The solemn moment was preceded by a long story going back almost a decade. After consultations and negotiations, on September 19, 2014, Wizz Air signed a letter of intent with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the University of Debrecen and Pharma-Flight Kft. to establish a pilot training institution for all those who see their future in the field of aviation. Finally, in September 2018, the professional aircraft pilot basic training program started with 30 students, 28 Stipendium Hungaricum scholarship holders, one foreign student, and one self-funded Hungarian student.
- During the accreditation process, it was questionable whether it was possible to form 20-person classes. However, life proved false this idea since the first year started with 30 students, and after that the training continued with 50 people, the international popularity of which is proven by the fact that there are now massive over-subscriptions for the course, which otherwise has strict entry level requirements, Gyula Győri, titular associate professor, head of the Department of Aeronautical Engineering of the Faculty of Technology (MK) of the University of Debrecen (DE) told unideb.hu
The first year students came from South Korea, Egypt, India, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kosovo, Hungary, Moldova, Mongolia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Turkey and Ukraine.
In the following years, the number of countries interested in the training continued to increase, as Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Brazil, Japan, Yemen, Kyrgyzstan, Colombia, Kuwait, Laos, Pakistan, Serbia, Singapore, Thailand, Tunisia and even students from the Cape Verde Islands added themselves to the international palette of the University of Debrecen as students of the undergraduate program in aeronautical engineering.
In the course of the seven-semester training course, students study subjects including knowledge of the natural sciences, economics and the humanities, professional core material, and differentiated professional knowledge material.
During their studies, students must complete three mandatory flight exercises during the summer after the 2nd, 4th, and 6th semesters, but in addition, starting from the 3rd semester, they also complete daily flights during the examination period; they can obtain a professional service license after their practical exam at the end of the training.
Naturally, both before and after the launch of the course, the training of trainers was and still is continuous. In this setting the trainers who agreed to do it were also given the opportunity to learn to fly an airplane and obtain an official license. Three people now have a professional service (PPL) license, including Ailer Piroska, vice chancellor for sector development responsible for the creation of the DE mobility and vehicle industry training center, a professor at the Department of Aviation and Road Vehicles of the Faculty of Engineering, and Géza Husi, dean of the faculty and head of the department.
- The aeronautical engineering – previously professional aircraft pilot – bachelor’s degree program was the first course to be launched by the Faculty of Engineering specifically for the industry dealing with transport and goods transport. All of this entailed the training of other specialists for the aviation industry, so students in the technical manager's bachelor's and master's program specialize in aviation management, and in the vehicle engineer's bachelor's degree, students also study aircraft specialization. The faculty plans to introduce additional, newer training courses for the vehicle industry, including aviation, Géza Husi said.
The dean also emphasized that the 7-semester training lasted 8 semesters for the current graduates due to the measures limiting practical flights caused by the pandemic and the war situation.
- The faculty and the outsourced department did everything possible to ensure that the overall 9-month restriction resulted in only one semester’s extension for the students. They were able to make up for lost time in the training of younger students - emphasized Géza Husi.
The first pilots to graduate from the University of Debrecen received their degrees at the faculty's graduation ceremony on July 8, in the Cour d”honneur/”Díszudvar”/ of the Main Building.
There is still great interest in the training, the number of applicants is constantly increasing, and there is now a fourfold oversubscription for the "Professional pilot" course.
There are currently 40 students studying in the year that started in 2019, and during last year's admission procedure, the university accepted 60 students, of whom 51 actually began the training.
The first „swallows „will soon be followed by another eight recently graduated pilots, who are expected to receive their degrees at the University of Debrecen this September.
Press Center - BZs