KLM Flight Academy is committed to electric flying for its 75th anniversary

KLM Flight Academy maakt werk van elektrisch vliegen bij 75-jarig jubileum

(Press release via KLM Flight Academy in collaboration with E-Flight Academy)

Eelde - September 22, 2021 

The KLM Flight Academy (formerly Rijksluchtvaartschool) is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. Today, the flight school is reflecting on this milestone. Not only by looking back at our rich history, but especially by looking ahead to a sustainable future. Taking concrete steps in the field of electric flying: in collaboration with the E-Flight Academy at Teuge airport, the first electric flying lessons for future KLM pilots are being initiated. In addition, options have been secured today for the next generation of electric training aircraft being developed in the US by Bye Aerospace, which are expected to be available within a few years. The KLM-FA is aligning with KLM's ambition to be a sustainable leader in aviation, by continuously seeking ways to reduce our footprint.

KLM-FA focuses on electric flight training
In the basic training of the KLM-FA, small single and twin-engine aircraft are flown. Bart de Vries, director of the KLM-FA, says: Prior to our operation, with limited aircraft weights and flight duration, electric flying is a promising alternative. E-Flight Academy, as the first electric flight school in Europe, takes the lead when it comes to electric pilot training. Therefore, we are happy to enter into a partnership with them. In addition, today we have secured options for the next generation of electric training aircraft being developed in the US and expected to be available within a few years.

Collaboration with E-Flight Academy
E-Flight Academy, located at Teuge Airport near Apeldoorn, is the first flight school in Europe where lessons are given on the first fully certified electric aircraft. E-Flight Academy has two Pipistrel Velis Electro aircraft. The planes - easily recognizable by the blue 'E' on the tail - fly daily without emissions and with minimal noise disturbance for the surroundings. KLM-FA and E-Flight Academy have decided to collaborate to strengthen each other, further develop electric flying, and increase support for it.

Gain as much experience as possible
Concretely, one class of the KLM-FA will start by replacing one flight lesson from the curriculum with two flight lessons on the Velis Electro at E-Flight Academy. The primary goal is to gain as much experience as possible with electric flying for both the students, the KLM-FA, and E-Flight Academy. Based on this experience, a careful evaluation will follow regarding, among other things, the educational value and suitability within the training program. 

De Vries: “We are very excited to take this first truly concrete step towards a sustainable KLM-FA flight training together with the frontrunner E-Flight Academy. We hope for a positive outcome to continue building together.

Evert-jan Feld, co-founder and Head of Training of E-Flight Academy adds: At E-Flight Academy, we believe in a world with a quiet and clean airspace where everyone can and wants to continue flying. Making aviation more sustainable is not an easy task and I think this collaboration with KLM-FA is a fantastic step in the right direction! We look forward to introducing as many young aspiring pilots as possible to electric flying. Because experiencing is believing!

eFlyer electric airplanes
To be able to do the majority, or even the entirety, of the professional flight training on electric aircraft, aircraft with more flight range and a higher maximum weight are needed. These are not yet available at the moment, but developments are progressing rapidly. A frontrunner in this is the company Bye Aerospace from the United States. They are developing the two-seater eFlyer 2 and the four-seater eFlyer 4. It is expected that these aircraft will be certified by the aviation authorities in the US and Europe in the coming years 2022 - 2024, after which the first deliveries can start. 

KLM Flight Academy has today secured options for 14 of these training aircraft (6 two-seaters and 8 four-seaters), ensuring that they can purchase these aircraft once production has started. 'The eFlyer is a promising development and Bye Aerospace is an ambitious company with a lot of innovation power. We don't want to be at the back of the line later on! With the arrival of these aircraft, we will be able to say goodbye to our single-engine combustion engine aircraft, which will significantly reduce our CO2 emissions and greatly reduce noise pollution.' According to De Vries.

Sustainable fuel
The KLM-FA also uses twin-engine training aircraft of the Diamond DA-42 type. These aircraft fly, unlike most small aircraft, on kerosene that is also refueled by commercial aircraft. A major advantage of this is that they are also suitable for the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuels. KLM Flight Academy hopes that this SAF will become sufficiently available in the coming years, also at Groningen Airport Eelde, so that the DA-42 operation can also be carried out sustainably. In addition, there are already developments underway for twin-engine electric training aircraft, a development that is being closely monitored. Bart de Vries concludes: 'As it stands now, a fully CO2-neutral operation is certainly achievable for us within 5 to 10 years, so that's what we aim for.' 

The RLS (Rijksluchtvaartschool) opened its doors on January 1, 1946 at the Gilze-Rijen military base. In 1954, the school moved to Eelde where it was privatized in 1991, taken over by KLM and continued as KLM Luchtvaartschool (KLS). To emphasize the international character of the school, the name was changed to KLM Flight Academy. The flight school trains 60 students annually to become future commercial pilots at KLM; the students undergo a technical training program of about 2 years, with the majority of the training taking place at Groningen Airport Eelde.


For questions/interviews regarding this message from E-Flight Academy, please contact Matthijs Collard: matthijs@eflight.nl / 0628126697