City Councilors approved Tuesday an incentive they hope will stimulate growth in Wichita Falls. Cobra Kai Flight Academy will receive $140,000 to fund a new flight simulator, to go along with the school's current expansion project.
City officials say it's a price they're willing to pay to continue economic growth and development. By the end of the year, 13 new jobs will be contributed to the overall project, according to Cobra Kai officials.
"Economic development is not just about bringing in companies from the outside," said Henry Florsheim, President of the Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce and Industry. "We have to do as much as possible to support the companies here, because frankly, it's cheaper to do that, and it's easier to help a company that's already here, grow."
The new simulator purchased by Wichita Falls will help provide students with better skills in a faster and more efficient way, according to Cobra Kai officials.
"It will shorten the time for the experience which is good for his brain," said Martin Bohn, Owner of Cobra Kai Flight Academy. "And second of all it will dramatically cut down his cost, because now we can simulate a couple things that are essential."
So far, Cobra Kai Flight Academy has spent $800,000 on expansions for the school. With that money, Cobra Kai Flight Academy has purchased four airplanes, and bought a new airplane hangar for maintenance. The maintenance facility will be used for the school, and open to the public.
"First, it will help the airport because we are buying our fuel from the airport, which is stipulating the FAA grants, what they need in order to develop further," said Bohn.
He said the academy is also focusing on reaching potential students from around the country and overseas.
"There's a lot of aviation here. We got a lot of aviation history so the 4A board is interested in pursuing anything that helps us increase our reputation as an aviation community," said Florsheim.
The expansion will eventually help establish dual licensing. That means that students would not only have their commercial license but also be provided a fast route to obtain an FAA and European license. The academy has issued 200 licenses since the program started.