On Tuesday Redbird Flight Simulations took the next step on its meteoric growth in the GA market by cutting the ribbon on Skyport, a hybrid aviation business based in San Marcos, Texas (KHYI). The town is roughly halfway between Austin and San Antonio. The facility, which Redbird founder Jerry Gregoire refers to as a laboratory, was an experiment in itself. The 33,000-square-foot building, which houses a large hangar, FBO facilities, a sim center, customer center, meeting rooms, a restaurant and more, went from conception to ribbon cutting in eight months, with just six busy months needed from cornerstone to Grand Opening.
The opening, which hosted dignitaries from the city of San Marcos, Flying magazine, AOPA, and SAFE, among others, was attended by around 400 people. Speakers, included San Marcos Mayor Daniel Guerrero, Cessna’s Mark Paolucci, King Schools founders Martha and John King, Avemco President Jim Lauerman, Flying Editor-in-Chief Robert Goyer, and AOPA Pilot Editor-in-Chief Tom Haines. Gregoire concluded the official festivities by describing his hopes for Skyport in finding ways to combine top-notch flight instruction, a variety of simulators, a forward-thinking curriculum and San Marcos’ notably good weather to cut training time, reduce costs and improve quality. A three-week course, he said, would guarantee the Private Pilot certificate and a ton of fun for resident Skyport students at a price of $9,500.