A bit of history
The aviation industry has recognized over the past few years that candidates, holding a CPL, frozen ATPL and MCC (multi-crew course) certificate, who were presenting themselves for an airline interview, more often than ever, failed the selection procedures. One of the causes is that MCC training is subject to little regulations as to how it is to be conducted and that the regular MCC has no formal evaluation. This has opened the door for budget-solution MCC training, organized on simple, generic simulators representing small turboprop aircraft.

The training industry itself had already recognized before that a standalone MCC training did not prepare candidates enough for a simulator screening at a large airline. To compensate for this, many MCC training providers offer an extra module, called the “JOC” (jet orientation course), focusing primarily on learning how to handle a medium-sized jet (often Boeing 737 or Airbus A320). The JOC course is not an EASA recognized training and the quality varies from flight school to flight school.

EASA’s answer: APS MCC
EASA, in cooperation with the aviation industry, came up with an answer in the form of the “APS-MCC” (Airline pilot standards MCC). The aim is to: “equip a pilot with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes required to commence initial type rating training to the standards generally required by a commercial air transport operator”.

The APS-MCC training must be conducted on a jet simulator, closely representing an existing swept wing medium-sized jet. The training must represent realistic scenarios in an “airline setting”. The students receive a longer ground school where they delve deeper into the structure of an airline and its manual structures. Next to that, there are more training hours foreseen and the trainees must pass a formal evaluation session at the end.

This way EASA has created a regulatory framework replacing the MCC+JOC solution. In that sense, the APS MCC ensures a certain quality benchmark that is audited by civil aviation authorities.

Does the regular MCC disappear then?
No. The regular MCC still exists. For the moment, many airlines still accept a normal MCC certificate for ab initio pilots, but the industry is recognizing more and more the value of people holding an APS-MCC certificate. The regular MCC can serve as a budget solution for pilots aspiring a career in general aviation on multi-pilot turboprops for example, where complex swept wing jet flying skills are not required.

A breakdown of the differences:

APS MCCMCC
32H classroom training25H classroom training
40H simulator training20H simulator training
Assessment requiredNo assessment required

Now, what to choose?
Student-pilots aspiring a career as an airline pilot should strongly consider doing a full APS-MCC course. It is not only becoming a requirement for many airlines; it also significantly increases the chances of passing airline selection processes. Students looking for a budget-solution or aspiring a job in a smaller organization, operating smaller multi-pilot turboprop aircraft could elect a regular MCC.

When choosing between APS-MCC and MCC+JOC, there should be no doubt: the APS-MCC is regulated and approved by the civil aviation authorities. The APS-MCC ensures a minimum quality whereas the JOC-part of a combination MCC+JOC is not monitored and quality of the training can highly vary.

What to look out for when selecting an APS-MCC training provider
When selecting a training provider, look beyond the price of the training itself. Look at the duration of the course, the training device used (even for APS-MCC training, some flight schools use lower quality generic-type simulators: steer clear of those) and the price of accommodation and transport.

LVL320.com offers APS-MCC training on a brand-new, highly realistic Airbus A320 Static simulator (certified FNTPII APS-MCC). Next to that LVL320 has a competitive deal for accommodation and free shuttle transfer service to and from the campus in Antwerp, Belgium. The campus of LVL320 features all the amenities such as free coffee and tea, study and relax rooms, mockup rooms etc. Contact info@lvl320.com for more info.

Pieter Brantegem
Boeing 747 pilot
CRM and MCC instructor