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Pilot school guarantees jobs

Uğur CEBECİ

[email protected]

Two Turkish businessmen have teamed up with a Dutch aviation academy and together they have stepped up to the plate to deliver private pilot training courses in the Mediterranean province of Muğla.

Mekin Gözen and his partner Mete Bozyiğit, who have long invested in many fields of the aviation sector, from ground services to security and from airline companies to simulation centers, are planning to train pilots according to global standards with their partner Holland-based Stella Aviation Academy

A global leader, the Holland-based Stella Aviation Academy offers training courses that guarantee student pilots will be fully trained and says 98 percent of graduates are recruited into the piloting profession. The school has one leg in Maastricht and now will have another in Muğla province’s Dalaman district.

To be able to give that guarantee, Stella runs strict tests on pilot candidates before accepting their applications. Through a merciless elimination system, the school guarantees that the students they choose will be good pilots, thus, preventing further disappointments on the students’ parts by shaking hands and parting ways with non-compatible candidates at the very beginning of a journey that might otherwise cause them to waste both money and energy.

A new tradition begins

Until 10 or 15 years ago, it was nothing but a dream to see a newly graduated pilot in the cockpit, particularly if it was a non-military aircraft. As the aviation sector grew larger, however, this has come true and with it the risk has increased. Together with an increasing demand for pilots, many aviation schools have opened in Turkey, as is everywhere on the globe. But few of them train pilots in compliance with global standards. The students graduating from these schools, many of which solely seek a profit, are disappointed in their business life because they lack proper education as well as having a limited command of English.

The students coming out of these schools, where anyone who can pay the high tuition is allowed, apply at airline companies and unfortunately they might event be recruited. These schools are known not to be controlled properly and to choose their students very randomly.

First training at SunExpress

A school opened by the Steltenberg Holding Group, which specializes in real estate, construction, aircraft maintenance and glass manufacturing, has been active for 25 years and has many graduates. It is the biggest aviation academy in Europe and has a training flotilla of 50 airplanes. They have interesting selection criteria. With the famous German DLR tests, widely accepted in the aviation sector now, pilot candidates are thoroughly tested in terms of their command of English, their general skills, and psychology and character. Some 92 percent of those who pass these tests may become pilots.

Stella has more elaborate selection criteria. The candidates succeeding in the auditions show 98 percent success in flight training.

Pilots having devoted their careers to education and psychologists are also present in the auditions. The candidates are tested in terms of their IQ and general skills, and the tests aim at determining the human factors.

The holding‘s CEO is Fred Hilgeman, a 60-year-old young man who flies his own Citation Jet. He is an amazing person who was just born to fly. And he has been doing so for 20 years. On the tail of his jet plane is inscribed his family’s 600-year-old coat of arms.

The first training courses in this project are being offered to 40 candidates to be trained on behalf of SunExpress. The auditions will take place on Aug. 17 in Istanbul and on Aug. 18 in İzmir. The training will start in October and then the selected trainees who successfully graduate will fly in Boeing 737-800s as co-pilots. SunExpress works with Stella in training their pilots.

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