Dec 14

Behind the scenes: René Veerman, CCO at ProSim-AR

Following a professional education in aerospace engineering, René worked in mechanics, engines and avionics. One particular role was that of a Flight Engineer for KLM Helicopters, operating S61 and S76 helicopters to oil platforms in The North Sea and performing hoist operations for harbour pilots and SAR duties.

“Operating helicopters that we maintained ourselves kept us very sharp. Those were old school helicopters with electro-hydraulic stability augmentation systems. In order to check these systems, the helicopter had to be in the ‘hover’ mode above the platform outside of the maintenance hangar at KLM, so a pilot licence was a good thing to have.”

ProSim team members (left to right): Stefan Blansjaar, Carlos Moran, Hanne Koole and René Veerman.

René’s interest in planes was passed down from his father. “As a small kid we lived in Amsterdam and my dad used to take me on the back of his bicycle to the airport. It wasn’t too far to cycle to the old airport of Schiphol (now called Schiphol East) on a Saturday morning and from there we would watch all the planes.” Even at the age of 5, René was old enough to appreciate flying. Just a few decades later and the dream of flight became reality as René was putting his own private pilot licence to good use.

A young René with his father by a KLM maintenance hangar where he would one day work as a Flight Engineer for KLM Helicopters.

KLM Helicopters S-61 hovering during a hoist operation.

Via a project as a responsible person for the line maintenance for a regional airline start-up, which operated Jetstream 31 and Saab340 a/c, René entered the next phase of his career: representing the supplier.  As a technical representative for a large US supplier, he served large accounts such as Fokker Aircraft, KLM and all airlines in Scandinavia.

In this period, René shifted to ‘the dark side’ and became involved in Business Development activities for Avionics. He saw many boardrooms of many airlines together with the inventor of EGPWS, Mr Don Bateman, now Technical Fellow of the Honeywell Corporation.

In 1999 via a head-hunter and based on his first-hand experience as a pilot and a background knowledge in engineering, another opportunity to contribute to making aviation safer presented itself. René became involved in flight simulation and training for Mechtronix based in Canada and Aerosim based in the US, both were start-up companies which became a true disruptor in the then conservative sim market by introducing type specific FTDs and FFS with true innovations such as simulated instruments, electric motion and a raster only visual: all first certifications back in 2004. After 12 years, of which the last 2.5 were spent in Montreal as leader of customer support, René decided return to The Netherlands and joined another TDM start-up, MPS, that had just delivered its first FTD to a customer to help grow the business. Via business development activities for a main US company starting up in the FFS business, but abandoning Commercial Flight Training in 2016, René became the responsible person for Business Development and a member of the management team at the largest independent training centre in Europe, based in Amsterdam which was acquired by the worldwide market leader in November 2020.

While attending industry trade shows over recent years, René came into contact with ProSim’s CEO, Hanne Koole. After making their acquaintance, it wasn’t long until May 2021, at an opportune time, when René was invited to take on an active role within ProSim. Coming from a professional background in engineering, sales and marketing and meetings with airline executives, something new for René is the high activity of amateur users in the entertainment side of flight simulation at ProSim. “What surprises me is that the enthusiast user gives so much valuable feedback, that this enables ProSim to perfect and improve their products.”

Currently focussing on the business development of ProSim and looking ahead to new ventures: “Given the huge challenges for the airline industry and upcoming opportunities instigated by change in regulations, this is a very interesting time for flight schools and airlines to consider ProSim products for training purposes.’’

Since joining the flight simulation industry, around 1999, René started to attend meetings at the Royal Aeronautical Society. “I really enjoyed these meetings because of the open exchange of new technologies and regulations that are all aimed at improving the quality of training.” Many of the people René came into contact with around this time were connected to this esteemed society, of which René was invited to become a member of in 2013.

In his free time, René is a keen sailor of his wooden sailboat, enjoying day trips around the Ijsselmeer and Wadden Sea islands in the Netherlands and doing the maintenance during the winter period.