Flight simulation agreement with Lufthansa

February 25 2008

Indiana State University aviation technology majors will receive real-world flight simulation training, thanks to an agreement with the German-based Lufthansa Flight Training (LFT).

The partnership is a first for Lufthansa. Indiana State is the company’s first partner in North America and the first university worldwide to use its online training materials.

Under the agreement, aspiring pilots at Indiana State will use the same online training materials used by Lufthansa’s pilots and students in their flight training program.

“Our students will have full exposure and access to their system. This is leading, cutting edge technology and a phenomenal opportunity for our students,” Greg Schwab, chairperson of ISU's aviation technology department, said.

“The close cooperation with Indiana State marks a milestone for the marketing of our web-based training” said Gerard Winter, sales manager for Lufthansa Flight Training. “That such a renowned university uses our e-learning product for the education of their students, only goes to show that our training also offers our partners outside of Europe clear advantages.”

Bruce Welsh, assistant professor of aviation technology, trains Indiana State students on the Web-based system.

“This is scenario-based training -- covering take-off, getting to altitude, holding patterns, route changes, weather and navigation,” Welsh said, adding pilots often encounter weather-based air traffic control requests that result in mid-flight changes.

Lufthansa’s training, available for the first time to aviation majors this semester, covers the Bombardier CRJ-200 jet. This training, done through the CRJ-200 Flight System course, will be a required class for professional pilots in Fall 2008.

“We expect 25 to 40 students will take the training each year,” Schwab said.

Students will have access to the training for one year.

“After students pass the course, they can go back into the system for a refresher course,” Schwab said.

The training, coupled with classroom instruction, gives pro-pilot graduates an advantage when looking for their first job.

“I think it’s a tremendous benefit to our students,” Welsh said. “By partnering with an industry-leader like Lufthansa Flight Training it offsets the cost of flight training the student currently pays.”

Randy DeMik, an ISU alumnus and captain with United Airlines, said the Lufthansa agreement, along with a previous agreement with Boeing to provide training on the 737, provides students a golden opportunity and helps ease a shortage of pilots.

“It brings the real world into the classroom. It is the college’s job to expose students to new technology. In the area of flight training, ISU is on the leading edge,” he said. “The Bombardier CRJ-200 Jet and the Boeing 737 are the workhorses of the airline industry.”

DeMik, an airline pilot for 25 years, should know. In addition to being a captain, he also serves as a Line Check Airman, a person who instructs and evaluates the flight crew.

The airline industries in both the United States and Germany are experiencing a diminishing pilot base, due to the rise of cargo and regional carriers and the retirements of older, experienced pilots.

“Indiana State aviation majors leave prepared for the professional ranks. With their wide range of flight experience and their familiarity with computerized flight systems they are ready to go to the next level,” said DeMik. “The bottom line is that airlines want people who are prepared to go directly into new-hire pilot training program.”

The agreement with one of Europe’s largest and most successful carriers is the latest in an effort to internationalize the program.

Schwab orchestrated a cooperative agreement with The International University of Applied Sciences Bad Honnef, located in Bonn, Germany, which set up the first aviation management program in Europe.

The agreement served as a springboard for student and faculty exchanges.

“Five students from Bad Honnef have studied at ISU since the agreement was signed in April 2005,” Schwab said.

The German university provided assistance to Indiana State throughout the agreement process, and will reap rewards as well.

“Bad Honnef played an important role in getting this agreement with Lufthansa,” Schwab said. “Their students can access the online training by spending a semester studying at Indiana State. It is a win-win situation for everyone.”

The university has designated aviation technology as a program of state/regional distinction as part of "Fulfilling the Promise," a plan to raise Indiana State to a high level of prominence in the state, Midwest region and nation. The plan is partially funded by a gift from the Lilly Endowment.

Photo: It's a deal : Aviation Technology chair Greg Schwab (left) and Gerard Winter of Lufthansa Flight Training (right) shake hands after signing a first of its kind agreement.

Contact: Greg Schwab, chairperson of aviation technology department, College of Technology, (812) 237-2641 or gschwab@isugw.indstate.edu

Writer: Paula Meyer, ISU Communications & Marketing, (812) 237-3783 or pmeyer4@isugw.indstate.edu

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Indiana State University aviation technology majors will receive real-world flight simulation training, thanks to an agreement with the German-based Lufthansa Flight Training (LFT).

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