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16 June 2022 - Janet Binder

CAE is Training Pilots by the Weser


Bremen: a desirable location for companies

The student pilots learn the basics on the Diamond DA40 or DA42
The student pilots learn the basics on the Diamond DA40 or DA42 © CAE

In the coming years, trainee pilots for the German Air Force will receive their basic flight training at CAE GmbH in Bremen. The company celebrated the opening of its new training centre at Bremen Airport on May 3rd, 2022. CAE GmbH is taking over from Lufthansa Aviation Training as the contractual partner for the German Air Force. "We're here to stay", said Niels Kröning, CAE Vice President European Strategy.

The new CAE training centre at Bremen Airport can instruct up to 44 trainee pilots for the German Air Force. The 600 square meter site in the Airport-Stadt boasts the very latest in modern training equipment, including flight simulators built by the company itself. "The trainee fliers can plan and practice complex mission scenarios in a virtual training environment before they move on to real-life situations", said Niels Kröning. "Virtual environments can depict crisis scenarios that are so true to life that the trainees hardly notice the difference between the simulation and reality." Training scenarios include emergency situations and interactions between the pilot and the crew.

Excited about the Bremen location: Managing Director Thibaut Trancart of CAE
Excited about the Bremen location: Managing Director Thibaut Trancart of CAE © CAE

Training sessions with one- and two-engine trainer planes

After the sessions on the simulator, the trainees move on to training flights in real airplanes. CAE provides up to five one- and two-engine light aircraft, either Diamond DA40s or Diamond DA42s, for this stage of the course. The trainer planes are housed in a 2,500 square meter hangar. "CAE employs many ex-military personnel who apply their experience to good effect, especially in tactical operational areas", said Nils Kröning. "This means we can include an understanding of mission-critical issues, which is so vital later on, right at the start of pilot training."

Once they've completed their first ten months of training in Bremen, the trainee pilots move onto the training site at Montpellier, France, run by Airways Aviation, an industrial partner. "In Montpellier, weather conditions are often more favourable for training flights than in Bremen" said Niels Kröning. The trainees then return to Bremen because, apart from its weather, the Hanseatic city has the perfect conditions.

"Bremen is our ideal location", stated Kröning emphatically. "Everything here is just right for us, from the ease with which the location can be accessed using the local infrastructure to the take-off and landing slots at the airport." Our site in the Airport City, which is a mere ten minutes from the city centre, is also right next to other aviation and aerospace companies.

The state government also welcomed CAE with open arms, right from the start. "We didn't encounter any reservations about our business in Bremen." Bremeninvest (WFB Wirtschaftsförderung Bremen GmbH) also provided support as consultants in attracting CAE to Bremen.

In the Hanseatic city, CAE employs trainers, flight planners and maintenance staff, among others. The training course takes just under two years. While the pilots are in Bremen, they live in barracks.

CAE celebrated the opening in early 2022 with Bremen's mayor Andreas Bovenschulte (4th from left)
CAE celebrated the opening in early 2022 with Bremen's mayor Andreas Bovenschulte (4th from left) © CAE

CAE: training military air crew for more than 60 years

CAE GmbH is a subsidiary of the CAE group, which was founded in Canada in 1947. For over 60 years, it has been training military air crew for the German Air Force, in Germany. The company has a workforce of over 650 people throughout Germany. "We offer the entire spectrum of training, from theory to simulation-based training sessions and live sessions in the aircraft, through to training in completely networked environments which involve a combination of virtual and real-life components", said Kröning. CAE GmbH's headquarters are in Stolberg, near Aachen. The company has operated at the air bases in Nordholz and Bückeburg for more than 40 years.

According to the contract between the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) and CAE, pilots are to be trained at the site in Bremen for the next five years, with the option for this to be extended by a further two years. However, Kröning has stated that this is just the beginning: "When we set up a site, it's for decades. We're here to stay."

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