The ECA shoots down the MPL

The European Cockpit Association has issued a judgement on the Multi-Crew Pilot License (MPL) that is condemnatory in almost every respect.

I have almost always agreed with the ECA’s judgement on operational matters, but on this I think they are just plain wrong in almost everything they say.

I haven’t got time right now to disassemble every point the ECA makes because there are so many blatant inaccuracies in what they allege that it would take forever, but believe me I will get around to it.

Suffice to say for the moment that I have heard all their objections before, and they have the familiar ring of ignorance and prejudice. This is a judgement made by pilots who were trained in a traditional way, and they have decided that is the only way it could be done.

The results of the MPL as the ECA describes them –  if they were even true – would be the results of an extremely badly formulated MPL course. They have not considered that the results of a badly run CPL course would be equally disastrous.

The real giveaway is their assertion that the MPL is intended to make training cheaper. If they had done their homework they would find it isn’t. Because it’s a continual-assessment performance-based system no-one completes the course without meeting all the defined performance standards along the way. It has been found that very few students (possibly none) complete the course within the minimum hours. They have to go on until they can deliver the specified performance, or until they realise they won’t make it.

Both types of pilot licence – CPL and MPL, have their place preparing pilots for the airlines.

The CPL course produces a solo operator who has to be retrained to be an effective airline crew member, then has to learn on the job and finally be prepared for captaincy.

The MPL delivers a ready-made expert copilot who then has to learn on the job and finally be prepared for captaincy.

By the time they both reach 1,500h they’ll be indistiguishable, except for personality traits and learning capacity, and in both cases their ATPL will be unfrozen. After that, the route by which they arrived becomes immaterial.

If your first job is likely to be flying a single-pilot private King Air or a FedEx Caravan, you need a CPL. If you’re aiming for the right hand seat of an airliner from the start, MPL is best providing have an airline partner. If you don’t have an airline partner, you have no choice: it’s CPL for you.


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