Redbird Flight Simulations, with several industry partners, will open a research and development laboratory at the San Marcos Airport (HYI) in Texas. The new facility, designated Redbird Skyport, will open Nov. 8.
Skyport is the culmination of the efforts of Redbird Flight Simulations and King Schools and is supported by GAMA, AOPA, Cessna, Avemco and other industry partners, according to company officials. Skyport will be a first step in developing solutions to the challenges of a shrinking pilot population, staggering student drop-out rate and the ever increasing cost of flight training, officials added. The aviation laboratory will include a full service FBO, flight school, and aviation experience center. All aspects of the project will provide a test bed for hardware, software, business processes and ideas with the goal of revitalizing general aviation.
The grand opening event will be attended by John and Martha King of King Schools, Craig Fuller of AOPA, Pete Bunce of GAMA, Mark Paolucci of Cessna, and other industry leaders. Directly following the Grand Opening, Skyport will host a flight training symposium in conjunction with the Cessna Pilot Center Program that will feature presenters from Redbird, King Schools, Avemco, Cessna Aircraft and many others.
Skyport will be an open laboratory where new ideas are fostered and innovative solutions are tested. “We have committed to building an R&D facility in the form of a working, for profit, flight school at an airport in San Marcos,Texas. The work product of that institution will be available to and benefit everyone in the industry and we, and our development partners, are looking forward with great anticipation to its opening in the fall of 2011. As a step toward fixing the problems with flight training, it’s a drop in the bucket, but it’s a start,” said Jerry Gregoire, chairman of Redbird Flight Simulations.
The idea for an R&D laboratory came from the need for quantifiable data regarding the use of simulation in general aviation training, he said. “We have always believed that our systems could be a catalyst for improvements in the way pilots are trained and we needed a platform to test our ideas,” he added. “Early on in the process we recognized that the only way to affect meaningful change was to look at all the pieces of the puzzle. We are building this project from the ground up to redefine the status quo.”