Scotland’s first full-time pilot ground school takes off in Fife

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Norman Beasant, one of the instructors at the new pilot school in Fife.

Scotland’s only full-time ground school for commercial pilots has been launched in Fife.

Pathway Pilot Training, at Rosyth Europarc, runs courses for holders of private pilot licenses wishing to take-off as airline pilots.

Students also include current commercial pilots wishing to convert their overseas licence into a European Aviation Safety Agency licence.

The school is staffed by four experts, mainly ex-pilot ground instructors, including Herb Sutcliffe, of Balmullo, a former RAF squadron leader, instructor and fast jet pilot.

Mr Sutcliffe said demand for staff is picking up in the commercial aircraft field and the team saw a future in maintaining a ground school in Scotland.

He said: “We cater for people who already hold a private pilot’s licence (PPL) and now want a career as an airline pilot.

“The team provides the first step through the costly and bewildering maze of training options available en route to a full EU commercial pilot’s licence.”

Private licence holders need to pass 14 theoretical knowledge exams to qualify to start commercial flying training in Europe.

Pathway Pilot Training delivers six-month residential courses and 12-month distance learning packages.

Mr Sutcliffe said: “During the course, we can also assess individual needs and suggest the best high quality but good value flight training school locally or in Europe for all-important flight training.”

After passing their Civil Aviation Authority exams and completing practical flying training, students face an intensive interview process before taking to the skies as airline pilots.

All four instructors previously worked with a long-established firm that withdrew from the sector to concentrate on aircraft engineering training.

Norman Beasant is an ex-military and civil airline pilot and former manager with UK airline Flybe.

Gerard McIver was a licensed aircraft engineer and pilot technical instructor and has worked with airlines including KLM and British Airways.

Ex-civil airline pilot Sant Cervantes retired as an A320 captain having spent 22 years with a major airline.

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