On Saint Patrick's Day, 1947, CAE, then known as Canadian Aviation Electronics Ltd., was founded by Mr. Ken Patrick, an ex-Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) officer. His goal was to "...create something Canadian and take advantage of a war-trained team that was extremely innovative and very technology-intensive." From the beginning, some of Canada's best known industrialists formed the company's board of directors. In 1951, Mr. R. Fraser Elliot joined the board and became its Chairman two years later.
The 1960s began with the award of two milestone contracts. The first was a military contract from the Canadian government for six F-104 Starfighter simulators. The F-104 program was the company's first experience with radar land mass simulation and the incorporation of a visual system, a motion system and a compact mission recorder. Within a five-year span 26 additional units had be purchased by five other North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries.
In the 70s, world airlines were hit hard by fuel shortages, environmental pressures, and government regulations. All these factors increased the airlines' need to train flight crews on simulators. The resulting business and CAE's approach of designing each simulator to a customer's specific needs generated substantial technological breakthroughs in control loading, motion systems, instructor consoles, and the diagnostics of complex software.
In this decade, CAE expanded its international markets to the point of exporting approximately 85% of all production. Power simulators were sold for the first time in the U.S., while SCADA systems made their debut in China and Venezuela. Integrated Machinery Control Systems (IMCS) for naval vessels were introduced and sold in Canada and in the United States.
The 1990s saw CAE capitalize on the foundation laid down by Ken Patrick in 1947. In what was a pivotal decade, CAE grew in stature to become the preeminent world leader in the science of flight and systems simulation. As a result of advances made during this period, CAE became the world's leading designer and manufacturer of civil aircraft full-flight simulators, flight training devices, visual systems, computer based trainers and computer assisted training systems.
The advent of the new millennium crystallized the company's vision and lent it new resolve and focus. After decades as the world leader in the design and manufacture of simulation equipment, CAE was about to take bold steps to become a global leader in the provision of aviation training services. The year 2000 will be remembered in the annals of CAE history as the year the company announced plans to build a global training network —a move that would ultimately provide CAE with the unparalleled ability to offer customers the most comprehensive package of products and services available from anyone in the simulation and training industry.
In the early 2010s, CAE continued to grow its training network to secure its position as the worldwide leader in training in civil aviation, defence & security and healthcare. CAE also deployed its new vision, to be recognized global training partner of choice, a new milestone for the company, who is fully embracing its training services company status.