If Texas were a nation, it would be the 10th largest economy in the world. The state ranks at the top of nearly every "best states to do business list," thanks to its unbeatable advantages to companies looking to locate or expand in the state.
FLYING WITH TEXAS
130,000 aerospace workers: The aerospace and aviation industry directly employs over 130,000 Texas workers at 1,300 establishments.
$95,414: The average annual salary for select aerospace workers in Texas is $95,414.
15 active military bases: Texas is home to 15 active military bases with more than 170,000 military personnel.
No problem, Houston: NASA’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center is the hub for the world’s operations in outer space.
Major airport capacity: From Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) to San Antonio International (SAT), Texas has six of the 50 busiest airports in the nation (measured by passengers boarded). Dallas and Houston have two airports each. Texas also has two major international industrial airports, Port San Antonio at the former Kelly AFB and Fort Worth Alliance Airport. In sum, Texas has 26 commercial airports serving 22 cities and a robust civil aviation culture.
Commercial space: In August 2014, the state offered $2.3 million from the Texas Enterprise Fund, the nation’s largest deal-closing fund, to bring SpaceX’s commercial rocket launch facility to the Brownsville area. Contingent upon final approvals and required permits, SpaceX’s new facility will create 300 jobs, pump $85 million in capital investment into the local economy, and serve as the nation’s first commercial rocket launch facility. Elsewhere in the state, one of the world’s largest helicopter repair facilities resides in Corpus Christi, while the cities of Waco, Amarillo, El Paso, Wichita Falls, McAllen, and Harlingen all support manufacturing facilities for various Fortune 500 aerospace companies.
Educated workforce: Texas State Technical College in Waco uses its own airport – the largest airport owned and operated by a public educational institution – to teach a full range of FAA-approved programs, ranging from Aviation Maintenance to Pilot Training. The University of Texas in Austin, UT Arlington, Texas A&M and Rice University all have full departments dedicated to Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, graduating many informed, astute engineers each year. St. Philip's College in San Antonio is a leader in partnering with business, and has developed its programs with Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Chromalloy, ST Aerospace, Cessna Citation, M-7, Standard Aero, Gore Design, and the U.S. Air Force. St Philips’ FAA Airframe & Power Plant license, the Avionics Certificate and a nationally-recognized dual credit aerospace academy are taught by FAA-certified educators.
Aerospace does business in Texas: Boeing, Lockheed Martin, L-3 and Bell Helicopter operate aerospace product manufacturing facilities; Southwest and American airlines maintain headquarters in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex, and 14 aerospace companies perform defense contracts in Texas.
Texas Advantage: A Rich History of Aviation Technology & Development
The first military flights took off in Texas, and the state continues to launch pioneering flights in America's global aviation leadership. EDT's Office of Aerospace, Aviation & Defense works closely with decision makers in the aerospace industry, other governmental agencies and academic institutions to coordinate business development efforts.
Download the Aerospace Industry Report for a comprehensive study of the sector.
Diverse activities: The broad range of aviation activities in Texas includes: aircraft and component manufacturing, advanced aerospace research, flight training, military aircraft development, space exploration and aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul.
Now boarding 64 million passengers: The home of Southwest and American Airlines, Texas has 26 commercial airports in 22 major cities, including the nation's 4th-largest (DFW) and six of America's top 50. Texas airports boarded more than 64 million passengers in 2012.
Epicenter of government aviation: With NASA's Johnson Space Center and 15 active military bases, Texas plays a vital role in America's aerospace and defense initiatives. Texas is home to more than 170,000 active duty personnel, reservists, National Guard personnel and Department of Defense (DoD) civilian workers, as well as thousands of men and women working in defense-related businesses. In fiscal year 2011, DoD expenditures in Texas totaled more than $42.1 billion.
Leading commercial space exploration: With the Shuttle Program retired, the world is looking to commercial firms to provide transportation to orbit and beyond. In 2012, SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies) launched Dragon, the first commercial vehicle to successfully attach to the International Space Station. SpaceX has developed and tested its rocket technology in McGregor, Texas since 2003.
In 2014, former Gov. Rick Perry announced a $2.3 million offering from the Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) is to bring SpaceX's commercial rocket launch facility to Cameron County. Contingent upon final approval of local agreements and receipt of additional required permits, this facility will create 300 jobs and pump $85 million in capital investment into the local economy.
In July 2012, XCOR relocated their headquarters and R&D facilities to the Midland International Airport. XCOR develops and produces reusable launch vehicles, rocket engines and rocket propulsion systems. The company has applied for FAA Spaceport approval.
CREATING THE FUTURE OF AVIATION THROUGH EDUCATION
From high school through graduate research programs, Texas educational institutions are creating the future of aerospace. Texas teaches aerospace technology in:
UT Studies Earth from Orbit
The Department of Aerospace Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin granted its first degree in 1927, and continues to prepare engineers. Currently, students and faculty investigate and improve their home planet from orbit, mapping deforestation and migration, tracking weather patterns and analyzing earth sensing and imaging. Longhorn aerospace engineers investigate current challenges in atmospheric flight, such as autonomous aircraft, flexible structures, more efficient propulsion with lower environmental impact and safer reentry to the earth's atmosphere from space.
World Class Flight Engineering Research at A&M
In College Station, the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&M University provides cross-disciplinary programs with expertise in materials and structures, aerodynamics and propulsion and dynamics and control. Recognized as one of the top public institutions in the nation, the department features unique research and testing facilities and faculty who are world renowned in their fields. The program advances aerospace engineering education through basic and applied research. Extensive research areas include combustion, aeroelastics, hypersonics, diagnostics, autonomous stability, Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs), robotic systems, spacecraft formation flying, mechanics of composite materials, nanomaterials and structural health monitoring.
UT Arlington Develops New Ways to Fly
The Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) Department at The University of Texas at Arlington is conducting leading-edge research in transonic, supersonic and hypersonic aerodynamics and detonation engines, alternative fuels and wind energy, wireless sensors, rotorcraft, Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs) and thermo-mechanical characterization of very high temperature materials and advanced composites. MAE's newest research area is in thermo-mechanical characterization of high temperature materials and composites.
Next Generation Aerospace Materials at Rice
Rice University's Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science conducts a wide range of research related to aerospace and aviation. Rice laboratories are developing next-generation, ultra-light structural materials, as well as nanomaterial composites and "smart" assemblies of nanostructures that can be controllably manipulated. Other projects involve advanced aerodynamic simulations, the automated design of wind tunnel tests and the analysis of parachute recovery systems for next-generation spacecraft. Rice has a number of collaborative research programs with NASA's Johnson Space Center, and the university conducts K-12 outreach with 28 high schools in Houston to encourage students to pursue aerospace interests and careers.
TSTC's Learning Airport
Texas State Technical College (TSTC) is the single largest provider of aerospace programs in Texas. With the nation's largest airport owned and operated by a public educational institution, TSTC in Waco offers a full range of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-approved programs including Aviation Maintenance, Air Traffic Control, Avionics, Aircraft Dispatch and Aircraft Pilot Training. The curriculum is bolstered by FAA-certified staff and industry support. In addition to the Waco campus, TSTC also offers aerospace programs at its Harlingen and Abilene campuses.
FAA Certified Education at St. Philips
St. Philip's College, part of the Alamo Colleges system in San Antonio, offers traditional college courses for students seeking the FAA Airframe and Power Plant License, and the Avionics Certificate. Through its efforts to partner with industry and the community, St. Philip's College has created a nationally-recognized dual credit aerospace academy. The academy is a feeder program that provides Texans of secondary school age with opportunities to earn diplomas, college certificates in aerospace and job placement. San Antonio area aviation employers that partner with the college and the academy include: Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Chromalloy, ST Aerospace, Cessna Citation, M-7 Aerospace, Standard Aero, Gore Design and the U.S. Air Force.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has granted Texas over $21 million in aerospace and aviation-related awards. Tasked with keeping the United States at the leading edge of discovery, the NSF supports traditional academic areas as well as high-risk, high payoff ideas.
5 Billion in Federal R&D Contracts
Lockheed Martin, Boeing, the UT System, McDonnell Douglas and Southwest Research Institute are actively fulfilling federal research contracts totaling more than $5 billion.
AN EDUCATED, CAPABLE AEROSPACE WORKFORCE
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Texas ranks in the top three nationally in aerospace and aviation manufacturing in terms of capital investments, employees, value added per employee and value of shipments. In addition to product manufacturing, Texas also has deep talent pools in air transportation, aircraft maintenance, airport operation and flight training.
AEROSPACE AND AVIATION COMPANIES IN TEXAS
Lockeed Martin, Bell Helicopters, L3, Boeing, SpaceX, Raytheon, ULA, Xcor Aerospace, AMR, Southwest, United, Jet Aviation, Express Jet, American Eurocopter, Rolls Royce, Sikursky, Triumph, BAE Systems, NASA, General Dynamics, Gulfstream, Elbit.