As the first PC-based flight simulation providers, ELITE Simulation Solutions AG has enjoyed a fascinating history over the past 35 years since its launch. With our expert, Rene Huddlestone, who proudly represents ELITE for over 26 years we’ve outlined how this swiss-based, the family business has grown into one of the leaders in the aviation simulation market.
ELITE Simulation Solutions AG was founded by a group of experts in the field of computer simulation, who saw the potential for using simulations to model complex systems and help organizations make more informed decisions. From its earliest days, the company focused on developing advanced software tools and services that could help customers in a variety of industries leverage the power of simulation. ELITE’s story begins in 1987 when Thomas Bolli, at the time Swissair Captain and later the head of Lufthansa Aviation Training Switzerland – SWISS, Joerg Rickli who is still the co-owner to date and Professor Dr. Marti, former Professor of Swiss Federal Institute of Technology opened their first office in Zurich, Switzerland. The three of them founded the company, calling their newest venture: Initiative Computing AG. The first product was called ELITE which stood for Electronic Instrument Training Environment in 1995 inspired the owners to call their business ELITE Simulation Solutions AG. In the beginning, their team was very small, employing only 8 people on a daily basis. But the tiny IFR trainer software provider proved successful in its home country, which cleared the way for ELITE to open its first office in the U.S. in 1990.
The Growth: Software, Airbus, Helicopter
Over the years, ELITE has developed a wide range of simulation software and services for aviation (Swiss Helicopter, Columbia Helicopters) & defense industries (Polk County Sheriff) but also international flight schools (Panamedia International Flight School) and academies (Hub’Air Aviation Academy, Arizona State University). The company created a range of software tools for simulating aircraft performance, logistics and military operations as well as training programs and consulting services. These products have been highly successful and have helped the company establish itself as a leader in the aviation simulation market. What pushed ELITE to expand was the lack of quality from existing hardware producers. This family-owned business from Zurich had major problems with warranty issues using third-party-produced hardware, so they decided to develop their own hardware to achieve the highest quality standards. USA was impressed with their innovation, integrity, complexity, and quality as well as the fact that ELITE Software was the first PC-based flight simulation on the market. Within five years the swiss company was able to sell more than 10 000 software packages in the United States alone! Some of their proudest products include the standard workhorse: S923 FNPT II MCC & S812 MEP/SEP, Pilatus Aircraft PC-7 MkII and PC-9M full replica FTD as well as the most current product they’re working on: Bombardier Learjet 35 full replica FTD. On top of all of these, they also ventured into the production of Helicopter simulators such as the Airbus Helicopter H125 and H135 both in FNPT configurations under EASA regulations.
Today, ELITE Simulation Solutions AG is a global leader in the aviation industry with customers in more than 50 countries around the world and team members helping ELITE be the company they are from almost every continent. Through a focus on innovation and excellence, the company has developed a wide range of products and services, helping customers achieve their goals through the use of simulation.