If you’ve flown in a passenger plane, your pilot was likely trained with a CAE flight simulator, built in Montreal — and now the 75-year-old company is being recognized for its role in Canadian aviation with a new Post Canada stamp.
Canada Post’s Canadians in Flight series promotes five Canadian aviation pioneers, including CAE’s full-flight simulators.
“I think we’re very proud to be on this stamp,” said Samantha Golinski, CAE’s vice president of public affairs. “I think it really roots us in our Canadian heritage as a Canadian company born right here in Montreal.”
CAE, which stands for Canadian Aviation Electronics, is a Canadian manufacturer of simulation technologies and training services for airlines, aircraft manufacturers, healthcare specialists and defense customers. The company was founded in 1947 by former Air Force officer Ken Patrick. Its beginnings were humble: It started with about 13 employees, Golinski said. Today, it has more than 13,000 employees around the world, including some 4,000 based at its head office in Montreal.
Although flight simulators were created during World War II, CAE built the first Canadian commercial flight simulator in 1955.
The company claims that in 2018, it held 70% of the global flight simulator market share, making it a leader in the field.
Airline pilots from around the world travel to Montreal to train on the machines, which are programmed to resemble airplane cockpits, including the Boeing 737, Airbus 220 and more.
“The CAE flight simulator was an obvious choice for this series because it revolutionized the way pilots learn to fly,” Canada Post said in a statement.
In the 1980s, CAE developed a flight simulator so realistic that it was not necessary to complete all flight training on real aircraft.
The Federal Aviation Administration now recognizes one hour in an approved simulator as the equivalent of one hour in the air.
This makes simulation a much greener option for pilot training.
“When the pilot flies a real plane for the first time, it’s with passengers in the back,” Golinski said. “When you train on a simulator versus the real plane, you save tons of carbon.”
In addition to the CAE stamp, Canada Post has also issued new stamps celebrating one of Canada’s first female bush pilots, Violet (Vi) Milstead, the Canadian-made de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver aircraft, Wallace Rupert Turnbull , the creator of the variable-pitch propeller, and Wilbur R. Franks, who developed the world’s first anti-gravity suit used in combat.