Training Europe's future pilots

In partnership with The European Commission
Training Europe's future pilots
By Euronews
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In this episode of Smart Regions, we discover how the European Cohesion Policy is helping to train pilots of the future.

Michael Graupp has been an airline pilot since August this year. He trained at the Austrian Aviation Academy near Vienna. The school gets some of its funding via the European Cohesion Policy.

For Michael, becoming a pilot was always a childhood dream.

"When I was 14-years-old I was on a flight to Tenerife. During that flight, I was allowed to enter the cockpit.....during that time I noticed that I wanted to become a pilot. So when I was 19-years old I started my flight training in Aviation Academy Austria. After 2 years I finished it, and a half year after my flight training I got my first job at Eurowings and I'm really happy with it."

Around 2400 pilots are trained at the Austrian Aviation Academy each year. 75 instructors work at the school which has a total budget of 37.7 million euros. Just over 2.7 million of that comes from the European Regional Development Fund.

Jessica Wong has just begun her basic training at the academy in Wiener Neusdtadt.

Using simulators and small planes, it takes on average two years to train a pilot from scratch.

"Today we're planning a flight lesson to Spitzerberg. It's to introduce me to grass landing fields, because normally we are landing on concrete runways and we're training with grass landing fields, let's see how the difference is going to be!"

Pilots are required to continually train throughout their professional career. This is where flight simulators come into play and the academy also trains experienced professionals, like Markus Heusi.

In nine weeks he is expected to teach other colleagues how to fly an ATR 72600.

"We have a very very very tight schedule. Every five minutes we give them another problem so that at the end of the nine sessions they have seen all the problems which the authorities think can occur,'' he said.

The schedule is also tight because an hour of training costs around 1000 euros. The training includes real accidents or other potential scenarios like a forced return. The main goal is safety.

"Every six months every crew member that flies a commercial aircraft has to come back in such a simulator and do a check flight," said instructor René Pop.

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