vandelanotte supports the international growth of a niche business in the aviation sector

Testimony of a Client

Vandelanotte supports the international growth of a niche business in the aviation sector

From dreaming of being a pilot as a child to sitting at the table today with the biggest aircraft builders in the world: Airbus (France), Boeing (USA) and Comac (China). Not as a pilot, but as the manager of a company that designs and builds flight simulators. All this was no easy feat for Bert Buyle from Euramec in Hamme. He's reaping the benefits of an international entrepreneurial course and years of investing in research and development. "Vandelanotte keeps us on course by evaluating our company's total picture a few times a year and by firmly underpinning our international growth plans," he says.

Buyle senior was a pioneer in Belgium in the production of printed circuit boards. His son Bert saw production in Asia and sales from Belgium as being more fruitful. His entrepreneurial spirit led him to Singapore where he encountered Techspace Aero, a Belgian company that makes aircraft engine parts. The demand for flight simulators grew from his contacts with airlines. In 2007 Bert Buyle returned to Belgium and from then on, a small hobby started to grow into serious business.


Learning to fly can also be cheap and safe

"Today Euramec has three activities," says Bert Buyle. "We design and produce flight simulators that we market as a standard product. In addition, we provide customisation so that customers from the aircraft world, but also from the entertainment sector, can purchase flight simulators with specific designs or functionalities. And this summer we're launching a third activity. It's a combination of a flight centre and teambuilding where we make the simulators we develop in Hamme available to groups. Euramec's strengths are that we can easily adapt the architecture of our simulators - in terms of both hardware and software - to various aircraft types. On the other hand, we're strongly committed to keeping costs low, so that we can put our products on the market at an unprecedented low price. The intention is to contribute to a reduction in the cost of the pilot training. Young people no longer have the budget to get a private pilot license (PPL), and even then, we're not talking about a vocational training as a pilot. Via ULMs and light sport planes - a growing and less regulated market - more people are trying to fly. You can fly to southern France in 4 hours with this kind of ULM. The chance of good weather all the way, however, is fairly small. You can learn how to deal with this perfectly, and at a low cost, in a simulator. You don't really have to look for the danger to get to know it.”

(Better not) air sick in the simulator

"250,000 aircraft are registered in North America in general aviation - anything that includes private transport via helicopter or plane, including sport aircraft. In China there are less than 1,000! With the economic growth there, many people will want their own aircraft and so the demand for simulators will also increase significantly. We do have to fight misconceptions there, though. The customer often expects a platform that moves, and then makes you sick. After all, what you see must correspond perfectly with what you feel. This kind of simulator isn't a fairground attraction. We see other growth opportunities in commercial aviation. Asia needs 15,000 new pilots every year, which will lead to a huge increase in flight schools and thus simulators. And with the strong growth of low cost aviation in Europe and America, by using simulators we can also reduce the cost of expensive pilot training."

You don't really have to look for the danger to get to know it. Bert Buyle , manager

Responding to constant change

"We had steady activity for a long time, where we did almost the same every year. This was fairly easy to manage financially and strategically. But after investing purely in development over the past six years, we now want to market our products and sell them. There's a lot in the pipeline, in different European countries and in Asia. We've set up a branch in Porto and we'll be doing that soon in China, too. As a company, we must therefore be able to respond quickly to constant growth and change. Vandelanotte helps us to feel out and test that international playing field. They support us in the area of subsidies, taxation and insurance. Every week someone comes along to ensure that the accounting of our 3 companies is in order. And for the rest we sit together at least 3 to 4 times a year for an overview of the full picture: what are we doing, where do we want to go and what do we need to do for that?"

A tailor-made approach

"The big accounting firms, we're too small for them. And the small accountants don't have the know-how for the environment that we're working in now. So, it makes total sense for us to link up with a partner like Vandelanotte. They are a family business and their employees are young and dynamic, so they were quickly familiar with the whole operation of our group. Moreover, communication is very open and direct, just the way we like it. The way they think along with us is also an asset. Sometimes we're faced with very specific situations where the complex international VAT rules must be applied correctly in accounting terms. We've already noticed that the expertise of Vandelanotte can stand next to that of our largest international customers. Finally, I'd also like to mention the thematic information sessions that they regularly organise. I always try to go there and find them very instructive," concludes Bert Buyle.

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