Houston: Spaceport to See Construction of 90K Square Foot Flight Training Center
Featured Illustration (above): Rendering of FlightSafety International’s planned training and supply center at Houston Spaceport. Courtesy: FlightSafety
By Edmond Ortiz
Houston (Harris County)—FlightSafety International, a New York-based aviation training company and flight simulator and display supplier, announced in October it will build a 90,000-square-foot, $16 million training facility at Houston Spaceport.
Company officials and the Houston Airport System, which oversees the spaceport, signed a 30-year lease for six acres, making FlightSafety the anchor tenant for Phase I of spaceport development.
In addition to conducting more than 1.4 million hours of training for pilots, technicians and other aviation professionals from 167 countries and territories, FlightSafety provides simulators, visual systems and displays to commercial, government and military organizations worldwide. The company has several training centers nationwide, including Dallas and San Antonio.
Plans for the spaceport training complex call for an initial implementation of 12 full flight simulators for a variety of aircraft types.
The existing FlightSafety training center at William Hobby Airport in Houston. Image: FlightSafety
The simulators and other advanced-technology training devices will be used to train pilots, flight attendants and aircraft maintenance technicians. This includes an area focused on training on Pratt & Whitney Canada engines.
Construction is expected to start in spring of 2020 and finish up by summer 2021. While FlightSafety has not yet announced a construction delivery method for the project, they have indicated a willingness to work with a local contractor.
“FlightSafety is proud to have been a member of the Houston business community since 1966,” David Davenport, FlightSafety president and CEO, said in a company news release.
“This new facility will replace the current Houston Learning Center, which opened in 1976. We appreciate the support received from the city of Houston for this new facility as we worked to develop and finalize a long-term ground lease agreement for a six-acre area within Phase 1 of the spaceport.”
FlightSafety has also signed an agreement with a large commercial aircraft operator for exclusive use of a large portion of the center, the news release stated.
The dedicated area will be equipped with a series of full flight simulators, classrooms and offices to support the company’s pilot training programs.
“This agreement further demonstrates FlightSafety’s ability to provide turnkey training services to commercial aircraft operators in facilities that meet their exact needs,” added Davenport.
The new training center will replace a learning center that FlightSafety opened at William Hobby Airport in 1976. The company expects to have up to 200 employees in the new facility.
The agreement with FlightSafety marks a major step forward in the growth of Houston Spaceport. Joint venture Texas Sterling-Banicki JV LLC has begun the first phase of spaceport development in the southeast portion of Ellington Airport property by preparing or improving infrastructure work.
“This is a big win for the Houston Spaceport,” Arturo Machuca, general manager of Houston Spaceport and Ellington Airport, said in the press release. “This reaffirms our vision of the Houston Spaceport becoming a center for aviation and aerospace training. The future is here, and Houston is leading the way.”
Edmond Ortiz is a lifelong San Antonian and a 20-plus-year veteran in local journalism, He previously worked full-time at the San Antonio Express-News, and has been freelancing for outlets such as the Rivard Report.