March 11, 2014
By Jill W. Tallman
Friendly, spacious, and ready to welcome pilots to AOPA’s first regional fly-in of 2014. That sums up San Marcos Municipal Airport (HYI) as well as the city of San Marcos itself, in the heart of central Texas. The airport has roots that date back to World War II, but a modern approach to
Throughout the day at the AOPA Fly-In in San Marcos, a wide variety of events and activities will be available for AOPA members, pilots, and aviation enthusiasts. The event programming begins at 8:30 a.m. and concludes at 4 p.m.
8:30 a.m.–10 a.m.—Pancake Breakfast ($5 ticket required).
10 a.m.–4 p.m.—Aircraft displays, flying demonstrations, and exhibit tent open.
10:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m.—Educational seminars.
11:30 a.m.–1:15 p.m.—Barbeque lunch (free for AOPA members, spouse, and children; $10 nonmembers).
1:30 p.m.–2:30 p.m.—Educational seminars.
2:45 p.m.–3:30 p.m.—Pilot Town Hall with AOPA President Mark Baker.
RSVP and reserve your meal tickets.
Fly or drive to the event. Driving directions are available online. General aviation arrival and departure procedures and notam information will be available on the website. Plan to visit the Commemorative Air Force’s Central Texas (CenTex) Wing Museum on the airport (left). Bring your family and make a weekend of it! Information about local attractions, hotel discounts, and ground transportation will be provided on the website so you can make plans. Make arrangements to have your rental vehicle delivered to the FBO. Check out the AOPA Rental Car Discount Program for member-benefit rates.
EAA's B-17 Aluminum Overcast will be available for rides and tours at San Marcos.
On the same day as the AOPA Fly-In, the Commemorative Air Force will be hosting an antique-car show and casino night at its facilities on the east end of the airfield. Take time to explore another side of transportation!
The great outdoors. Keeping our fingers crossed for great weather, expect temperatures at the end of April to be in the 80s. That’s warm enough to experience the San Marcos River. Spring-fed and a constant 72 degrees, the upper river winds its way through the city as well as the campus of Texas State University, and you can swim in it or float on top via inner tube, kayak, or canoe (equipment rentals and shuttles are widely available).
At the headlands of the San Marcos River, the Meadows Center offers a self-guided Wetlands Boardwalk tour, or you can escape on a glass-bottom boat or paddle a glass-bottom kayak to spy the dense turtle population in the clear waters of the 30-foot-deep springs (www.aquarena.txstate.edu/Home-page.html).
If you’d rather stay dry, San Marcos has miles of hiking and biking trails as well as half-mile accessible trails with information kiosks and benches (www.smgreenbelt.org).
History is here. Lyndon Baines Johnson, our thirty-sixth president, graduated from Southwest Texas State Teachers College, now Texas State University. While his presidential library is located in Austin, the LBJ Museum of San Marcos has its own collection of 150 artifacts, including hats, pens used to sign legislation, and photos (http://lbjmuseum.com).
On the town. For a light bite or a larger meal, the Square in downtown San Marcos between University Drive and West San Antonio Street offers numerous dining options. You’ll also find a selection of food trucks parked within walking distance of the Square.
The Root Cellar on North LBJ Drive happens to be San Marcos’s one and only brew pub. It offers four house brews, including one that is gluten free. The Root Cellar serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Music city. Yes, nearby Austin is generally acknowledged as the home of live music venues in Texas. But you needn’t travel 30 miles to the bigger city to hear homegrown singers and songwriters. Cheatham Street Warehouse prides itself on nurturing local talent, hosting a Songwriters Circle every Wednesday night in addition to weekend acts. Rising stars George Strait and Stevie Ray Vaught played the venue, which opened in 1974.
Mark Baker took office as AOPA’s fifth president in 2013. An accomplished general aviation pilot, he began flying at the age of 16. He has owned numerous aircraft over the years including a Beech 18 on floats. A native of Minnesota, he is an avid seaplane pilot. He has more than 7,500 hours and holds multiple ratings.
Bruce leads the AOPA Foundation, which funds the work of the Air Safety Institute. The organization is nationally recognized, with numerous awards on aviation safety leadership and educational program excellence. He writes the monthly “Safety Pilot” column in AOPA Pilot magazine, has a weekly blog, and is a frequent seminar and webinar presenter.
Rod is on a one-man mission to keep the fun in learning. He wrote and co-anchored ABC’s Wide World of Flying. He is the flight instructor on Microsoft Flight Simulator and has written several books, including Rod Machado’s Private Pilot Handbook and Plane Talk. Rod has an ATP and all fixed-wing flight instructor ratings.
Adrian is an airline transport pilot, currently flying for JetBlue Airways. Prior to JetBlue, he flew for the FAA, NASA, General Dynamics, and the Washington Redskins. Adrian achieved Master Certified Flight Instructor and Master Ground Instructor with National Association of Flight Instructors and Master Instructors LLC. He is also an A&P mechanic with inspection authorization.
John oversees the Sporty’s Pilot Shop catalog and online marketing programs. He has been flying for 15 years and is a commercial pilot with more than 2,000 hours. He holds helicopter, glider, and seaplane ratings. John flies a Robinson R44, a Citabria, and a Pilatus PC-12.
1: Free admission to a day full of seminars, static displays, and more.
2: Free lunch for AOPA members. No such thing, you say? It’s true. We’ll provide the barbeque; you bring the appetite. Please RSVP now (www.aopa.org/fly-ins)
3: Meet Mark. AOPA President Mark Baker and other key leaders from AOPA will be on hand to answer your questions and listen to your concerns and ideas.
4: Friendly tower controllers. San Marcos Municipal’s tower opened in 2010, and since that time the air traffic controllers have cut their teeth on such high-volume events as the Redbird Migration and Redbird Skyport’s $1-a-gallon avgas promotion.
5: EAA is offering historic flight and tour experiences in its B–17G Aluminum Overcast. Tickets on the website (www.b17.org/tour).
6: Tour Redbird Sim center. You’ve heard about this innovative flight school that uses cutting-edge simulator technology to train pilots in a shorter amount of time. See the equipment and meet the people behind the innovation.
7: Classic cars (and new ones). The CAF Centex Wing’s annual Casino Night is April 26, held in conjunction with a classic car show. Some 200 classic and new vehicles will be on display.
8: Plenty of ramp space. and friendly volunteers to help you park and greet you at your aircraft.
9: Services galore. With two fixed-base operators (Berry Aviation and Redbird Skyport), four airframe and powerplant mechanics, an avionics shop, and a paint shop, HYI has ample services in the event your aircraft should require some attention. Make your reservations with the FBO of your choice.
10: Be the first. Be among the first to check out our new approach to connecting with our members, and let us know what you think.
On site at AOPA Fly-In at San Marcos Municipal Airport (HYI) www.hayscobbq.com
The best barbeque in the country will be serving lunch at the fly-in. The owners of Hays County Bar-B-Que—Michael and Asenette Hernandez—take great pride in their process, stressing that they use only 100 percent wood-burning pits (mesquite and oak) to cook their brisket, turkey, chicken, pork chops, and pork ribs, prepared with a dry rub. Spicy house-made sausage is a blend of beef and pork. All sides are house-made, too. The restaurant itself is a don’t-blink-or-you’ll-miss-it building on South Interstate 35, so don’t blink and don’t pass it by if you want a taste of the real thing or come to the AOPA Fly-In where Hays will provide your lunch!
Location: 4 miles east of the city
Pattern altitude: 1,600 msl all aircraft
Runways: 13/31 5,603 feet by 150 feet; 17/35 5,213 feet by 100 feet; 8/26 6,330 feet by 100 feet
Blue: Aircraft Parking
Orange: Auto Parking
Red: Displays, Event Center
San Marcos Municipal has three paved runways (8/26, 13/31, 17/35). The longest is 6,330 by 100 feet. Six GPS approaches are available, as well as an ILS/localizer and an NDB approach for Runway 13.
The control tower (Class D) operates from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time. The “shout line” to Austin Center means pilots can get IFR clearances on the ground.
If you land at San Marcos at night, you’ll likely see a cluster of bright lights adjacent the airport. These are installed on buildings that now are part of the Gary Job Corps complex.
Two FBOs are ready to assist you. Berry Aviation has a bright-blue roof and is located at the west end of the field. Redbird Skyport’s white building is located at the center of the airport.
Bring chocks and tiedowns.
It is full of history, and ready for you to come browse.
AOPA Technical Editor Jill W. Tallman is an instrument-rated private pilot who owns a Piper Cherokee 140.
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