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The aviation degree as the basis for a career in the air

Aviation and everything that goes with it is Salomée Amstutz' great passion. In order to gain the broadest possible knowledge in this area, she chose to study aviation at the ZHAW School of Engineering. In addition to the pilot's license, the study, which is unique in Switzerland, is the ideal prerequisite for her goal of flying through the air as a pilot.

Salomée Amstutz' was interested in airplanes and flying long before she started her studies. Together with her partner, she got her glider pilot's license and was therefore in the air early on. "It was clear to me for a long time that I wanted to work as a pilot," recalls the ZHAW graduate. In order to achieve this goal, she not only wanted to strive for a pilot's license, but also to gain the broadest possible insight into aviation, which also includes the technical view of flight operations. "As far as I know, the aviation course at the ZHAW is unique in Switzerland, so the decision to go with it was made quickly," recalls Salomée Amstutz. She chose a variant of the study in which you start pilot training at the same time, the so-called ATPL (Airline Transport Pilot Licence). "For me, the aviation course covers all the relevant points in aviation, and there I also learned to develop an understanding of the individual sub-areas. The degree was therefore an important basis for my training as a pilot," explains Salomée Amstutz, who completed her bachelor's degree in 2020. "In addition, the degree is also helpful if you want to build a second mainstay in the aviation industry alongside your pilot's job," she adds.

"As far as I know, the aviation study at the ZHAW is unique in Switzerland, so the decision to go for it was made quickly."

Salomée Amstutz, aviation graduate, turnaround coordinator Zurich Airport

Responsible for clearance

Salomée Amstutz worked as a turnaround coordinator at Zurich Airport until she completed her pilot training. In this position, she and her ground crew are responsible for handling the aircraft, for which there is a tight and elaborate schedule. In just a few minutes, the team has to load and unload the machine, refuel and clean it. In addition, arriving passengers have to be guided out and waiting passengers onto the plane. And all of this in a time window of about 40 minutes. "If the machine is late, we usually have no more than 30 minutes for the entire process," explains Salomée Amstutz. That's where it can get tight. Keeping track of things is quite a challenge.

The ZHAW graduate sees her work as a turnaround coordinator as valuable experience for her future job as a pilot. “You also notice quite quickly whether a pilot understands the work of the ground crew. Some used to work as turnaround coordinators themselves, so they have more respect for our work,” Salomée Amstutz notes with a laugh.

Above the clouds

Thanks to a preliminary contract with a Swiss airline, the chances of finding a job above the clouds in the near future are good. Salomée Amstutz is still open to the future, and she doesn't want to rule out a job abroad in the long term. "The main thing is that I'm in the air," she emphasizes. But she can also imagine not only sitting in the cockpit, but also spending part of their working time on the ground, for example in the technical area. In any case, her aviation studies at the ZHAW School of Engineering means she is more than well qualified for this.