The Academy

Your new home of flying

We’re the newest Aviation Academy in Europe, made up of one of the most experienced teams in the industry. Together, we’ve created a new way of learning, designed around you.

Who we are

A new academy with more than 200 years’ experience

Our instructors are current and former commercial and military pilots, navigators and engineers. The executive team alone have clocked up a combined total of around 21,500 flying hours, and they’ve trained over 19,000 pilots during their careers. Over the next 18 months, we’ll be your mentors.

Who we are

The executive team

We came together as a team to create a new kind of Aviation Academy. We’ve known each other for many years, both professionally and socially. Between us, we have more than 200 years’ experience in aviation and pilot training, and we felt it was time to shake things up and take training to the next level. We wanted to use our experience to build a new academy with a fresh approach, where students always come first.

Setting up our Academy has been a shared dream for a long time. We’ve spent many hours and late nights discussing our ideas and planning how we could make things better. We wanted training to be more innovative and hands-on. We want to offer students more than just flight training and help them to develop every aspect of themselves.

In 2018, we made it happen and we hope you’ll join us. We have created an Academy that has a sense of team spirit, respect and high standards. This is a different kind of Aviation Academy, and together, we’ll help you become the best pilot you can be.

Chief Executive Officer

Andy McFarlane

At Leading Edge Aviation, two things really bring us all together as a team. The first is that we are all passionate about aviation, and the second is that we all want to shake up the industry, by putting people first and transforming the way cadets learn. I was bitten by the bug of aviation when I was just seven years old. For me, the passion started with my very first flight while in the Air Cadets. I went on to have a distinguished and successful 25 year career in the RAF where I held a number of roles and retired as a Wing Commander in 2009. During my RAF service, I met and worked with two members of the Leading Edge team. When I left the RAF, I joined CAE Oxford Aviation Academy as Centre Manager, and it was there that I met the rest of the team.

Once I had brought the whole team together, we quickly realised that we had a shared vision and really enjoyed working together. It was clear to us that, together, we could change the industry. We’ve spent a long time planning how we will realise our dream. We work hard and have the highest of standards that students and airlines should expect. We’ve brought in cutting-edge tech and have built a supportive and exciting environment. Together, we’ve created something amazing.

My ambition for Leading Edge Aviation

I want to create an academy that leads the way in aviation training by using the latest technologies, employing inspirational and dedicated staff, and offers an inclusive and enjoyable learning experience.

Chief Talent Officer

Katie Broadhurst

I first met Andy, our CEO, in 2012. He interviewed me at CAE Oxford Aviation Academy for a job that, I later found out, he had no intention of giving me. In fact, he just liked my CV and wanted to persuade me to take another role that didn’t even exist at that point—that of HR Business Partner. It was a chance meeting, but one that led to me working with Andy and other talented and dedicated individuals, that years later, would come together to form Leading Edge Aviation.

This role gave me the chance to put my degree in HR to good use and build on the experience I’d developed in over 20 years across some diverse and challenging industries, including Vodafone and PDSA. It was the easiest career decision of my life to join the Leading Edge Aviation team. We’re all passionate about putting people first, and I’m making it my mission to put our cadets and our employees at the heart of every decision we make. I want to create a place where everybody is supported and motivated, has the opportunity to be the best they can be, and offers more than just a career but also a little bit of fun along the way.

My ambition for Leading Edge Aviation

To go beyond traditional learning. It’s not just about making cadets ‘exam ready’ but preparing them for life in and beyond the flight deck. To be mentally and physically adept to deal with a demanding yet rewarding career in aviation.

Chief Financial Officer

Olivia Warren

I first started working with the rest of the Leading Edge Aviation team while I was the Global Finance Manager at CAE Oxford Aviation Academy. One thing that brought us together was a passion to bring the ‘family feel’ back to aviation training. That’s really important to me. The thing I love most about my role is building relationships with the cadets and helping support them with their finances, so they can focus on their training and becoming the best pilots they can be. My career has taken me all over the world, including a stint in Australia setting up the finance function when Oxford Aviation Academy took on a new training site. I’ve been in the industry long enough to see what works and what doesn’t. I know that our strong team spirit, our focus on putting cadets first, and bringing in new tech and learning approaches will really give this academy the edge.

My ambition for Leading Edge aviation

I strive to reduce the main barrier to entry for the cadets, which is financing the training. I’d like to help make it easier for cadets to get access to funding, and one day help to make pilot training VAT-free.

Chief Information Officer

Jeremy Bolduc

My career started in the US Air Force. I was based in the UK and Italy and moved back to the UK in 1996, where I started my career in IT. I joined Oxford Aviation Training in 2001, helping to build up the training centres in Oxford, Phoenix and Melbourne as the business grew. Then when CAE acquired the business, I became its Global IT Director.

At Leading Edge Aviation, we have the chance to create something totally new. I’m looking at ways to bring in things like Mixed Reality, Neuro Training and mobile-first tech. Teamwork is vital to embracing these kind of changes and making them happen, which is why it’s so fortunate that everyone in our team has known each other for such a long time and we are able to plan this adventure together. We all share the same goal of improving the experience, and relish the opportunity to create something from scratch; something that wasn’t inherited. Together we’re tapping into our creative sides to build a fit-for-purpose academy without restrictions. That means we can focus on partnering with the airlines to create the best pilots in the skies—pilots who will be proud to have trained with us.

My ambition for Leading Edge aviation

One of my goals is to use mixed reality technology to enhance the learning experience both in the Ground School and Flying phases.

Chief Operations Officer

Dave Alexander

Leading Edge Aviation is a great team of like minded people. Becoming a pilot is not an ambition people feel ambivalent about – it’s their dream job, and so we want to provide the very best pathway to achieving that. 

Joining the team is a great opportunity for me to get back into overseeing flight operations and a chance to improve the way commercial flying training is conducted. We are all striving to do our best for our students who are undertaking a very demanding training course.

I first learned to fly thanks to an Air Training Corps scholarship and went on to have a 26 year career in the RAF as pilot and instructor on the C130 Hercules, Bulldogs and Tutors.

After retiring from the RAF as a Wing Commander, I joined Ascent Flight Training where I assisted with running the UK Military Flying Training System (UK MFTS), overseeing the introduction of 3 new types and associated training systems, including synthetic devices and syllabi. I then moved to Lockheed Martin, contributing to other Military Flying Training systems, including Australia, Canada and Singapore, whilst continuing to assist on UK MFTS.

My two steps sons both now fly for British Airways and joined through their Future Pilot Programme. Their path through training gave me an invaluable insight into commercial pilot training  – both as a professional and as a parent! At Leading Edge we are giving our student pilots the best training experience we can as they prepare for  a successful career.

Chief Commercial Officer

Andi Alexander

As a child I loved airports and I loved flying. Plus living near Brize Norton it seemed inevitable I would end up working in aviation. Since 2001 I’ve worked with planes, trains and boats and when I first arrived at London Oxford Airport I instantly wanted to be part of the airport team and all that the surrounding aviation community had to offer.

In 2010 I joined the Airport as Head of Finance. I became Managing Director in 2012 and added the London Heliport in 2015. I  began working with some of the Leading Edge team when I first arrived at the Airport and, realising we had aligned core beliefs and standards, strong working relationships developed from there.

I am proud to be part of Leading Edge Aviation. It’s a company with a strong vision and many talents, where everyone is happy to go to work each day.  

My ambition for Leading Edge Aviation

I am excited for the future of Leading Edge and want to help progress and develop the company into all that I know it can be.

The Academy

Where we are

We’re based at London Oxford Airport, where you’ll study during the day. All our accommodation is based nearby—just a short journey to the academy each day. In the next few years we will open a brand new campus where you will live and learn.

The Academy

Our campus

When you’re not in the air, you’ll be studying in one of our ‘learning studios’. They’re bright, open, interactive spaces, where you’ll get hands-on with the latest virtual and mixed-reality technology. You might work on solo projects, or as part of a team, guided by your instructors using leading edge learning technologies, such as neuro-tracking.

The Academy

Aircraft

You’ll take to the air in a modern glass cockpit training aircraft.

The Academy

Cutting‑edge tech

We believe training should be more interactive and more fun. No more ‘chalk and talk’ sessions. You’ll use virtual and mixed reality tech, along with the latest neuro training approaches. We’re making it a totally digital experience, with electronic course materials on tablets. We’re using the latest simulator technology and the final part of your training will be on either the Boeing 737 or the Airbus A320.

Health

Wellbeing and support

A great pilot needs a healthy body and a healthy mind. Physical training sessions are a part of the course, but you’ll also have access to a gym that you can use on your down time. We’re not afraid to talk about all aspects of your wellbeing, including mental and physical health. Being able to recognise and manage health issues is a vital part of a pilot’s wellbeing. We will be on hand to listen and equip you with the right tools to cope with any issues.

Accommodation
  • You’ll have a private, comfortable home from home.
  • An en-suite room with a comfy bed, WiFi and space to study.
  • It’s a place where you can enjoy everything student life has to offer, with all the facilities you’ll need.
Social life
  • There are plenty of places to kick back and spend time with your team at the academy.
  • Oxford has a lively student community—so loads of nightlife and culture to keep you entertained.
  • You’ll form relationships at the academy that will last throughout your career.
Culture
  • You’ll be part of a supportive environment where you can develop your life skills, so you’re ready for a life in the skies.
  • As part of the integrated course you will study for a degree which will help you develop your business aviation acumen. Upon graduation you are eligible to upgrade to a full honours degree.
  • Or join a sports team, take a class on cookery, mindfulness or dealing with jetlag.