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.

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.

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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 cadets 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 cadets 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.

  • Andy McFarlane portrait

    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.

  • Katie Broadhurst portrait

    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.

  • Mike Steer portrait

    Chief Digital Officer

    Mike Steer

    I joined the Royal Air Force in 1983 and have been involved with aircraft and aviation training ever since. My first aircraft were the Jet Provost and Hawk trainers, then the mighty F4J Phantom with the famous 74(F) Tiger Squadron. Later on in my career I became a C130 Hercules Navigator and Aircrew Instructor. Aside from learning to shoot down Migs during the Cold War, and hauling or dropping supplies around the world, my experience taught me that success only came from pushing myself to the limit and doing better tomorrow than today. Being surrounded by a strong team helped me to believe in myself and become a better operator. Teamwork and tenacity are key to becoming an aviation professional, and these are qualities that I would expect to find and promote in all our trainees. I’ve worked around the world as an instructor and examiner, including stints in Spain and UAE. I’ve also been the Chief Theoretical Knowledge Instructor at FTE, CAE Oxford Aviation Academy, Airways Aviation Academy and L3 CTS over the past 20 years. Today, I work hard to influence aviation training for the better, particularly in making training more affordable, accessible and relevant.

    My ambition for Leading Edge Aviation

    My aspiration is to make learning more innovative and exciting, so that your journey will be more challenging and fun, and bring out the best in you.

  • Olivia Warren portrait

    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.

  • Jeremy Bolduc portrait

    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.

  • Stephen Rees portrait

    Head of Training

    Stephen Rees

    One of the great things about working for Leading Edge Aviation is the fact that I have known and worked with all the senior team at one stage or another and I count them all as personal friends.  Our shared vision for the training industry became apparent very quickly after we’d met and, when Andy asked me to be part of the team, I jumped at the chance even though I was still part of another organisation as their Head of Training!

    My passion for aviation is long standing and comes from my time as an Air Cadet and Gliding Instructor.  Even when I was in the RAF I continued to teach Air Cadets how to fly and, when the opportunity arose to become a fully-fledged Flight Instructor, I grabbed the opportunity with both hands.  It wasn’t too long after that that I joined Oxford Aviation Academy (OAA) and worked in their overseas bases in Arizona and Texas becoming the Base Manager.  My enthusiasm to keep learning and to progress in the industry meant that I wanted to see what the airline industry held for me, and I left to join Flybe where I flew the Dash8-Q400 and eventually managed to fly from the left-hand seat as a Captain.  Even then I was missing the hustle and bustle of the training environment and, when I was offered the position as Head of Training back at OAA, it took some persuasion to leave the comfort of the airline environment with its rostered work pattern and regular and interesting flying, but the passion I had for teaching never left me and is as strong today as it was all those years ago.

     

    My ambition for Leading Edge Aviation is for us to become the most respected and professional training provider in the industry, and for us to continue to strive for the best whilst always thinking of the student.  To keep moving forward and to use technology to its full advantage to give us the edge , perhaps even the ‘Leading Edge’ over our competitors.  There is a very well-known airline motto, ‘To Fly To Serve’, and it is one which I not only believe in, but one which I think we can easily add ‘and To Enjoy’.

Visit us

Come and take a look around the academy.

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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.

Our campus

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.

Our aircraft

Aircraft

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

VA Airline Training

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.

Accommodation, social life & culture

  • Accommodation

    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 cadet life has to offer, with all the facilities you’ll need.
  • Social life

    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

    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.
Wellbeing and support

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.

Find out more about life at the academy

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