More training for aspiring airline pilots

On 8th December 2017 EASA published ED 2017/022/R which updates the Acceptable Means of Compliance (AMC) and Guidance Material (GM) to Commission Regulation 1178/2011, aka the ‘Aircrew Regulation’.

MCC/APS course

The Decision introduces a new course for aspiring airline pilots; the ‘Multi Crew Cooperation to Airline Pilot Standards’ (‘MCC/APS’) course. It’s already mandatory for all pilots to complete a multi-crew cooperation (MCC) course before they start training for their first multi-pilot type rating but the existing MCC course, as required by FCL.735.A, is limited to teaching pilots how to operate as part of a two-pilot crew. The new course, described in AMC2 FCL.735.A, additionally includes swept-wing jet aeroplane handling, airline operations scenario training and an assessment of competence. The new MCC/APS course isn’t mandatory, pilots can still choose to save some money by taking the MCC course, but EASA assume that the airlines will favour candidates who do the extra required to complete MCC/APS training.

Course Content

The MCC/APS course is based on industry ‘best practice’ so it reflects the training that many pilots joining the airlines already receive. The course includes 40 hours of simulator instruction (or 35 hours if the course is part of an ‘Integrated ATPL’ programme). The simulator used represents a swept-wing jet airliner. If the MCC/APS course is combined with a type-rating then candidates will complete the full technical syllabus of the type rating otherwise there will be sufficient technical training to ensure that they understand aeroplane systems in normal and non-normal situations. Theoretical training will include much more than the aircraft technical subjects. Trainees will learn about the airline operating environment including topics such as operations planning, fatigue management, airline maintenance, safety management and ‘just culture’. The trainees will apply this knowledge in practical (simulator) sessions that incorporate airline-representative scenarios using airline documentation and manuals.

Assessment

The MCC/APS course includes an assessment of competence. Trainees are graded against competencies using behavioural markers and an airline-style 5-point grading system. Trainees who are graded as ‘satisfactory’ or better will be issued with a course completion certificate for the MCC/APS course. Trainees who finish the course but don’t achieve a ‘satisfactory’ standard in the final assessment will be issued with a course completion certificate for the MCC course only. They’ll still be qualified to start a multi-pilot type rating course but may find themselves at a disadvantage during airline selection.