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LHA unveils hour building programme and welcomes new member
The hour building programme will enable young pilots to fly every day with more than one school, gaining experience in different helicopters under different conditions. The latest member of the network is Heli NRW.
Teams from the LHA founding academies.
Read this story in our December 2022 printed issue.

Leading Helicopter Academies (LHA), a Europe-based training network comprising 12 EASA-approved ATOs, is launching the region's first international hour building programme, giving young pilots the opportunity to build hours at more than one helicopter school.

LHA expects the programme to deliver better pilots; novice aviators learn a much wider variety of skills. Instead of repeated flights with the same helicopter and the same flying conditions, they gain valuable experience in different helicopters and different flying conditions, including mountains, beaches, seasons, simulators, specialisms and special ratings. Not only do student flyers get the most out of hour building, but also the best out of themselves.

Starting pilots can also learn new skills, like training for an exclusive mountain rating or long line sling. Extra skills and a larger international network mean they are better positioned, with more opportunities in the helicopter labour market.

Norway-based European Helicopter Center CEO and LHA spokesperson Anette Kruhaug Haldersen says: “We believe that flight academies working together is the way forward. Not only can we learn from each other, but also introduce new ideas in the European market, like the international hour building programme.”

The international hour building programme works on a practical level too. Winter in northern Europe doesn't offer the best conditions for flying. Within the LHA programme, however, pilots can then fly with its member flight schools in southern Europe, where it is possible to fly all year round. Put simply, LHA can offer young pilots in Europe the opportunity to fly every day of the year.

The latest and twelfth LHA member of the network is Mönchengladbach airport-based Heli NRW, who provides training for PPL, CPL and FI licences, as well as many of the necessary ratings. It has also recently acquired an EASA-certified helicopter simulator from VRM Switzerland.

CEO Holger Lubbe says: “Working with LHA gives us the opportunity to broaden our horizons, learn from each other, introduce new ideas and enhance what we can offer to pilots and organisations.”

Heli NRW offers students varied flying conditions over flat and hilly natural terrain and also heavily urbanised areas. Outside of training, it has provided thousands of sightseeing trips over the Rhineland and Ruhr in Germany, as well as above Belgium and the Netherlands.

Kruhaug Haldersen says: “It's great to have a strong partner in one of the most important European markets. We look forward to working together to improve flying standards and offer students the very best training in Europe.”