A Redbird Shiner Bock

The life of a traveler means you’re often far from friends, and it’s keenly felt when they’ve gathered and you’re missing out on the party.

Our aviation family’s a close knit one, with some of the smartest, funniest, somewhat dysfunctional functional people I know—but when we get together, we come up with great ideas. They don’t always include beer, but let’s just say that I think Dos Equis based The Most Interesting Man in the World on a pilot.

Three years ago, I made it to Texas for one of my favorite gatherings, the Redbird Migration, and had the chance to lift a Shiner Bock Ruby Redbird to the folks who have been consistent disruptors on the aviation scene since they first built a flight sim out of a crashed Cardinal more than 10 years ago.

Their annual confab brings together thought leaders from around the industry—and outside of it—to make sure we’re not swimming in our own bathwater. There’s always one creative challenge that pits teams against each other to make something tangible, whether it’s a short movie about a stuffed animal, or a model airplane to carry an Elvis paper doll across the hangar.

So I raise a virtual bottle of the great craft beer of Texas in their honor, as they meet again this week. I wonder what the next great thing will be—to come out of this group of aviators and friends?

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