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author Ilona Hetsevich
author 16 May 2017
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Learning Management System Aviation Airline

Starting your own online courses business is exciting and terrifying at the same time.

On one side, it is the only way to get out of your day-to-day office routine, long hours of office work and the boss you cannot stand.

On the other side, you take a huge risk and put everything on the line. You have a family to support, a mortgage to pay.

The thought that you might fail, get in debt up to your ears and beg for your job back terrifies you.

I bet you had not one sleepless night weighing all pros and cons, am I right?

You’ve read dozens of books, hundreds of eLearning industry experts interviews, thousands of blog post on how to be a successful entrepreneur, how to create engaging courses, how to apply effective eLearning techniques…

But all of this is a theory.

You need real-life examples from people like you, who risked, made mistakes, faced challenges and got where they are now.

Then and only then you’ll be sure that a successful LMS-based business on selling online courses or training staff isn’t a fairy tale invented by LMS vendors.

That is exactly why we’ve decided to launch a blog series called “How I’ve successfully launched an LMS-based project” and asked real LMS users to share their stories with you, the real stories from people who risked to launch a successful LMS-based business and came out on top.

Online entrepreneurs and startup owners from different industries and areas of business will share their ups and downs, strategies, mistakes and challenges of going from a bare idea to a Successful LMS-based Online Business.

These people have succeeded and you can take the same steps!

We’ve decided to start our blog series with a story from Aviation and Airline Industry

The story how one company has grown by amazing 400% and as a result has extended their LMS license to 3000 learners in the system.

A Learning Management System for Airline and Aviation Industry

Aviation, like any other industry in the world, requires well-trained, competent and qualified staff. Moreover, it is one of the most standardized and regulated industries with a number of regulations, guidelines, and requirements the companies need to comply with.

With regard to strict safety regulations, constant technology changes, complex procedures, and systems, aviation companies have to pay a lot of attention to the development of personnel competencies.

Personnel training here is a matter of life and death and human failures are not acceptable here.

In order to achieve an adequate level of employees’ qualifications and provide continuous learning and development opportunities many aviation and airline companies invest in Learning Management Systems.

Learning Management Systems allow aviation and airline companies to deploy required training programs and deliver them to a large number of learners independently from their location, time zone or spoken language, control the learning process; measure the training results and award certificates. In a nutshell, an LMS is a framework within which the training takes place (flight simulation training, scenario-based training, safety training etc.).

A Story of an Online EASA Compliant Regulatory and Vocation Training and its owner - Steven Bentley

EASA Online

EASAonline is a fully partner owned company of Sofema Aviation Services (SAS), which provides competitively priced access to a growing portfolio of EASA Compliant Regulatory and Vocational training.

The portfolio of available training courses includes over 145 recurrent training courses, ESDS, SMS, Maintenance Planning and Production Planning as well as generic and company-specific courses.

In 2017 SAS was awarded the license by the Bulgarian Civil Aviation Authority (BG CAA) to deliver Dangerous Goods in Aviation (DG) Classroom Training.

Working together SAS and EOL have currently issued more than 15,000 course certificates to attest the completion of Classroom and Online training.

Before Aviation Training

Steve Bentley

Steve joined aviation back in 1971.

“I guess Aviation was in my blood even if I did not realize it at the time. I joined aviation back in 1971 at the tender age of 16 as a maintenance engineer in the North West of England and more than 45 years later I am still involved!”

Today Steve is a Managing Director and the owner of Sofema Aviation Services, a Bulgarian-Based Regulatory Consulting and Training Company, and the owner of

The Online Training Story Starts…

Sofema Aviation Services (SAS) commenced trading in March of 2008 by offering a classroom-based training both “in company” and with the help of open training courses. EOL, in its turn, commenced trading in 2013 with the intention to provide a low cost, but effective access to the Sofema training materials. The current Plan is to reach 100 courses by the end of 2018.

“We saw a need for an optimized online training solution to supplement our current classroom offering. When considering the development of regulatory training, the challenge is always to address the cost of development and the return on the investment with the lower margins available for online offering, developing the material where a single hour of classroom training may take between ½ Day and a full day to prepare.”

Two Advantages That Changed Everything

We had 2 distinct advantages over other start-ups:

The first one is that as an established classroom-based training organization, we had the cash flow and a capacity to wait for the “2 years’ need” to see the project success. The lack of income can be a serious impediment to any business and it is something that needs to be carefully explored.

Our second advantage was that we’ve already had the material! The fact that we delivered classroom-based training with a portfolio of 250 courses put us into a favorable position of being able to offer our online clients a similar content at prices that are around 80 % lower than the classroom experience.

The Secret of Success

create a significant blogging presence

The "secret" of any business is to seek out niche opportunities. EOL has created a unique niche where they offer the same EASA Compliant Regulatory content online, for which their classroom-based competitors charge approximately 15 times more.

Essentially, not only do they not wish to compete, but also they are actually not in a position to do so. This is good for us and it is a situation, which we continue to embrace and develop.

Together with SAS, we’ve created a significant blogging presence with relevant and appropriate content. Running to many “100’s of Blogs” we are all over the Internet and I am very pleased to say that people find us and there is no need for us to spend significant money on Google and Facebook ads.

Looking Ahead…

EOL currently has more than 250 Courses available as classroom courses. The goal is to migrate all classroom-based training online and continue optimizing them with the help of short videos, which they place on their “YouTube” channel (SAS E-Aviation).

We expect to continue seeing a dramatic increase in user traffic and aim to double our size in 2017 and to do so again in 2018.

Advice for Online Training Startups

Building a successful online training business is always going to take time

Rome was not built in a day!

We were very fortunate to be able to wait for organic growth, however, we have to accept that without effective marketing no one will know who you are!

It either takes a lot of money to grow an online training presence or you can accept the organic growth at a lower cost and that can potentially be a more successful (due to less debt) choice, with less hype and closer connection with reality, more significant exposure and feedback.

Building a successful online training business is always going to take time to provide the return you deserve. Be prepared to work constantly with three goals in mind:

  • Continue building your brand
  • Establish and maintain your credibility, and
  • Grow your user base.

We really hope that you find the story valuable and inspiring! If you have any questions to Steve he can be reached at or on LinkedIn.

The next inspiring story within the blog series is coming shortly! Please subscribe to our blog to be in the know when a new post is published.

What to read next?
How to Select a Learning Management System?
25 Blogs for Someone Who Wants To Become an ELearning Professional
How I’ve Successfully Launched an LMS-Based Project [Project Management Case]

LMS to teach online