Challenging flight lessons and an unforgettable time on the European Flight Academy’s campus make the flight training in Vero Beach, Florida, a milestone in the pilot training of Lufthansa Group (LHG).
In the very first flight lesson in the Piper Warrior/Cadet PA 28, you fly above Vero Beach as if two pilots were sitting in an Airbus’s cockpit. You should see the look American amateur pilots sometimes give European Flight Academy student pilots when they go through their checklists and security routines as if they preparing for a commercial flight.
Challenging Flight Lessons
These real conditions from the very first flight lesson on are essential for European Flight Academy training. “Training is very intense, but at the same time it’s a wonderful experience you remember for a lifetime,” says Florian. The one-time student now flies for Lufthansa Group. He remembers fondly a time filled with sunshine, even though he remembers the flight training in Vero Beach to be “really challenging”.
During their ATPL training in Vero Beach, aspiring pilots fly solo for the first time, learn about visual flight, and participate in instrument flight training. Apart from the Piper, there are so-called Flight Navigation Procedure Trainers: a type of high-tech flight simulator on which students learn vital operations and maneuvers.
Flight Campus at a Pitcuresque Location
Vero Beach itself is a small coastal city in the US state of Florida. Imagine infinite white sandy beaches and tropical greenery with mangroves and palm trees, all in the vicinity. Orange trees blossom just west of Vero Beach, with a warm breeze wafting in over the airfield from the blue-green Atlantic to the east. Towards the coast, you’ll find expensive white mansions; it is not uncommon to see a private jet with well-heeled passengers at the airport. The flight campus, situated between the Atlantic and the Indian River Lagoon, could not be in a more picturesque location.
„Everyone support each other"
However, the student pilots, who begin to wear their uniforms while training, are not on holiday under the palm trees. Experienced American flight teachers and colleagues from the flight school get the best out of trainees. The schedule is demanding and flying is also physically challenging. Professionalism and safety are the top priorities during this period of intense learning.
“Solidarity within the course was great, we pushed each other forward and gave tips for difficult maneuvers,” is how the former student Florian describes this time. Today, he works in the cockpit of a two-engine Airbus A330 on a long-haul route. From his first take-offs and landings and his solo flight to mastering important maneuvers, the student pilots learn the basics of flying quickly. Whoever has difficulties with a maneuver receives individual schooling and training: “Everyone supports each other in the course in order to mature as a confident pilot and to keep up with the learning curve."
To Cape Canaveral in a Rental Car
Flying conditions are almost ideal but also challenging. The Atlantic breeze demands the student pilots’ precision, and gives them a feel for how the aircraft behaves in the air. They gain a deeper understanding of the Piper: what it likes and what it does not like.
Despite the steep learning curve, there is leisure time: “I bought an old ‘85 Ford Mercury for $800 off a front yard”, says Florian. It probably ran exactly until the end of the training. With one’s own car or a rental, the students visit Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center on Florida’s east coast. Or they go surfing and snorkeling at dreamy beaches. There is a barbecue on campus almost every night and sometimes (American) Football is played in the school’s halls.
All of this contributes to an unforgettable time in Vero Beach for the student pilots of the European Flight Academy.