Alteon says it has learned invaluable lessons from its multi-crew pilot licence (MPL) beta test and plans to share its experience with the industry at conferences worldwide early next year.

Six cadet pilots from China Eastern Airlines and Xiamen Airlines graduated from Alteon's MPL beta test course in Australia in mid-November. The students started English language training at Brisbane's Griffith University and MPL core phase training at Archerfield Airport-based Airline Academy of Australia (AAA) in early 2007 and 20-months later graduated with an MPL after passing the Civil Aviation Safety Authority's (CASA) Boeing 737NG type rating check.

Based on International Civil Aviation Organisation and CASA guidelines, Alteon focused its curriculum from the start on training the cadets as a crew. "These cadets went through a rigorous training programme, including crew resource management [CRM] and threat and error management [TEM] from the very early stages and throughout the training programme. This included the full integration of advanced courseware, high-fidelity simulation at the early stages of training and adherence to high standards," says Roei Ganzarski, Alteon chief customer officer.

Alteon says some of the lessons learned from the trial include that solo flight-training should be conducted at the beginning of the course as it builds confidence in the pilots from the start.

Alteon initially thought that multi-crew co-ordination (MCC) CRM/TEM might be too much for new ab initio students to learn but found that it is preferable to establish CRM and TEM early in training, with cadets responding positively to the new demanding environment. Alteon also found the Diamond DA40 flight training device and desktop trainer are effective tools to teach MCC procedures, describing Diamond Aircraft as a "one-stop shop" for the MPL with its single- and multi-engine aircraft and simulators.

Alteon found that more flight training hours were required than planned as the cadets had no prior experience in operating motorised vehicles of any kind and more instructor training was required than originally thought. The seven aeronautical subjects in the MPL course - aerodynamics, navigation, meteorology, aircraft general systems, aircraft performance and flight planning, human factors and air law - provide adequate academic content, says Alteon.

Ganzarski says that the MPL beta test has proved that "given the right environment, skill sets and equipment, it is possible to produce competent and qualified first officers who are already familiar with airline standards and procedures upon graduation."

The graduates left Australia last week to complete base training with their airlines and meet Civil Aviation Administration of China requirements.

Source: Flight International