AWEBSITE DESIGNED to enable student pilots to complete the theoretical component of a private pilot's licence (PPL)from home has been jointly launched by five European pilot schools.

The European Virtual Pilot School (EVPS)is online, following a two-year development effort costing c2.5 million ($2.2million), with nearly half of the funding provided by the European Union.

The five training organisations backing the project are Lufthansa Flight Training (LFT), KLM Flight Academy, Horizon Swiss Flight Academy, École de Pilotage Amaury de la Grange and Institut Aéronautique Jean Mermoz. Seven European universities and software companies are also involved.

LFT says the EVPS will initially teach basic flight theory to students seeking a PPL, while "familiarising them from the outset with the European requirements for employment as airline pilots".

The German company says the website will also enable participating flight schools to cut costs and invest the savings in "providing more intensive practice and more advanced training. The network's virtual classrooms will also spare students the high cost, in living and other expenses, of having to physically attend an actual school," LFT adds.

Around 30 "tele-tutors" are already using the web-based distance learning platform to prepare 250 students to qualify for their PPLs, including two classes at Arizona State University in the USA who are being instructed by German tele-tutors based in Europe.

However, the concept requires that each student appears in person at one of the participating schools to attend a seminar on the ideas and techniques behind distance learning before being assigned to "virtual classes". Whilst studying with the EVPS, each student has access via the internet to experts in different subject areas.

The multi-media materials required to provide the 100 hours of instruction in flight theory necessary for a PPL are carried on 5,000 web pages, broken down into 203 modules. Each of these is directly related to a subject in the European Joint Aviation Requirements for Flight Crew Licensing (JAR-FCL) syllabus.

All of the modules includes graphics, photos, animated films, audio, video and interactive computer-based training simulations. "The instructional content is at an above-average level and is aimed primarily at students aspiring to be professional pilots," says LFT.

The Lufthansa subsidiary says the network is being offered for use by "pilot schools in any country" prepared to pay a licence fee to gain access. Prospective students can obtain a free 30-day trial course at, according to LFT.

Source: Flight International