7 genuine reasons why not doing APS MCC is disastrous!

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When I was working through my ATPL exams, there were cases where a large integrated course provider in the UK was placing students who had completed their in house MCC course with a large low-cost UK airline that flies A320s the very same afternoon the cadets had finished their MCC course!

I went on the forums and spoke to as many people as possible to figure out what the ‘magic’ was to allow a self-funded modular pilot like myself to land an airline role. Do I pay the premium to a provider that promises to ‘place you with an airline’?

Do I do the standard 25hr JOC MCC course? Or do I do an ‘enhanced MCC’ as provided by great organisations like Sky4u?  Or do I do APS MCC?

Around the same time Andy O’Shea, former head of training at Ryanair, was working with EASA on a new MCC to address the perennial headache of 50% of all new pilots in possession of a CPL MEIR failing airline assessments.

This brought about the advent of the Airline Pilot Standard Multi Crew Course (APS MCC). In this post, I’ll share why I believe that if you don’t do APS MCC, to be blunt, you are excluding yourself from being considered for Airline roles in Europe (assuming recruitment picks up again).

Reason #1: APS MCC course will force you to sharpen your technical knowledge and put you at an advantage during technical interviews.

I am not just saying this flippantly, but APS MCC pushes you much harder from a theoretical knowledge standpoint with the need to have a sound systems understanding of the aircraft you will be doing the MCC course on compared to a 25hr JOC MCC on a generic aircraft platform.

On my APS MCC course in the UK, we had four days of ground school looking at various aspect – aircraft systems, CRM etc. culminating in an exam before we were able to progress into the sim.

This intensity of study is not dissimilar from a type rating course and although the APS MCC is not meant to be a type rating; I would say my APS MCC training covered roughly 40-50% of what was in my type rating course. 

For those interested, after my APS MCC, to prepare for my airline interviews, I read Ace the Technical Pilot Interview. In conjunction with what I learnt during my APS MCC and the book, I never had any issues with technical interviews. 

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Reason #2: APS MCC de-risks your type rating

Even if you are not conducting a type rating on the same aircraft as you did your APS MCC on, e.g. pilot job flying B737 vs APS MCC A320 course, you still learn a lot during your APS MCC that carries you through the type rating.

I don’t think post-COVID many airlines will offer free type ratings.

Instead, students themselves will have to pay for their type ratings when offered a job, which typically costs around £30,000. This vast financial outlay means that you want to be as prepared as possible for your type rating course and APS MCC will undoubtedly do that. 

Reason #3: You get more flying with APS MCC vs MCC JOC

The normal MCC JOC is 25 hours vs APS MCC, which is 40 hours. Imagine yourself on your PPL course with 25 hours vs yourself on a PPL course with 40 Hours.

With 40 hours, you were probably close to your PPL skills test whereas, with 25 hours, you may have only left the circuit a hand full of times on your own. Now consider the added advantage of the extra sim time when it comes to an airline sim assessment.

You develop more capacity and are more used to the jet aircraft’s speeds, which you will be conducting your sim assessments on having completed an APS MCC Course.

I completed the VA APS MCC, and my three airline sim assessments (with different companies) were all on the B737 – which I had become “comfortable” with during my APS MCC.

A generic non-specific aircraft type sim on some MCC JOC courses, may not, for example, give the “pitch power couple” characteristic found on the normal 737.

Reason #4: APS MCC is regulated (with a test), so the standard of instruction is very high vs MCC JOC (not regulated) and can be taught by anybody including your gran!

During the APS MCC, you are graded on the 8 ICAO competencies after each sim session. These are:

  • Communication
  • Flightpath management (manual)
  • Flightpath management (automatic)
  • Leadership and teamwork
  • Problem-solving and decision making
  • Application of procedures
  • Workload management
  • Situational awareness

You also have a pass/ fail test at the end of your APS MCC course. During my APS MCC, I remember having some quite intense debriefs because I had screwed up something during a given sim session.

This feedback is exactly what you want as a trainee and will help you grow and improve. I did not do an MCC JOC myself, and without wanting to bash other courses, I would be surprised if the level of instruction and debriefs are at the same level of scrutiny as the APS MCC.

Reason #5: The APS MCC goes further into non-normal events

You get to experience V1 cuts, engine failures, total FMC failures and many other items during you APS MCC. This will help you build confidence for your airline assessments (when recruitment hopefully opens up again).

This exposure to non-normals will also give you a MASSIVE head start on your type rating course particularly if the aircraft type is the same as that used during your APS MCC simulator sessions.

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Reason #6: Some airlines now give “preference” to APS MCC candidates during cadet recruitment

Exactly that. Going back to how I started the post by saying that if you don’t do APS MCC, you will be effectively obsoleting yourself from specific roles. Cadet airline recruitment is exceptionally competitive. You don’t want to start the recruitment process on the back foot by having a ‘weaker’ MCC.

Reason #7: APS MCC EASA candidates typically complete their line training with a given airline in 20% fewer sectors than those without APS MCC

In my specific case, I completed my line training with my airline in the minimum number of sectors they allow. Once in the airline environment, you want to get your line check done as soon as you can as your first line check typically signifies a payrise, contract change or has an impact on your basing (depending on your given airline).

A lot has been said in the various forums on whether it makes sense to incur the addition APS MCC cost vs standard JOC MCC.

Once you combine all the APS MCC course advantages: fast track airline assessment (in certain circumstances), de-risked type rating, and shorter time to first-line check once in employment, the APS MCC very quickly pays for itself.

I explained previously in my type rating course post how each airline assessment would set you back around £1,000, and you will typically only have one opportunity at a given airline. What is the cost of then missing out on employment because of a weak MCC course?

Or failing your the type rating because of a weak MCC?

If you want to learn more about modular pilot training, check out my Pilot Training Guide on Amazon.

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Do you have any questions about the APS MCC? Please leave me a comment in the section below. I would love to hear from you!

kcthepilot during APS MCC

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