Lilienthal: An approach of distance learning for European pilot training
Airline pilot instruction has been performed in conventional classroom instruction for some 40 years now. Since the late 80's different kinds of learning programs have been developed to support and complement these conventional methods. A new way of teaching within airline training is the approach developed in the project "Lilienthal - Multimedia Off- and Online Distance Learning for European Pilot Training", which started in 1997 and was funded by the European Commission and the Swiss Federal Office for Education and Science. Some 101 h of theoretical instruction on the Private Pilot License (PPL) level have been be divided into a computer based distance learning phase and a presence learning phase. In the distance learning phase the students are supported by tele-tutoring services provided by a group of flight training schools, that are members of a "Virtual Pilot School" (VPS). The Virtual Pilot School is designed as an open network of co-operating flight training facilities that can be joined by other pilot schools and flying clubs from all over Europe. The Lilienthal project ended in July 2000 and the project's results are now used at an increasing number of pilot schools. This paper is focussed on organizational and technical aspects of the Distance Learning Platform (DLP), which is used by the Virtual Pilot School to communicate with their customers and to deliver the tele-tutoring services. Starting from the requirements we describe how the distance learning process can be enhanced with Internet based communication services, how these services were implemented in the project and what experiences have been made.