Hamilton, New Zealand – CTC Aviation has reached a key milestone in its delivery of an innovative and world-leading training method for a new pilot licence known in the aviation industry as a Multi-crew Pilot License (MPL). The method is revolutionising the way airline pilots are trained and providing benefits to local communities and the New Zealand environment.
CTC Aviation graduated its first six pilots for the MPL earlier this year; they started flying the Airbus A320 aircraft with Monarch Airlines in June. A further 12 cadets for an MPL are now in training at Hamilton through the company’s CTC WINGS program.
CTC Aviation’s Director of Strategic Projects, Anthony Petteford, is a driving force behind the company’s promotion of the MPL to its Partner Airlines and the global industry. He explained, “One of the main differences of the MPL, when compared to the traditional Airline Transport Pilot’s License (ATPL), is the training is more relevant to new-generation airliner flight-decks.”
Traditional Airline Transport Pilot’s License (ATPL) training courses are based upon regulations developed over 50 years ago but CTC Aviation’s approach has always been to differentiate by ensuring that the syllabus is airline orientated, much like the MPL.
However, the fact remains that the traditional route concentrates more on flying a certain number of hours in small training aircraft, than on core competencies and relevance of training. The MPL, by its very nature, retains the spotlight on fine-tuning the specific skills required for tomorrow’s airline pilots.
“In addition to basic skills, MPL focuses on training pilots to work through flight scenarios to gauge possible threats and errors, as well as solutions, prior to every flight and simulator training session.
“This critical thinking doesn’t happen to the same extent when pilots gain their license through the traditional ATPL training method. What’s important to understand, as well, is that trainees cannot learn these skills by simply increasing non-relevant flying hours in a light training aircraft,” explained Mr Petteford.
Mr Petteford said it is important to emphasize that both MPL and ATPL graduates are rigorously tested at the controls of a real airliner before being allowed to fly with passengers as a co-pilot.
The demand for ATPL training route still remains high as MPL requires airlines to be in a position to plan their resource requirement accurately several years in advance. The ATPL option allows for a more immediate requirement to be fulfilled, as pilots can be selected to join an airline towards the end of their training process.
Mr Petteford said the competency-based approach of training for the MPL means pilots are well-prepared for flying an airliner, and that is good news for airlines as they get First Officers who contribute value as crew members from day one.
With MPL, a trainee’s flying-hour requirements in a light aircraft are reduced by as much as 80 hours, with solo flying decreased from 50 hours to just 15.
The remaining training hours are shifted to an airliner flight simulator, normally either a Boeing or Airbus, where cadets train as a ‘crew’ with two trainees and an instructor.
“Putting more trainees through MPL will, over time, reduce our carbon footprint through lower emissions. We’ve calculated for every pilot trained for an MPL as opposed to ATPL, the emissions reduction is similar to taking four cars off the road,” said Mr Petteford.
As of next year, around 60 cadets will be trained through the CTC WINGS MPL Pilot programs.
As CTC Aviation sees an increasing demand for the MPL, the mix of aircraft and simulator hours delivered at the company’s United Kingdom and New Zealand Crew Training Centres will change.
CTC Aviation will increase the number of trainees at its Hamilton Crew Training Centre next year from around 250-300. With more CTC WINGS cadets taking up the MPL route, this allows the company to increase the total number of cadets in training without a significant increase in aircraft movements or carbon emissions. This will also have a beneficial effect upon the local Hamilton economy from the additional students living in the outskirts of the city during their training.
Mr Petteford said the world’s airlines were, at first, cautious to put their trainee pilots through MPL training while they gained an understanding of the new licence and associated training programs.
However, within the past 18 to 24 months, the rate of uptake is rapidly increasing with world-leading airlines such as Lufthansa now training 100% of its new co-plots for an MPL.
“As airlines start to see the benefits of pilots trained for an MPL, we expect the number of airlines seeking an MPL training partner will increase significantly in coming years.
“As that demand takes off, CTC Aviation will be there to provide one of the best MPL programs in the industry, while also opening up career opportunities for our MPL graduates, including New Zealanders,” said Mr Petteford.
Three of CTC Aviation’s airline partners – Monarch Airlines, easyJet and Qatar Airways –put their trainees through the MPL. CTC Aviation is now recruiting trainees, including New Zealanders, for its Qatar Wings MPL program.
Source: Media Release