Multi-crew licenses get off to a slow start

 - June 2, 2009, 11:27 AM

In the view of many airline chief pilots, the established system of professional pilot training produces pilots who– while satisfactory in a single-crew operation–need additional training in two-crew procedures before they are of use to airlines.

To address this issue, five years ago the airlines proposed that they would sponsor select trainee pilots to undertake a revised course of training that would better qualify them to take their place on the flight deck without substantive further training. With only some 60 hours of flight experience and their theory examinations completed, they would advance to a 180-hour course of simulator-based training as pilot flying and pilot not flying that was oriented to the rules and procedures of the sponsoring company.

The multi-crew pilot license was introduced in 2006. However, in spite of strong vocal support at the discussion stage, the industry has been slow to adopt the license it promoted. A probable reason for this is that a sponsoring airline will have to commit to employing the trainee. A drawback for the trainee pursuing the license is the fact that it is designed around specific company operational procedures, and an MPL holder would be restricted to flight operations with the sponsoring company.

Under normal circumstances this would not be a problem, but a group of MPL graduates flying with Danish airline Sterling found when their company went out of business that while many other companies were willing to accept their experience, the legislation then in effect made it difficult to transfer the license to another operator.

Boeing subsidiary Alteon was the first training establishment to venture into the MPL field at its Brisbane, Australia facility. Six MPL pilots for China Eastern and Xiamen airlines graduated from that program in November. In addition, British regional carrier Flybe recently contracted with Spanish-based European Flight Training to train six potential MPL holders.

Comments

Let us not forget Alpha Aviation Group's disaster of an MPL program in Clark, Philippines. It is well-known throughout the industry and paticularly among ICAO in Montreal that AAG lured several cohorts of MPL cadets into a program that had no airline sponsor--a critical fact that was hidden from the cadets until their training was over and all the fees paid. (Cebu Pacific Air, the airline that sponsored the first two MPL cohorts, pulled out after long delays and quality problems with the MPL cadets--but AAG didn't tell this to CAAP or the following groups of cadets.) It was a travesty because soon enough ICAO knew exactly what was going on and did nothing to put a stop to it. And AAG would not give refunds to those cadets who rightfully requested their money back after the deception and the necessarily useless MPL's. Finally, the CAAP Director-General stepped in and put a stop to the fraud. The primary AAG manager who slept well through all this (Andy, a truly bad kind of Apple) is no longer with AAG. A closer look at the parent company, C&C Alpha group, will show that this type of harmful mismanagement is how they do their business in a variety of their other ventures such as subpar mental hospitals in the UK and withering almond crops in California. AAG may quote 99% placement rates of cadets with airlines... but the real question is how many of them are actually flying? Its about 1 in 3. The rest are waiting to be called for actual salaried work, or have moved on. This is not surprising at all, considering the 100% acceptance rate of MPL cadet applicants during this time this all happened. There are no MPL holders left in the Philippines--ALL of them went back to flight school and converted their licenses to CPL. Shame on the lot of all those involved!

Let us not forget Alpha Aviation Group's disaster of an MPL program in Clark, Philippines. It is well-known throughout the industry and paticularly among ICAO in Montreal that AAG lured several cohorts of MPL cadets into a program that had no airline sponsor--a critical fact that was hidden from the cadets until their training was over and all the fees paid. (Cebu Pacific Air, the airline that sponsored the first two MPL cohorts, pulled out after long delays and quality problems with the MPL cadets--but AAG didn't tell this to CAAP or the following groups of cadets.) It was a travesty because soon enough ICAO knew exactly what was going on and did nothing to put a stop to it. And AAG would not give refunds to those cadets who rightfully requested their money back after the deception and the necessarily useless MPL's. Finally, the CAAP Director-General stepped in and put a stop to the fraud. The primary AAG manager who slept well through all this (Andy, a truly bad kind of Apple) is no longer with AAG. A closer look at the parent company, C&C Alpha group, will show that this type of harmful mismanagement is how they do their business in a variety of their other ventures such as subpar mental hospitals in the UK and withering almond crops in California. AAG may quote 99% placement rates of cadets with airlines... but the real question is how many of them are actually flying? Its about 1 in 3. The rest are waiting to be called for actual salaried work, or have moved on. This is not surprising at all, considering the 100% acceptance rate of MPL cadet applicants during this time this all happened. There are no MPL holders left in the Philippines--ALL of them went back to flight school and converted their licenses to CPL. Shame on the lot of all those involved!

Show comments (2)