Is engineering required to be a pilot

Pilot? Engineer? Both!

The country needs new test pilots, believed Steffen Schrader. Thirteen years ago, the trained test pilot started what was then a unique program at the Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences.

The bachelor's degree in Aircraft and Flight Engineering combines an aeronautical engineering degree with an Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL).

There are similar offers today at the universities of Aachen, Bremen, Karlsruhe, Munich and Worms. There it is less about test flights, which occur before the approval of smaller aircraft, than about general aviation.

Schrader sees a growing need for test pilots in the near future, especially in the business and general aviation sectors. While the major manufacturers recruit their test pilots from among experienced pilots, Schrader relies on training from below.

Parallel to studying engineering in Osnabrück, students can acquire a pilot's license during their practical semester at flight schools in Great Britain or the USA. "Extensive technical knowledge is required for flight tests, which is why the combination is ideal."

The Munich University of Applied Sciences offers pilot training in combination with the aerospace engineering course. The Bavarians see the double-track training as “an ideal starting point for positions in the automotive, energy, high-speed rail transport and other technology industries”, as well as job opportunities in the aviation industry.

Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences has integrated the license into the Aeronautical Engineering course. Despite the aviation training, the university sees possible employment opportunities primarily in the technical area, for example as an analysis engineer or as a flight test engineer.

The University of Worms takes a completely different approach. The “Bachelor of Science Aviation Management and Piloting” in the Department of Tourism / Transportation is located there. The course combines technical and business management aspects and aims to work on the management levels of aviation companies or other institutions in the travel and leisure industry.

What all offers have in common is the combination of engineering training at the university and the aviation part at a private flight school, mostly abroad. Sometimes the theoretical training for aviation is offered in separate semesters at the university and only the flying practice is left to the pilot instructors.

Most of the time, the students can use their compulsory practical semester for pilot training; in some courses, however, they have to sacrifice the semester break for flying. Studies or not, the training at all universities has one thing in common: Acquiring a pilot license costs at least € 70,000.