1. What are the common issues you see during simulator training?
Some of the issues we witness can be found above, but other notable issues can stem from an over-eagerness to impress. Students that are keen to excel in the simulator can sometimes try to point score against their peers, or fail to listen, and therefore fail to comprehend essential teaching points. These behaviours do not reflect well on the candidate and will be picked up by a pilot recruiter during a simulator or group assessment.
The point is, it’s a learning process - we all start from a different place. It’s a personal journey, so our job as Instructors is to identify where to start, and then build. However, it’s a two-way street that requires a level of maturity from trainees and, at times a thick skin. Pushing back, because you struggle with direct critique, not taking steps to change, or not speaking up when you don’t understand are all barriers that prevent progress – and yes, we do see it.
From a flying competency perspective, weak areas tend to be asymmetric flight or co-ordination during crosswind landings – we develop these skills during training, but the stronger the starting point, the more progress we can make.
Understandably, the decision-making element of our job can take time to develop – especially when a person’s experience is limited. The more experience we have, the more value we can add to our decisions. In the early stages of a pilot’s development, it’s more about providing a decision-making framework than the detailed decision-making itself.
One additional pitfall that new pilots need to be aware of is the role of social media in our profession. Social media has its benefits in terms of networking etc., but it also has some pitfalls and pilots should be very conscious of their digital footprint. Simply liking or sharing a post on social media that could be considered divisive, or sensitive, could render a pilot unemployable. Imagine investing so much time and money into a process and falling at the final hurdle because that level of emotional intelligence or maturity was missing — food for thought.
It’s also worth mentioning that we’ve witnessed an increase in individuals keen to ‘show’ themselves as pilots before they’re qualified as pilots – perhaps highlighting another negative behavioural trait typically frowned upon at this end of the industry.
This level of egotism is a genuine risk to the flight deck – as the focus is clearly on the wrong thing. If newly qualified pilots are serious about the profession and want to be accepted as a credible airline pilot, then there’s only one true way to achieve credibility – that is to work hard, to be professional, to achieve the highest possible standard, and to always strive to improve. Real validation comes with being a true professional.”
2. What preparation can be done before starting MCC/JOC or APS training?
We always send out a full welcome pack with the pre-course study material in advance of the course start date. The volume and complexity of the information provided can be overwhelming for some, but it’s essential to try to absorb the material, particularly the flight profiles and some basic pitch/power settings. Familiarising yourself with the course material will put you in the best position to hit the ground running. It’s an intensive course, so the more preparation you can do the better.
The course will also test your capacity and seek to develop your scan – so maybe consider some mental applications that develop capacity and scan rate.
3. What feedback have you had since launching your APS course?
We have had exceptional feedback so far, with some incredible successes for our pilots. It is essential for new pilots to understand that they own their accomplishments and failures throughout this process. Too much emphasis is put on the training organisation and their ‘arrangements’ with airlines. The truth is, a licence does not secure a job. The individual, if they possess and demonstrate all the right competencies and behaviours when under assessment, will secure their own destiny. Our graduates have secured jobs on their own merit – because they’re good at what they do, and because they’ve listened and learned throughout the process.
4. Why is the FTA partnership important to you?
Our partnership with FTA is extremely important to us because both organisations subscribe to the same training ethos – which makes the transition from one organisation to the other, seamless.
Clearly, there’s a strategic element to our partnership where both parties enjoy the benefits of each other’s organisation, but it’s a very natural and friendly partnership that works incredibly well.
We very much see it as a long-term relationship where we’ll work together to ensure the most integrated and seamless training process possible – designed to get the best out of our trainees so that they can achieve their career goals.