AOPA has postponed its San Marcos and Casper fly-ins. Click here for more details.
We Texans like to eat, drink, and dance—that’s what we’re told as we taste a breakfast taco with barbacoa (open-pit beef), sip a Shiner Bock (brewed in Texas since 1909), and tap our toes to the music of Cory Morrow (Texas country music local legend). This May the south-central Texas town of San Marcos is the place to be if you like eating, drinking, and dancing—oh, and cars, music, and airplanes. AOPA will host its first 2020 Fly-In at the San Marcos Regional Airport (HYI) and will co-locate the event with the second annual Go Wheels Up! Texas music festival and car and airshow. How can so much fun be in one place?
We’re glad you asked. AOPA is holding its second fly-in at San Marcos, an airfield that welcomed us in 2014. To spice up the event, we’re sharing the asphalt—and the sky—with an organization founded by a Texas musician (Morrow) and his buddy, a Texas pilot. “Cory and I were talking, and he said let’s do a music festival and have the cool stuff we love like cars and airplanes,” said Clayton Corn, a pilot for 17 years who owns a Piper Comanche. “Last year was great, but this year—to be co-locating this show with AOPA—we couldn’t ask for more.”
And more is what AOPA members will get as they take advantage of a 70-percent discount on the two-day Go Wheels Up! festival, which features all the highlights of an AOPA Fly-In ($15 gets members and guests a two-day pass that includes the festival and all AOPA events except fee-based workshops and food). We’ll have AOPA-branded educational seminars and events such as pancake breakfasts and a flightline cookout, as well as Pilot Town Hall meetings with AOPA President Mark Baker and our short takeoff and landing invitational—but with added highlights provided by the Go Wheels Up! event staff. Highlights include an invited car show featuring classic and historic automobiles, an evening airshow, and two days of Texas Red Dirt music by artists like Morrow and Roger Creager.
San Marcos is situated in between the “Live Music Capital of the World,” Austin, and the vibrant, historic city of San Antonio (“Remember the Alamo” and the River Walk). Its charming downtown, which wraps in a square around its historic courthouse, boasts unique shops and great, fun restaurants. The San Marcos River runs through town and you can take glass-bottom boats along the river or go tubing down its waterfalls. Come find out why San Marcos is also called “San Marvelous.”
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“Our next-door neighbor had a Cessna 210 when I was a kid. He took my dad and I up for the first time when I was probably 8 years old. Dad let me sit in the front seat. It was right at sunrise on a clear morning at Clovis Municipal Airport in eastern New Mexico. I’ll never ever forget looking out the window at the right main as it lifted off from the pavement and the way the airplane’s shadow separated from us and grew smaller and smaller. I was completely hooked. I thought about aviation as a career, but I figured out mid-high school that I had a real shot at being a successful musician, so I chased that dream all over the world for most of my adult life. I was living in Nashville when September 11 happened. Early that next year I thought that the powers that be might make the barriers to entry to become a private pilot a whole lot taller, so I decided to go for it. I got my license in early 2003. I own a Comanche and, man, is it a great airplane. Goes pretty fast and far on not a lot of gas, and it’s hard to overload it. The best aviation activity or experience for me was going to Oshkosh. That’s part of why I wanted to do Go Wheels Up! I wanted to at least try to build something like that, albeit on a much smaller scale, here in Texas. But Oshkosh is something every aviator has to experience at least once in their lifetime. There aren’t words to describe flying in and listening to those amazing controllers signal everybody in.”
The Hays County Courthouse, built in 1908, is one of the many buildings that distinguish the individual towns in Texas. Each town in the state has its own unique architecture, and San Marcos is no different. The Classical Revival structure—adorned with the statute of justice on top (she once fell all the way through the glass cupola down to the basement; the cupola isn’t glass anymore)—is at the heart of the town square. Shops, restaurants, and other businesses surround the courthouse, and are accessible by raised sidewalks. Hitching posts for horses and carriages can still be found on the streets. You’ll find singular restaurants such as The Blue Dahlia, great saloons such as the Taproom, and funky bars like the I Don’t Know. You can dine and overlook the square from The Veranda, The Rooftop, or Shade, and listen to the music from Black Rabbit, Harper’s, or The Porch. San Marcos has a hip personality that is deeply seated in its rich historic culture; “Our Downtown Square turns into a rocking good time once the sun goes down,” claims the San Marcos Convention and Visitor Bureau.
Located on the west end of San Marcos Regional Airport, Berry Aviation’s FBO offers warm hospitality and exceptional customer service. Established at San Marcos Regional Airport in 1993 by Sonny Berry, the FBO, under the management of Chris Bagnall (right)and Tullie Folsom, will ensure that your experience flying into San Marcos is a good one. Berry Aviation’s concierge service will assist you in planning your trip and will arrange ground transportation, hotel reservations, and catering if needed. Line professionals are prepared to fulfill requests and provide consistent support.
Take advantage of these services:
An AOPA Fly-In is the perfect place to hone your piloting skills and learn from aviation experts. Free dynamic seminars will be presented by a host of aviation luminaries, which include aerobatic instructor Catherine Cavagnaro, AOPA Air Safety Institute Executive Director Richard McSpadden, CFIs extraordinaire John and Martha King, and many more. The opportunities to learn are expanded to include the AOPA Air Safety Institute Ground School Workshops, which are focused learning sessions with endorsements that apply to the focused flight review (fees apply). These in-depth learning experiences provide a professional level of education, offered in two three-hour sessions both Friday and Saturday. Meanwhile, our 45-minute sessions, which are included in the price of admission to this joint event, are the core of the AOPA Fly-In experience. Choose from more than two dozen topics.
Mark Baker will host two Pilot Town Hall meetings during the two-day event. Each day Baker will update members and visitors on the work of the association, answer questions, address concerns, and share stories from his piloting life. Pilot Town Halls take place Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. until noon.
The fun and exciting backcountry tradition of short takeoffs and landings (STOL) have become a much-anticipated feature of an AOPA Fly-In. With expert wrangler Jimmy Gist at the helm, the STOL invitational takes place on the field both Friday and Saturday afternoons. Gist, a former U.S. Air Force pilot, calls STOL competitions “the aviation equivalent of four-wheeling.” Tailwheel aircraft with big tires and pilots with big ideas take off and land in short distances, just like they have to in rugged places like Alaska and the backcountry. The shorter the hop, the better.
Looking for a career in the exciting field of aviation? Boeing forecasts that more than 800,000 pilots, 750,000 maintenance technicians, and 914,000 new cabin crew will be needed over the next 20 years. Do you have your résumé polished? Join attendees at the AOPA Fly-In and Go Wheels Up! Texas event and find a job—and enjoy the show. American Airlines will present this career fair both Friday and Saturday.
Join us to help in many ways. Volunteers needed! aopa.org/hyi1
In addition to the great music and family-friendly vibe of Go Wheels Up! Texas, the AOPA Fly-In at San Marcos will feature special events that include a short takeoff and landing (STOL) invitational competition to showcase the skills and aircraft of backcountry flying, afternoon airshows and a nighttime drone show, a comprehensive career fair presented by American Airlines, and so much more.
There’s lots to do during an AOPA Fly-In weekend and our co-location with Go Wheels Up! Texas will keep you entertained and inspired, but don’t forget the fantastic opportunities to see the quintessential Texas towns of Austin and San Antonio. Just a quick drive in either direction gets you either to the Live Music Capital of the World in Austin or a chance to Remember the Alamo in San Antonio. History, culture, the arts, and beautiful settings can be found in both exciting cities. And for a quintessential Texas town, visit Gruene, home of the state’s oldest continuously operating Dance Hall.
The air will be electrified thanks to an exciting showcase of aviation acts brought to you by the organizers of Go Wheels Up! Texas (plans are still being finalized, so look online for more excitement). Each afternoon an airshow will delight concert goers and AOPA Fly-In attendees, and when the sun goes down on Friday, a nighttime drone extravaganza will continue to delight. There’s a flightline cookout and Cory Morrow concert before the show, so settle in for a fantastic summer evening with AOPA and Go Wheels Up! Texas.