who knew him. Frasca International made the following press release about his life yesterday, which we thought our readers might appreciate reading…
May 12, 2020. Urbana, IL.
The International Aerospace community mourns the passing of Flight Simulation icon and aviation enthusiast, Rudy Frasca. Frasca passed away on May 11, 2020 at the age of 89. He died of natural causes.
Rudy was born on April 19, 1931 in Chicago, Illinois. He was one of six children of Anthony and Jenny Frasca. He and his wife Lucille (Matern) married in 1955 and moved to Champaign, Illinois where Rudy started his business and where they raised their eight children together.
Rudy Frasca founded Frasca International in 1958. The flight simulator manufacturer started his aviation career when he began taking flying lessons at the age of 14 and soloed shortly thereafter. In 1949, Rudy joined the Navy and was stationed at Glenview Naval Station, where he worked as a flight instructor teaching pilots on the early Link trainers.
After the Korean War, Rudy left the Navy to attend the University of Illinois, where he did research in Aviation Psychology and honed his interest in the field of flight simulation. The more he worked with that early generation of pilot training devices, the more he realized that there had to be a better way. 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).
Over the years, Rudy collected many unique and antique aircraft, including a P-40, a Spitfire, a Wildcat, an SNJ, a T-34, a Fiat and a Zero replica. He loved all airplanes but had a special place in his heart for his Piper Cub. His love of grassroots aviation and passion for flying fueled the growth and success of his simulation company. In his flying days, Rudy was active in many aviation organizations and has loaned several of his aircraft to the EAA museum so that the general public can enjoy them.
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Photo Credit: Rudy Frasca beside his beloved Curtiss Kittyhawk some years ago. The aviation icon sadly passed away on May 11th. (image via Frasca International)