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MPL experiences from students

Old 28th Nov 2020, 22:14
  #1 (permalink)  
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MPL experiences from students

hi, since we are talking a lot about the MPL course, I wanted to ask people who have completed it or who are about to complete it, how they found it, listing strengths and weaknesses of their course.
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Old 29th Nov 2020, 06:30
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Honestly, I think the risk is far, far too high. Just look around at the position many MPL students/owners now find themselves in, as much as I'm very optimistic on aviation over the next few years the MPL is too limiting/risky, it's been very harshly demonstrated that it's not a guarantee ... get an fATPL.
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Old 29th Nov 2020, 09:05
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Think you’ll struggle to find anyone about to compete an MPL, can’t think of any that haven’t just been dumped by the airline and left to it.

Take note.
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Old 29th Nov 2020, 09:29
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Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Leeds
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From someone who got through it, in terms of learning to fly big jets, it is so much better. Makes the traditional ATPL seem incredibly archaic.

Line trainers do often comment on the difference standards between MPLs and non MPL.

It needs to find a way forward!
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Old 29th Nov 2020, 10:01
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I'm about to finish my MPL. MCC and TR left which we will do next year. Our flight school is owned by one of the big Airline Groups in Europe and puts lots of effort into manual flying (pitch & power) so we don't become used to just following the magenta line.
I enjoyed every minute of the training and having worked in an two man cockpit style environment from already in training (we flew the citation during our second practical phase) makes adapting to airline procedures easier. Obv it's not just all shiny and it comes with its drawbacks especially during these times where we could face up to 5years of waiting period.
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Old 29th Nov 2020, 11:32
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Join Date: Feb 2016
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2 years on the line having done an MPL;

The training was good, we started on the line with far more Jet sim experience than someone with an fATPL, yes it does sort of limit you to multi-crew airline ops but thats what you signed up for so I don't see it as a huge disadvantage. We were lucky and got a tax free 'bond' added to our salary. We should save in the region of £30k over several years on income tax. The bond probably doesn't exist anymore and don't think it ever will again due to the large payment if MPL pilots are made redundant.

Things to note; there is absolutely no guarantee of a job afterwards, eJ canned a lot of their MPL cadets whilst still at flight school, you can't blame them really. Until you sign the employment contract having finished flight school you don't have a job. The ones that were canned face a hefty bill to realign their training to the fATPL scheme, but from what I've heard (do qualify this though) you can add new type ratings onto an MPL like you can to a fATPL. So if you were chopped, but got another job on a different type, apart from paying for your rating you should be able to add it to your existing MPL. Also you are not tied to an airline, I know BA were taking eJ MPL cadets, so you could go and work for a different operator flying the same type.

If I had known then what I know now I would advise people to go modular and find a sponsored type rating. Will save you so much money. Flight training costs are obscene nowadays. CAE were charging ~£40k+ for a 320 TR, madness.

My advice now would be don't even think about flight training for at least 12 months from now. There are a lot of redundant pilots out there and the covid recovery is going to take a while, also we are entering one of the biggest, if not the biggest, recession in modern history. People may not want to fly that much anymore, or they may not be allowed to. We just don't know yet. Until we do, don't gamble away huge sums of money.
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Old 29th Nov 2020, 12:50
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I know of three

One never finished of the type rating, one finished the type rating but never flew the third managed about 150 hours before hitting the buffers. I doubt any of them will fly again.

The dream has gone
But the debt is real

Last edited by Mickey Kaye; 30th Nov 2020 at 07:13.
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Old 29th Nov 2020, 15:20
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I graduated from an MPL a little under a decade ago.

The type rating is an integral part and without it you do not have a licence at all. There was a clause in the contract that in the event the sponsor airline couldnít provide a type rating, the training organisation would convert our (incomplete) MPL to an ATPL. This clause came about to mitigate the risk of the airline being unable to employ the cadets, as was the case with the first MPL students of Sterling Airlines. From what I gather on this forum, this guarantee has sadly not become an industry standard.

To those MPL cadets reading this who have been disadvantaged by current circumstances, you have my deepest sympathy for what must be an extremely stressful and upsetting time. I would encourage you to pause before spending any more money on training. I hope that in the months and years to come, the airlines will do the right thing and continue your training.
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Old 29th Nov 2020, 16:16
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Perhaps it's true on initial TR however it loses its shine by the time you're signed off. Then you are left with two pilots, one who has developed core flying skills through experience and another who learn't what all the buttons do, through experience. Therein lies the difference. Flying a sim is unlike flying an aircraft and it can't be compensated for during the learning process. You have years upon years to learn SOPs, procedures and become an FMC whizzkid, you can't learn fundamental motorskills on the line.
Whilst I think the traditional ATPL program needs a refresh, I don't think the MPL as it is, is the solution.

Unless of course pilots simply become operators and are therefore no longer to provide manual redundancy. In which case I expect salaries to be closer to minimum wage and with it a reduction in training fees.
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Old 29th Nov 2020, 17:41
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Isn't the answer to just modify the type rating part of the training to get the best of both worlds?
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Old 29th Nov 2020, 17:52
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Contact Approach

I just don't get the same feedback as you have been. We aren't going to agree. Where is the evidence that we don't have core flying skills? Where is the increased incident rate of MPL Vs non?
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Old 29th Nov 2020, 18:28
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I'm not pointing fingers or claiming its conclusive, It's simply facts: how do you learn how to ski? You put on some skis and point them downhill. How do you become a competent skier? You put on your skis, point them downhill then practise over and over again - the slopes change, the runs differ, the conditions change, you learn and adapt over time through making mistakes and learning to anticipate through feel, experience and instinct. You can apply this to learning any motor skill. Flying is a motor skill, It is highly dynamic and is a learned process through practise and experience. After 50 hours in an SEP you've barely put your skis on and learning such things on the line is unfortunately a thing of the past. You won't convince me novice skiers could hit the slopes for a day then spend the rest of the time in a skiing simulator and then smash a black run like theres no tomorrow. Learning how to operate an airbus sim will not equip you with the fundamental flying skills required to operate a kingair/Q400/737 etc. I've seen it, trust me.
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Old 29th Nov 2020, 19:25
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USA has a 1500 hour rule for FOs. Before this the limit was 250 hours. Many training people I spoke to said when they still took 250 hour people, many washed out in the sim. It wasn't the flying of the sim they failed, it was situation awareness and being able to talk to ATC, run a checklist and make critical decisions all at oncw. They could not imagine taking someone with only 50 odd hours in a real airplane and then expecting the sim to make up the difference in these critical areas.

If really worked they said, the military would train that way.
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Old 29th Nov 2020, 19:37
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Originally Posted by Climb150 View Post
USA has a 1500 hour rule for FOs. Before this the limit was 250 hours.
How on earth does that work?

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Old 29th Nov 2020, 19:42
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This should give you some background.
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Old 29th Nov 2020, 19:48
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I'm still curious as to HOW you manage to rack up that many hours without being in a full time job!

There's only so much self-funded hour building, glider towing and instructing that can be done!
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Old 29th Nov 2020, 20:32
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Yes, 1500 hours in that case. Even then that simply represents the minimum number of hours required for ATR (ATPL) issue. It’s likely nowhere near the average experience level to be invited to an interview. In the U.K. it used to be possible to undertake remunerated flight instruction with a PPL and an instructors rating. Indeed that was how a lot of “self improvers” acquired the flying experience to provide the stepping stones to CPL/ATPL issue and then the entry level transport jobs. Most other countries required a CPL (Commercial) for all forms of remunerated flying including instruction. In reality these requirements were not worlds apart as an instructors rating required a minimum experience level of 100 hours and with the advent of JAR (later EASA) harmonisation, the CPL requirement raised it to 250 hours. However, this was one of the “stepping stone” pathways. Airline entry at 250 hours was only ever achieved through one route. That route was “approved” (by the regulator) full time courses of integrated study. These approved courses were offered by only a few schools who were either wholly owned (such as Hamble to BEA/BOAC later British airways) or affiliated to a handful of commercial airlines.

These “approved” schools trained pilots to a CPL with a view to fast track airline entry, not dissimilar to those same programmes you see today. Outside of these programmes, the minimum hour requirement for a CPL was 700 hours and an ATPL 1500 hours. As I have already mentioned, an airline job at even these base levels would have been very rare.

The changes that came with JAR also occurred at around the time the first of the “lo-cost” carriers came on the scene. One notorious CEO at the time was (however seriously) advocating doing away with co-pilots all together! Since that was obviously a non-starter the next best thing was to find the cheapest option. So opened the floodgates of people who felt that a basic 250 hour licence however obtained was the new normal. Usually it wasn’t!

Over the last 20 years you see on these forums the waves of aspirant pilots who thought a 250 hour CPL however obtained was their invitation to the cockpit of a 737 or A320. For most airlines who operated their own cadet programmes, they could tie those opportunities to the modern versions of the old “approved” schools. Not only that, but they could also gradually shift almost all of the risk/training cost burden to the aspiring pilot.

The old “approved” school courses of 200 hours of integrated training have evolved, but broadly remain what they were in the 1960’s. The MPL was constructed to significantly evolve these programmes into much more integrated airline ab-initio apprenticeship programmes. The intention failed to realistically appreciate the commercial volatility of airlines as the businesses they have become. Their future evolution needs to address the ability to change airline end consumers more easily than it has been.

Beyond these programmes, and the clue is in the name, the ATPL really needs to become the baseline qualification for airline employment. This is what has happened in the US albeit for likely the wrong reasons. Generally, a 250 hour CPL should be but one stepping stone to airline employment not the final hurdle. Save for those specific programmes, it never was, and in more recent times it has become a distortion that sets up a lot of unrealistic expectations.
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Old 29th Nov 2020, 20:34
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Having taught both MPL and traditional CPL/IR student pilots from ab-initio onwards, the aircraft handling skills and situation awareness of an average MPL student are weaker when compared to an average CPL/IR student at the point they finish flying 'real' training aircraft prior to going across to the airline sim phase. Post-sim phase, on arriving in the jet, generally the average MPL student will be ahead of the average CPL/IR student as they will be more conversant with SOP's and operating (rather than flying) the aircraft. However, line trainers feedback is that on average, after 50 hours online, there's not much difference in ability/competence.
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Old 29th Nov 2020, 20:40
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I'm right at the beginning of the journey myself.

I'd considered the integrated route, but heard so much negativity about the financial side of things, that I've decided to go modular.

What I really need to know is (assuming the "Covid effect" is gone in a few years and air travel is back roughly where it was), will UK airlines be taking on recruits with less than 1000 hours?

​​​​​If they're not, I'm completely stuffed realistically, as I said above, there's no way I'll be able to get that many hours in, even if I get my instructor rating.

​​​​That of course leaves the big question, where on earth are they going to get their pilots?
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Old 29th Nov 2020, 20:51
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Flying hours has been likened to money you have in the bank; it depends what you do with it.

A critical issue is the quality of basic training received, with the importance of being able to select the appropriate ATTITUDE & TRIM extremely accurately. This fundamental skill is what students must be taught by a competent instructor. Get this bit right, and the rest will fall into place.
It matters not jot which route you take, be it fATPL, MPL, PPL into modular CPL/IR, unless you achieve this fundamental skill, donít expect to be proficient at flying.

If the airlines want young competent pilots they need to insist on QUALITY training and that is not exclusively the preserve of large ATOs. Junior Birdmen need to bring this fundamental skill, together with the other competencies to the simulator. If you cannot fly a light aircraft smoooooothly, donít expect to hack it in the B.737-800 simulator. The A.320 simulator whilst far more sophisticated offers far less of the necessary challenge for the big bad world.

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