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Multicrew pilot licence numbers grow as it approaches proof of concept

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Multicrew pilot licence numbers grow as it approaches proof of concept

Old 20th Nov 2012, 09:25
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Mel Eff,

Well said.
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Old 20th Nov 2012, 09:34
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The company I work for has a track record for taking on young LEP's straight out of training to fly our B757's and I have to say I've been very impressed with the majority of them who quickly get to grips with the aircraft. I think this has a lot to do with the fact they join us with no preconceived ideas therefore have a tendency to quickly adapt to the company's SOP's. The majority of these young guys and gals are highly intelligent young individuals. During the past 10 years I can only think of one cocky young man who desperately needed to mature up a bit - he has since moved up in the world and now works for a world favourite airline!

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Old 20th Nov 2012, 10:17
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MEL Effluent

I think the sentiment that those of us advocating the need for experience are expressing is this- that nurtured experience yields increasing competence and all things being equal we would prefer to see the same candidates with (something like) a minimum of 700 hrs + before they go to the right seat.

For us, the MPL philosophy undermines some of the core skills that we value, skills that may not be readily needed when flying day to day with a capable commander, but may be called for when things go wrong or are significantly non-standard.

In my experience, cadet programs are only an appropriate stream for a handful of candidates and even then, the outcome is totally dependent on the quality of those programs. I can only think of a handful of these, all directed exclusively by major airlines.

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Old 20th Nov 2012, 11:09
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The licence and training system could be rejected as inadequate - but is that likely? Not according to Capt Dieter Harms, a senior Lufthansa pilot also known as "father of the MPL" for his work with ICAO
Of course he would say that. After all he would look a bloody fool if he criticised his own wheel barrow that he pushed..
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Old 20th Nov 2012, 11:13
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Playing the Devil's Advocate, might I ask exactly what this added 700 hrs of experience flying light aircraft will bring to the party? I have flown with 140 different Captains. Some were excellent airmen; many were rubbish; some less competent than I, a mere FO. Experience does not equate to skill or guarantee good decision making.

Given that society tolerates the risk inherent in the lower level of competence held by professionals in other industries at the early stages of their careers, why is there a fear of cadet pilots?

You may counter with the argument that our industry is dangerous, but the statistics do not support an argument that 250hr cadets are a danger. Apart from one hard landing by a cadet line training with a UK charter airline about three years ago, I cannot think of a serious incident involving a cadet.

The many incidents and accidents I have seen discussed on Pprune over the years have all been the responsibility of experienced pilots. Ergo, if we were to look at barring pilots owing to statistical risk we might be looking at wholly different swathes of people.

As I say, I'm playing Devil's Advocate, but these points deserve addressing.

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Old 20th Nov 2012, 11:19
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Well, I'm not Pontius, V_2 or A320baby but I can certainly give it a try.

Do you say that cadet schemes provide the most satisfactory source of FOs?
Well conceived and executed MPL will give you as good fresh F/O as any other mean of training. Also it will cost and last similarly as an integrated course. That many training touted as MPL has turned out to be a scam doesn't mean every MPL is.

Do you contend that cadet standards, far from declining, are satisfactory?
They are declining but they are so far mostly satisfactory. It has nothing to do with the type of training, most problems I've encountered were connected with either personal attitude towards work and flying or weak understanding of maths and physics at high school level.

Are you saying that, on balance, you consider operational and system knowledge to be more important than basic handling skills and airmanship with regards to flying an airliner?
Nice example of false dichotomy. Both are equally important and that is: extremely!

If the answer to 3 is yes, what general aircraft specification do you believe imparts skills that are "transferable" to airline operations?
Apart from flying, faster, higher, longer and in worse weather than GA there is not much difference in basic flying skills required to fly GA type or airliner. Operating the systems is another matter. Could be reason why Singapore has its cadets flying Learjets and Lufthansa CitationJets before type rating training.

Are you saying that FJ streaming indicates "easy" transitions in the future?
Not by itself. FJ jocks have demonstrated to be extremely competent pilots, occasional problem is them remaining stuck in FJ mentality. That being said, arrogant ex-FJ capt denigrating everyone not being military trained is nowadays seemingly extinct species.

When determining training processes, do you believe in training for the most capable or least capable candidate?
Relative. Training is modeled to cater least capable candidate still deemed able to pass it and fly the aeroplane safely and efficiently afterwards. "Least capable" still means high above average capability of general population.

Are you saying that the absence of other flying opportunities is a legitimate reason to allow newly qualified pilots to operate as commercial SICs?
Legitimate reason to allow newly qualified pilots to operate as commercial SICs is they are certified competent by appropriate authority and accepted by airline. If real life justifies their decision, there is no problem here.

As this is highly emotionally charged issue, I do expect that discussion will be now enlivened by blowing accident or two out of every proportion by those who feel insulted by the proposition that less than 200 hr TT wonders can fly the aeroplane safely.

Some of the posters here seem to be confusing experience with competence.
Exactly! E.g. GA pilot experienced in working for shoddy operator that made him regularly bust the rules but he was lucky to never get caught (or killed) that expects whole world to operate as his unscrupulous first master, has so less valuable than properly trained cadet that his net worth is negative.

I think the sentiment that those of us advocating the need for experience are expressing is this- that nurtured experience yields increasing competence
Very well said. It is sentiment, not knowledge.

For us, the MPL philosophy undermines some of the core skills that we value
It is not MPL philosophy but some less than scrupulous FTO owners selling deficient programs as MPL.

In my experience, cadet programs are only an appropriate stream for a handful of candidates and even then, the outcome is totally dependent on the quality of those programs. I can only think of a handful of these, all directed exclusively by major airlines.
Exactly! So is the MPL.
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Old 20th Nov 2012, 11:30
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I had a cadet pilot in the right seat of a 737, who was on their first flight, having been cleared to the line the day before. This pilot had fewer than 200 hours in their logbook (JAR 'frozen' ATPL). We had to shut down an engine in flight and then followed Company SOPs, FO flies the approach for captain's landing.
Clearly from what you say about company SOP's your company doesn't trust you to fly a single engine approach but does permit you to do the actual touch down. What a strange logic and it is probably good that your trusting passengers wre not aware the most junior pilot is flying the approach on one engine. Otherwise there would be a riot on your hands.

But seriously - what is it with this new fangled warm and fuzzy approach where the approached must be "shared" between the two pilots. Is it that the captain of the aircraft and who holds the ultimate responsibility for the safety of the flight needs `help` to manage such a simple task?

I realise you are a captive audience to your higher authority but surely there must be a commonsense limit to how much the captain is allowed to abrogate his authority in order to allow his subordinate to practice his new found skills at a single engine approach at the expense of the fare paying punters in cattle class. Why not go the whole hog? Give the young bloke the leg and sit back and let him do the lot including the engine failure and approach and landing in Cat 2. After all, he may only have two figure command hours in a single engine trainer in his log book but is qualified as aircraft commander of a jet transport in a simulator. Big deal

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Old 20th Nov 2012, 11:35
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My experience to date is that the physical handling of an aircraft by low hour pilots is excellent. If the MPL system throws out pilots who have the same level of aircraft handling skills as my low houred colleagues, they will have done a good job. And I can see no reason as to they shouldn't have the same or better skills, because they will have spend more time in the sim. than the approved course chappies.

However, pilots with low hours have weaknesses in two areas. Firstly in operating an aircraft - basically due to a lack of experience. Whilst they can "pole" the aircraft to point X, they often don't consider whether they really should be going to point X. Secondly, and this is where the 1,500 hour pilot has an edge, they are often very immature and lack people skills (arrogant little sods, some of them). But overall, when you consider the overall skills of new First Officers, by the best are generally the current crop of ex-air force pilots. Not surprisingly, they move on to become good commanders as well.

But some of the worst pilots I have seen are the crusty old "Cold War" fast jet pilots. I found them lazy, supremely arrogant, slap-dash, egotistical and at times, bloody dangerous. I'm sure CRM was invented to deal with these obnoxious gits. I reckon they were passed out to be single-crew fast jet pilots because nobody would ever fly with them.

If the current crop of MPL pilots are exposed to realistic training scenarios and properly mentored throughout the training process, there is no reason why they can't qualify to become airline pilots and perform every bit as well (or better) as their colleagues who have been trained under the traditional system. The new system allows all of the rubbish regarding piston engines, the nuances of VFR nav, circuits, first solos, cross countries to be dumped. If you want to do that, fine but it hasn't got much to do with airline flying. The relevant bits will still be taught (and I think learnt more about VFR nav. when doing my line training in an F27).

Let's see the product before we trash it.
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Old 20th Nov 2012, 11:46
  #29 (permalink)  
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You may note that I said 700 hours or something like that. It might be more or less, but the point is that many of us who have been trainers, instructors, TRIs/TREs can attest that those additional hours increase a pilot`s capacity to react and to focus on operational matters rather than basic handling.

Somewhere beyond 250 hours, the process whereby repetition causes a pilot`s responses to become instinctive- doing the right thing, at the right time, without thought- is well underway. This should ensure that line training is just that; LINE training and line captains do not find their skills unreasonably challenged by weakness in the right seat. Training and evaluation programs must consider the likely minimum performance, not maximum.

Now, let`s be clear, we all acknowledge the quality of any pilot depends on the individual and the system that developed him, but it is irrefutable logic that all things being equal, that same individual should be improving with every hour.

This experience philosophy is fundamental to the whole aviation training process. If you question the value of experience then ask yourself why the cold world of insurance demands demands hours well in excess of regulated hours for certain operations. I believe the only reason the adjusters have not made it cost prohibitive for airlines to have inexperienced pilots in the right seat is because the high profile accident that will cause it is yet to happen.

What I am saying, and I think I represent many others, is that cadets have a useful but limited role to play in pilot recruitment and that some of the philosophies of the MPL license run contrary to our thoughts on the positive contributions of experience and handling in producing safe pilots.
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Old 20th Nov 2012, 12:01
  #30 (permalink)  
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I see people scorning experience as irrelevent to airline piloting. The attitude seems to be as long as the cadet (or MPL graduate) can say the right phraseology, twiddle the right knobs on the autopilot and type at 80 words a minute into the CDU he is automatically the Right Stuff.

Two of these commanders of the future undergoing a Boeing 737 conversion knew their company SOP off pat. Then the unspeakable happened in the simulator. The Boeing SOP included the support pilot calling `80 knots" during the take off run and calling V1 and `Rotate`at the appropriate speeds. Normal airline procedure.

On this occasion one cadet conducted the take off acting as the captain while his chum in the RH seat made the calls. 80 knots was called and correctly acknowledged by the `captain`

But for some unknown reason the cadet in the RH seat failed to call V1 and VR. Unabashed, the `captain` continued the take off roll and simply stayed on the runway, all the while accelerating quickly towards the departure end of the 8000 ft runway. The speed passed V1, VR, V2, and V2 plus 10, 20, 30 and 40 knots, with the `captain` making no attempt to get airborne. At the last desperate second before taking out the localiser aerials beyond the end of the runway, he looked accusingly across the flight deck at his compatriot and said "You forgot to call V1 and VR"

And that, Pprune readers, is the difference between an MPL trained cadet and an experienced pilot...

Last edited by Centaurus; 20th Nov 2012 at 12:04.
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Old 20th Nov 2012, 12:42
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Just to qualify my support of LEPs, the one thing LEPs do need to guard against is in treating the job as some sort of contest. Airline flying is a satisfying career which has a fairly steep learning curve for most, and there are traps along the way. The job also requires good CRM training and a level of humility and that's a quality that exists in the more intelligent amongst them. The dangerous and stupid ones are those who find the need to tell everyone how good they think they are. So my humble advice to all LEPs (for what it's worth) is be confident but never arrogant!

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Old 20th Nov 2012, 13:09
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Experience is no guarantee of competence (though it may help), and if the MPL delivers competent co-pilots, I do not see that there is a problem
I read a very shy "if" in your statement ....

Well "to be or not to, that is the question".
It is exactly the little "if" that we are debating about. No one can actually prove his point of view in that respect.

I am pretty sure however, that all the pilots here defending the MPL system, and with it the dilution of training and skill in todays pilots, will eventually be in the left seat in a few years. If the trend is not reversed, the beancounters and greedy managers will be allowed to dilute it even more.

I am pretty sure to hear from all these venerable colleagues in a few years about how the the standard of FOs has dropped .... and they will be much more troubled by that, because their own training standard is quite low as well, and set in a MPL environment, meaning they are not very comfortable in operating an airliner alone or with big frightened eyes wide open staring at him from the right.

Brave new world, but I guess even that is something the new generation is not educated to know what it means.

Today everybody is beautiful, very important and can achieve anything, without work, without studying, without having to go through all the first, second and third loops and hoops as the former generation had to do, as long as the clown-hosts of the casting show pretend to see some talent in them.

Does a young doctor go right into cardiac surgery after a few weeks? Does a lawyer assistant stand up in court on a important clients case after a few weeks? Even in most top sports the athletes have to climb a certain ladder. A rookie has to earn his position with hard work and experience. The lone millennium talent is rare and even he/she has to work hard for her position.
It seems that aviation is so simple, that such things do not apply. With a mere 150 hours you can easily do in an emergency what a skipper learned in 10 years. And this is sustained and proudly written on these thread.

No wonder we start to read accident reports that leave us in astonishment.

I might exaggerate a bit to get the message over. But frankly, this MPL system has crossed a red line. Defending such a low training standard can actually on ly be done by either the financially interested on management side, or by pilots with a equally low training standard that they can not judge the actual threat.
No wonder Clandestino is defending the system .....
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Old 20th Nov 2012, 14:03
  #33 (permalink)  
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The issue is simple: a certain percentage of pilots shouldn't be in this business.

Some of them are weeded out in the beginning.

Some of them make it farther into the profession before failing and getting booted out.

At 250 hours, you haven't had time to be properly evaluated.

Sim time doesn't cut it - we all know pilots who can shine it on in the sim, and are worthless on the line.
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Old 20th Nov 2012, 14:34
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Some of them are weeded out in the beginning. Some of them make it farther into the profession before failing and getting booted out
What you say is true in part, but I would say it`s an unreasonably harsh assessment. I would say the real argument for forcing more experience is that it ensures the average pilot arrives in the right seat with a basic set of skills and experience.

Exceptionally few candidates can go through an intensive cadet program and be fully ready with 200/250 hours or less, so it is not their inability at that point that`s the problem. It`s the failure of industry and regulators to make sure their competence vs entry point is appropriate.

I and most of my colleagues prefer a well trained pilot who has had several hundred hours to consolidate his training before hiring.

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Old 20th Nov 2012, 16:26
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At least the MPL students, in the in UK at least, do some aerobatics as part of the course. Don't know about elsewhere.
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Old 20th Nov 2012, 17:37
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I think this says far more about you than them. I'm not talking about you being a Truckie but the fact that, from day one, these cadets have had training relevant to the commercial field in which they're operating, whereas you had to 'convert' from Betty's Flying Club

Sums it up entirely for me. Yes it was an ignorant post. You compare thousands of hours of actual flight operations under often demanding conditions with the garbage masquerading as actual commercial flight training these days.

If just one graduate from a "Betty's Flying Club" had been on 447 flight deck it would have been a non-event IMO.
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Old 20th Nov 2012, 20:11
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General Aviation MPL article

For those of you ( if any) who extol the virtues of the MPL, you might want to read the article written in "General Aviation" (the AOPA magazine) dated December 2010.
The article is titled "First UK MPL holders reach the flight deck"

I quote from page 32 " The MPL radically downgrades tradtional stick 'n' rudder skills; a student can obtain the licence and progress to the left seat, with as little as ten hours solo time" unquote.

That's ten hours of thinking for youself time!

But have no fear, the article continues, quote " Flybe seems to make some concession to these fears - it stipulated that its MPL students should fly not ten, but more than twenty hours solo and that they should experience asymmetrical flight and be able to do deal with it in a real aeroplane" unquote.

What more could you ask for?

The MPL is indeed a Muppet Pilots Licence, for the Muppets that prostitute themselves at the bottom end of P2Fliers and for the Muppets that promoted and approved the scheme, having enjoyed the good times and then reduce the profession to one of cheap labour and ever deteriorating Ts & Cs.

No wonder MOL seems to have such little regard for pilots.

Read the article, it is an eye opener. If you don't like the integrated cadet scheme, you're going to love the MPL!
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Old 21st Nov 2012, 01:20
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Given the very high proportion of pilots in major European and Asian airlines who have started off as cadets of one form or another, the very clear fact is that, looking at some 50 (yes! 50) years statistics, there is simply no accident or incident trend that can be sheeted home to pilots coming into aviation via cadet schemes.

If you looked at the underlying philosophy of the MPL, all it is, firstly, is an ICAO framework to standardize the many approaches to training cadet pilots and secondly, a way to recognize and utilise all we have learned about pilot training in that time. And that includes an appropriate mix of actual and simulated flight time.

To suggest that we should continue to train and license pilots essentially the same way as pre- WW II is just silly --- and flies in the face of 50 years of results achieved.

Tootle pip!!

PS: I was not a cadet, I came through a GA background, and had a very jaundiced view of ex- Hamble type cadets --- until I actually flew with them --- and found them no different to any other pilot, varying from very good through indifferent to "how did he get hired".

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Old 21st Nov 2012, 07:22
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Surely the best aviators are both competent and experienced?

I would count myself as a reasonably competent pilot, not an ace, but good enough.
I am, however, pretty experienced. You can't train experience, it is absorbed over many years, operating into unfamiliar parts of the world, dealing with non-normal situations, which aren't covered by the QRH or Ops Manual.

This is one of the reasons that my company puts its Training Entry pilots onto short haul first. Not because they arent good enough for LH, but because more happens in SH, so they get accelerated experience.

I am lucky that my airline recruits a good mix of cadets, military, and other airline pilots. It is a great melting pot, and shared experiences from all sides make us all better pilots.
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Old 21st Nov 2012, 09:34
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This MPL experiment will end in tears - waiting for the first major accident with one of them in the crew!

Flying basic aircraft solo over a hundred hours or so teaches you something - SURVIVAL!
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