First Officer Victoria Auld of Flybe has become the first pilot in UK to be presented with a Multi-crew Pilot Licence.
Holding the first UK MPL
On 12 November 2010, the Civil Aviation Authority's Head of Approved Training Organisations, Licencing and Training Roy Burden delivered the first six UK Multi-Crew Pilot Licences to Flybe for presentation to newly graduated Bombardier Q400 First Officers.
MPLs are light blue. There's no particular significance in that, but for the record CPLs are dark blue. When Victoria has 1,500h in her log book she will get an ATPL (dark green), just as she would have done if she had qualified as an airline pilot by the traditional CPL route.
Following Victoria - the first presentee by virtue of alphabetical order - her five fellow graduate First Officers received their light blue licences
Unlike CPLs, before these student pilots qualified for their MPL all six had to complete not only an approved flying training course and the associated academic work, they also had to carry out their type rating training on the Q400, then perform their base training.
The flying training consisted of 14 months with Flight Training Europe, which they completed in August. After that they joined Flybe for 17 days groundschool followed by type rating training in a Flybe Q400 full flight simulator, and carried out base training at Exeter airport.
On Monday the new First Officers will be working in the right hand seat of a Q400 on scheduled passenger service, and undergoing their line acceptance checks.
But back to the ceremony.
It wasn't only the student pilots who earned recognition. Bob Pooley, founder and managing director of Pooley's Flight Equipment, presented Peter Sadler, managing director of FTE, with a Pooley Sword of Merit to recognise the FTO's work.
Peter Sadler (L) receives the Pooley Sword of Merit from Bob Pooley (Flybe's Chief Pilot Ian Baston in the background)
Sadler didn't keep the Sword very long. He presented it to this course's Best Student, Claire Jones
Sadler presents the Sword of Merit to First Officer Claire Jones
So that's it. A little piece of aviation history performed in Flybe's New Walker Hangar at its Exeter airport headquarters.
And this is just the beginning: There are already six more Flybe MPLs in the pipeline undergoing training at Oxford Aviation Academy's Kidlington base.