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Simulators stay on the ground, but business has really taken off

Aviation in Tulsa isn't all just the big names. It also includes a new support service company that is fast becoming a major contender for commercial airline and defense aviation dollars.

George Moody (US) Inc., or GMI (named for its founder and president), is one of four companies around the world that manufacture aircraft simulators. Just three years old, the company is already giving its competitors a run for their money. Grabbing market share from such veteran manufacturers as Singer Link of New York, the fledgling GMI this year secured 90 percent of all contracts written for commercial training equipment and systems.

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The aircraft simulator business is based on the theory that firsthand knowledge and hands-on experience are better and retained longer than all the ''book learning'' in the world. For the aircraft industry, however, the learn-by-doing method is hazardous. At 30,000 feet above the ground, a goof can be fatal.

But not in a GMI ''airplane.'' This Tulsa company's products help pilots, copilots, flight engineers, and cabin crews learn routine and emergency flight procedures without leaving the ground. Its flight simulators are full-scale models of aircraft cockpits. They are accurate in detail, from the instrumentation to the upholstery color.

Mounted on seven hydraulic legs, these simulators pitch and roll with in-flight motion and can simulate sound conditions, instrument presentations, and the ''feel'' of controlling an aircraft.

GMI has so far delivered about $40 million in engineering services, equipment , and software to major commercial airlines all over the world.

It lists Southwest Airlines, Texas International, US Air, American, TWA, United, British Caledonian Airways, Trans-Brazil, Scandinavan Airlines Systems, Ansett Airlines of Australia, and the US Navy as customers. And recently it won contacts for simulators for the new Saab 340 commuter airplane and for Boeing's new 757 and 767 aircraft.

GMI's cabin units have hydraulic-controlled motion systems and are able to simulate structural deformation and collapsed landing gear, fire and smoke, and rapid decompression. The accompanying sound tracks reproduce everything from normal cruising through a crash landing.

Also in the GMI product line are ground maintenance simulators with exact replica cockpits; maintenance and test panels; systems trainers containing both a lighted and graphic representation of electrical, hydraulic, and engine controls; logic and instrumentation systems; and classroom and self-teaching equipment.

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George W. Moody himself is a young Englishman with more than 17 years' experience in the simulator business in Britain. In 1975 Mr. started his own engineering service company in England. GML (George Moody Limited) now operates as an ''interfacing'' organization with GMI in Tulsa and serves the European market.

Moody came to Tulsa in 1976 on a consulting job for Atkins & Merrill, a one-time GMI competitor now out of the simulator business. Later in 1979, Moody and his team of 22 employees, many of whom he romanced away from a British simulator builder, expanded GMI into a manufacturing concern as well as an engineering and design company.

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