United States of America





Thursday May 19, 2016 17:22










Who are we, and what do we do?








? The Texas Pilots Association

A Tad About Us!

We Are... The TPA is a nonprofit General Aviation (GA) organization of both pilots and non-pilots who are committed, first and foremost, to preserving and advancing GA in the whole of the great State of Texas, then the U.S., to be followed by the rest of the world, via forging relationships and supporting sibling interest groups in their respective and relating domains (GA citizens)... The passion for flight, aviation, and aerospace has no boundaries nor nationality!

Whether you are a Texan, a resident of our state or a visitor and tourist, you will find that this website of ours will touch on many of your interests and serve as a guide and a resource of useful information ranging from topics about GA and education to tourism in Texas.

Education & Preparation... One of our primary goals continues to be: proactively encouraging and supporting education in all fields that cater to GA and Advanced GA with emphasis -when possible- on traditional schooling programs from the early years of schooling to high school levels, in order to attract and facilitate the better preparation of the next generation of Texan aviation/aerospace pioneers and enthusiasts.

This goal will be accomplished through:

  • Setting-up after school programs that relate to GA in areas that exhibit serious interest and such a demand;

  • Supporting/providing after school science and mathematics tutoring programs;

  • Membership in The Texas Pilots Association's "Young Aviator Council" which will also help chosen members to develop and hone their leadership skills as well as their knowledge of GA and its related fields;

  • GA related competitions lead by The TPA, its partners, and sponsors.

Texas Education: Where We Stand (PDF, 528 KB)

The Dream... To add, we want to make sure that we keep the "dream of flight" alive in the minds of the younger generations, while continuing to recognize and pay homage to those men and women who have lead the way and pioneered different feats in aviation, aeronautics, and aerospace. This goal will be accomplished through:

  • Promoting GA via educational materials and organizations, social and traditional media outlets, and organized events... Demonstrating that GA is as exciting as it is!

  • Delivering easily and safely accessible and interesting information about GA via our website and other TPA media;

  • Sponsoring "discovery flights" via our VIP Wing and partner flight schools;

  • Providing scholarships and grants;

  • Providing tours of GA related businesses and industries with their cooperation and hosting to demonstrate the diversity of the industry and its impact on us from the individual base to the overall economy of the nation and the world.

Green GA... The Texas Pilots Association is a proud supporter of environmental friendly operations, and it is our goal to actively encourage environmental conservation within the GA fields and industries in the state, starting with the integration of such concepts in our own internal programs, and then supporting  and collaborating with environmental interest groups to educate Texans on the value of such a mind-set.


This goal will be accomplished through:


  • Partnership with environmental groups and utilizing their experience and research, with emphasis on supporting and educating the GA industry and practitioners about best and most cost effective practices;

  • Sponsoring relating events, and publicly recognizing those entities that make significant improvements in their practices which will contribute to the well-being and preservation of our state's natural resources and environment, through our "Black Hawk Environmental Stewardship Award," named after the endangered Texas bird, the Common Black Hawk.


Demo of the "Black Hawk Environmental Stewardship Award"

? The Texas Pilots Association


The Volunteer Individuals & Pilots Wing (VIP Wing)... 

The Texas Pilots Association's VIP Wing aims to lead Texas General Aviation (GA) in serving our State, and the nation, by providing support -through our membership- for community and educational efforts , emergency events, humanitarian causes and "flights of compassion", also to augment law enforcement and search & rescue efforts -when requested, and supporting legislative issues of significant impact on our over-all goals. Click here to learn more.

You Can Make A Difference... We welcome you to join us in our efforts, and spread the word about us too; you can make a positive difference, so, what is stopping you? Let us see if we can help remove the chocks and get your wheels rolling!... contact us, or support us by donating.

? The Texas Pilots Association

Do you...

  • Do you get a chill when you hear a plane or spaceship throttling-up for take-off?

  • Do you get a high from the odor of combusted aviation fuel, and the sight or sound of an aircraft or spacecraft?

  • Do you feel at home at an airport or spaceport?

  • Do you look up at the sky and stare in amazement when you hear a plane fly above you, until it disappears from view?

  • Do you recognize the livery of almost every airline, even when in flight?

  • Do you recognize the steps of the landing procedure -when you are a passenger on a plane- from the flare to touchdown, and do you T-minus countdown the seconds before the undercarriage touches the ground, brakes are applied, thrust reverse and spoilers are engaged?

  • Do you recognize the make and model of almost every aircraft in service, including war-birds?

  • Do you not discriminate against a nationality or manufacturer of an aircraft as long as it is safe to fly?

  • Do you dream of designing or building your own plane?

  • Do you love repairing and maintaining aircraft?

  • Do you dream of flying or going to space, because you have not yet?

  • Do you pilot an aircraft or spacecraft?

  • Have you ever dreamt of being a pilot or an astronaut-commander/pilot?

  • Do you love scuba diving?

If you do any of these things, most likely you belong with us!


View a listing of our leadership.

The Chairman's page

Pay homage to those Texans who have lead the way and pioneered different feats in aviation.


What is GA?


General aviation (GA) is one of the two categories of civil aviation. It refers to all flights both private and commercial that are other than military and scheduled airline or regular cargo flights.


General aviation flights range from lighter than air crafts, gliders and powered parachutes to large, non-scheduled cargo jet flights and suborbital flights. The majority of the world's air traffic falls into this category, and most of the world's airports serve general aviation exclusively.

General aviation is particularly popular in North America, with over 6,300 airports available for public use by pilots of general aviation aircraft (around 5,300 paved airports in the U.S., with over 790 of all types listed in Texas, and over 1,000 paved airports in Canada). In comparison, scheduled flights operate from around 600 airports in the U.S. GA accounts for 1.3 million jobs in professional services and manufacturing.

General aviation covers a large range of activities, both commercial and non-commercial, including private flying, flight training, air ambulance, police aircraft, aerial firefighting, air charter, bush flying, gliding, skydiving, and many others. Experimental aircraft and suborbital spacecraft, light-sport aircraft and very light jets have emerged in recent years as new trends in general aviation.


-Primary source: Wikipedia


Aviation in Texas


"Been flying, train-riding, automobiling, horseback and buggy riding over Texas for thirty-three years and I've never seen a tenth if it" -Will Rogers


First Flight in Texas... As early as the 1860's, balloonists in Texas took to the air in experiments that seemed to defy the laws of gravity.  Within a few years, however, these early efforts in aviation were directed toward the development of winged craft.  

Even today, claims persist that Texas inventor Jacob F. Brodbeck became the world's first aviator.  According to legend, he flew his "air-ship" on September 20, 1865--almost forty years before the Wright brother's famous flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.  Brodbeck's flight allegedly took place about three miles east of Luckenbach.  According to reports, the flight ended in an unfortunate landing which destroyed the craft but left Brodbeck without serious injury.

After the Wright brothers' controlled airplane flights in 1903, aeronautical progress generally was slow until 1909?10, when European aviation made rapid strides and the United States government acquired its first aircraft. Aerial demonstrations proliferated at sites across America, including Houston, where a Frenchman, Louis Paulhan, made the first airplane flight in the state on February 18, 1910 (see image below). Flights in other Texas cities soon followed, and some Texans began building their own airplanes. Records of many of these projects are often imprecise, but one of the earliest Texans to fly appears to have been L. L. Walker, of Houston. He apparently flew his aircraft, a Bleriot monoplane, during October and November 1910. Several airplanes and fliers were active around the state before World War I, and at least two women, Marjorie and Katherine Stinson, of San Antonio, became well-known pilots.

First Flight

First 'official' Flight in Texas.   A small crowd is delighted after witnessing the first aeroplane flight in Texas. Frenchman Louis Paulhan completed the demonstration in South Houston on Feb. 18, 1910, a few years after the Wright brother's famous flight. (image -Lone Star Junction)

Military aviation had already begun to develop in Texas. Lt. Benjamin Foulois, a colorful pioneer pilot, arrived at Fort Sam Houston in February 1910, assembled the army's recently purchased Wright biplane, and took to the air on March 2, 1910. Three years later the newly established First Aero Squadron, with nine airplanes, was assigned to Texas City. After serving in other states, the First Aero returned to Texas in 1916 to support Gen. John J. Pershing in his pursuit of Francisco (Pancho) Villa into Mexico.

In 1917 American entry into World War I brought the first of many military flight schools to Texas, where students appreciated the level terrain and year-round flying weather. In addition to Kelly and Brooks fields in San Antonio, facilities throughout the state trained thousands of fliers, mechanics, and other aviation personnel and established a legacy of military aviation. Texans such as Wiley Post, Howard Hughes, and Douglas "Wrong Way" Corrigan posted records and made headlines during the 1930s. These events dramatized the role of aircraft in reducing time and distance and made Texans more inclined to utilize airplanes in a state where distances were vast and centers of population were far removed from each other and from other urban areas of the United States.

The first commercial line to serve Texas was National Air Transport, one of the private companies incorporated to take advantage of the Air Mail Act of 1925. On May 12, 1926, a National plane left Love Field in Dallas and headed for Chicago with the first air mail; passenger service was added in the fall of 1927.





Braniff Airways, a regional carrier started by Thomas Elmer Braniff, made Love Field its principal operations and maintenance base in 1934 and eventually moved its home office from Oklahoma to Love Field, in 1942. Under the guidance of Cyrus R. Smith, of Austin, American Airlines routes through Dallas not only bolstered the area's reputation but also offered Texans rapid transportation to commercial centers on both coasts. Pan American offered international service from Brownsville to Latin America.



Having a meal on Braniff Airways

As a major agricultural state, Texas became a lively area of activity for crop dusters. Many operations like rice farming used aerial seeding, fertilizing, and dusting against insects. The rapid growth of surveying for oil leases in the booming Texas oilfields propelled Tobin Aerial Surveys of San Antonio into early prominence in the new industry of aerial photogrammetry. Around the "oil patch," with widely scattered operations and a lack of convenient all-weather roads, planes became standard tools of the trade for both corporations and wildcatters in a business noted for its aggressiveness.

During World War II geography and climate again made Texas a center for aeronautical training. The base at Corpus Christi became the world's largest naval air-training station; Randolph Field was the army air force's "West Point of the Air." At Avenger Field in Sweetwater, the Air Force carried out training for WASPS, the Women's Air force Service Pilots, who flew thousands of warplanes from factories to airfields, towed aerial targets, and performed other functions. Some forty military fields in Texas turned out 45,000 pilots, 25,000 bombardiers, and 12,700 navigators. Moreover, the state became a major aircraft manufacturer; new plants employed thousands of workers. During the war years, two companies in Dallas and Fort Worth alone employed some 70,000 men and women who built 50,000 aircraft. Refineries in Texas were principal suppliers for high-octane gasoline used by Allied aircraft in every combat theater of the world.

In the postwar years, the general aviation sector (agricultural, business, and personal flying) rapidly developed throughout the state. As Texas industry grew, many businesses saw the need for rapid air travel to distant business centers from coast to coast. Scheduled air transport did not always offer convenient and timely schedules; for these reasons, business and corporate flying rapidly increased. In agriculture the long growing season and broad fields favored the development of such specialized agricultural aircraft as the trend-setting AG-1 at Texas A&M University, and Texas became a world leader in the design and production of such airplanes. Along the Gulf Coast, dozens of helicopters made their runs to offshore oil rigs, carrying relief crews, mail, groceries, repair parts, and myriad other cargos. In sprawling cities, especially in rush hours when accidents frequently occurred, the versatility of helicopters as ambulances was invaluable

Southwest Airlines' Lone Star One aircraft

However, it was the growth of scheduled air travel that necessitated new urban airports. Houston Intercontinental opened in 1969; Dallas-Fort Worth Regional Airport opened in 1974. The convenience of air travel attracted much new business to the state. The airlines serving Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and other major cities reflected the revolution in aeronautics since 1945. Piston-engined transports gave way to jets in the 1960s, including long-range jumbo jets capable of nonstop flights to Europe from both DFW and Houston. In times past, when a European visit required at least two or three weeks of sailing on ocean liners, only the very wealthy could afford such luxuries of time and expense. The jets, with rapid travel and lower fares, brought a democratization of foreign and domestic travel.

In the mid-1980s Texas listed some 60,000 licensed pilots and 25,000 registered aircraft. There were 250 airline aircraft based in Texas, and fifty-five different airline companies served the state. But these numbers represented only a small part of the aerospace industry in Texas. Numerous military air bases annually pumped billions of dollars into the state's economy. The United States Air Force Air Training Command, headquartered at Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio, trained more Air Force pilots than any other facility. The Naval Air Station at Corpus Christi was the second largest naval aviation center in the free world. After 1945 the Dallas-Fort Worth area, a major military complex, turned out bombers, fighters, and helicopters, as well as missile components and advanced electronics. Because these products played such a significant role in world affairs, such as the multinational production and sales agreements for the General Dynamics F-16 fighter, the aerospace industry helped keep Texans attuned to international economics and politics.

Texas, a Titan in Space Travel

Then, we have Advanced General Aviation... America's path to outer space has always gone through Texas. Texas' connection to the space program can be traced to the sprawling ranch in Clear Lake that became the headquarters for what was first called the Manned Spacecraft Center.

The complex was renamed the Johnson Space Center after Texas-born President Lyndon B. Johnson died in 1973. Johnson was President J. F. Kennedy's point man for the space program when the nation was set on the course to reach the moon before the 1960s ended.

One of the currently active commercial spaceports in Texas is "Corn Ranch" which is a spaceport in the West Texas town of Van Horn, where flight tests of the New Shepard are carried out by Blue Origin on the 165,000-acre (670 km?) land parcel. The first flight test took place on November 13, 2006 with the goal of providing commercial tourist flights.

On April 11, 2011, Texas lawmakers approved a bill that would limit the liability that private space travel companies face to boosting Commercial Space Travel. Under the legislation, people who sign up for rides on a private space flight would assume the risk of death or injury by signing a waiver. The companies would still be liable for gross negligence or damage to non-participants, officials said.

Quoting Samuel (Sam) Houston, first President of the Republic of Texas: "When Texas united her destiny with that of the United States, she entered not into the North or South; her connection was not sectional, but national", and with that my friends comes a responsibility to succeed uniquely where others may have the option to miss the touchdown zone and make a go around -unless absolutely necessary.

And us... The Texas Pilots Association... simply, a continuation to history, and a beginning of a future...

A True State of Mind























































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