Photo courtesy of Jake Peterson

Redbird co-founder Charlie Gregoire was a featured speaker at the RAF’s biennial Education Conference May 16-19 in Bozeman, MT. His collaborator Michael Leek of Simuvation, brought an industry-leading mobile flight training studio, complete with the RAF-branded Redbird MX2, a single occupant, fully immersive, motion simulator. Leek, the founder of Simuvation, generously welcomed all conference attendees to experience the sim in its self-contained mobile platform right on the conference site.

Charlie and his partners founded Redbird in 2007 by scouring the country for non-airworthy aircraft fuselages in which they planned to build their simulators. Shortly after acquiring their first field-find, a decaying Cessna 177 Cardinal, they shifted gears, changed their designs, and abandoned the search. The name Redbird and logo pays homage to that genesis. 

The partners had a long list of criteria that their finished unit must offer, including a three-axis motion platform, an immersive visual experience, and it had to be installed through a standard door, and use household 120v power. Pretty lofty goals, but after several plywood and duct tape versions, the team delivered a machine they were ready to market.

Now a leading-edge aviation training provider using evolving technology, Gregoire says, “Redbird’s goal isn’t just to sell simulators. We intend to make more proficient pilots. We have broadened our offerings to include recreational and backcountry training, and provide solutions for the many pilots who are not on a path to the airlines.” 

Leek said, “Our goal is to make better pilots. We match the most current simulation devices with the most experienced CFI’s to deliver intentional simulator training integrated into a pilot’s flight training.” He plans to build 50 more mobile Simuvation units that are the foundation of their revolutionary remote training platform, a fine-tuned learning environment with the most advanced tools that enables Simuvation’s CFI’s to deliver the highest-fidelity simulator training. The mobile platform is ideal for schools that can’t afford a standalone facility, STEM programs, EAA clubs or any CFI who wants to leverage the value of simulation for their students.

Gregoire and Leek will have the RAF-branded unit at AirVenture this year, to promote all the RAF does to preserve access to recreational airfields. Headquartering next to Hangar A, there will also be Redbird flight simulators in other locations across the AirVenture grounds where you can demo their line of flight training technology, meet the team, and learn about Redbird’s latest initiatives to move flight training forward with innovative, reliable, and high-quality products.

Submitted on May 30, 2024

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