We have been interested in TRC‘s products since, branded as SimKits, the company produced advanced instrument and avionics for the prosumer market. Since a few years TRC Simulators has taken a different turn: it upped its game and entered the professional flight training arena. TRC is doing this with a C172 replica, which is getting certified in the US as AATD. It has already met the standards for EASA I approval in Europe and is now undergoing EASA II which is expected by June 2019. It is included in our ATD comparison list.
We went to visit the company in Arkel, in the Netherlands after FSWeekend, and spent a couple of hours looking at their offerings and talking to owner Hubert Roth and manager Joost Meijeren.
TRC is shipping to several customers in Asia and currently offering several products rotating around a C172 model, which is provided in several configurations. The one we tried on the factory floor was mounted on an extremely smooth motion platform, from excellent manufacturer Brunner.
Flight modeling is done in-house from actual flight data. Internally, the cabin was exactly the shape and dimension of the popular 172 trainer, a detail we particularly appreciate in terms of adding to the transfer of learning related to controls’ position and general ergonomic considerations (seats, view over the glareshield, etc.).
We took the simulator for a short flight. The simulator allows for the fairly common analog/digital avionics switch-over. The model we tested was equipped with a G1000 setup, standby instruments. All axes were provided with force feedback devices.
In the short demo we had the opportunity to experience, we were very favorably impressed by the flight model and the simulator response to the control inputs. While in other simulators we were not always impressed by the effects of motion, here, in part because the 6 DOF Brunner platform is so smooth and well calibrated, the tilt along the roll and pitch axis really added to the perceived sensation when climbing and in turbulence.
We had heavy weather dialed up in the instructor station and it felt the part. The bank axis was somewhat more subtle, which we also appreciated as it tends to be quickly over-represented since it lacks a counter-acting centrifugal force. The force feedback yokes and rudder pedals well complemented the sensation of flying the motion platform gave us. The sim on the factory floor had five vertically-oriented 4k monitors which covered about 160 degrees of scenery. Probably the only displays that could have been crisper were in the set of G1000 avionics, although functionally working well. They kept us going towards Amsterdam until just before landing.
TRC’s prices and soon expected higher level certification as AATD and FNPT II should make this offering of much interest to flight schools looking for an affordable ab-initio trainer and initial IR platform. In our opinion, a student could quite nicely learn most procedures, including pattern work, in it. TRC takes care of their customers with a maintenance program that is very detail oriented. As many other manufacturers and sim integrators, they perform most maintenance remote with the additional hardware items being shipped overnight and field replaceable. This seem to have become the standard in the simulation industry.
We liked the single model orientation that TRC is taking for a number of reasons, not least because it ensures a focus on a popular aircraft that many, if not most, flight schools use. This product complements the aircraft you see on the line almost everywhere around the world.