TRU Simulation + Training makes flying as real as it gets for pilots getting a virtual experience of soaring into the skies.
The company manufactures flight simulators, and provides the commercial and military markets with pilot training. The subsidiary of Textron Inc., also provides FAA-certified Part 142 OEM-supported pilot training.
TRU Simulation + Training celebrated the opening of a $30 million expansion of its Pilot Training Center in Lutz on Feb. 8. The facility opened nearly two years ago in a 15,000-square- foot facility at 1827 Northpointe Parkway, off State Road 54 at Suncoast Parkway.
The expansion is expected to add 100 jobs.
“This more than doubles the capacity of this facility,” said David Smith, vice president of TRU training centers.
The newest flight simulator resembles a large white capsule perched atop black stilts. The simulators can weigh between 25,000 to 40,000 pounds each, and cost $6 million to $10 million to build.
Another three simulators can fit into the expanded space.
In addition, the facility added classrooms and flight training devices, as well as a fitness room and lounge area.
TRU Simulation has contracts with companies such as King Air, Boeing and Cessna.
When Textron builds an aircraft, the purchase price includes flight training. Simulators are custom-built to meet each client’s needs.
TRU Simulation recently delivered a Bell helicopter simulator to a training academy in Valencia, Spain.
“We also have people who just bought a plane and want to join us,” said Chad Martin, TRU training center manager.
Others are pilots who need to meet annual insurance requirements.
With about 400 clients who come to the training center annually, Smith said the local economy also gets a boost.
They stay in hotels, dine at restaurants and visit tourist attractions.
In the future, Smith hopes to see more development within the Northpointe Village shopping and office complex where TRU Simulation is located.
New restaurants are on the wish list, but Smith said, “We want anything that supports the feel of a small, walkable community that is self-contained.”
Published February 15, 2017