Redbird Flight Simulations plans to open a research and development laboratory in November at the San Marcos Airport (HYI) in Texas.
Designated Redbird Skyport, the new facility 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. It will be a first step in developing solutions to the challenges of a shrinking pilot population, a 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.
“You can’t manage what you can’t measure,” said Jerry Gregoire, chairman of Redbird Flight Simulations, who noted that all the data collected in the laboratory will be available to everyone in GA. “As a step toward fixing the problems with flight training, it’s a drop in the bucket, but it’s a start,” he said.
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.”
“Solving the two major problems in general aviation, the student dropout rate and the fatality rate, requires this fundamental change in the way flight training is conducted,” said John King, co-owner of King Schools. “The goal is that by using scenario-based training that makes abnormal situations realistic, we will produce pilots truly ready to be pilot-in-command.’’
For more information: RedbirdFlightSimulations.com