After Ruben and I passed our MCC exam, we officially finished the integrated ATPL course. I moved back to Holland and received my licence. It felt very strange to be back in Holland, I missed Spain a lot. A month later, on 10 December 2013, I was very happy to go back to Madrid for a few days: I was going to receive my pilot wings!
So here we are, at the final course of flight school: The Multi Crew Cooperation (MCC) course! So far, you’ve learned how to fly single and multi engined aircraft, but even though you were often with your instructor, these planes are all single-pilot aircraft, which means that they can be flown by one pilot only.
Big jets such as Airbus and Boeing aircraft require a minimum of two pilots. One that takes care of the flying whilst other one talks on the radio, checks the fuel and aircraft status and fills the flight plan. In case of a system malfunction, the Pilot Not-Flying – PNF (or Pilot Monitoring – PM) tries to solve the issue using the Quick Reference Handbook (QRH) and the Pilot Flying (PF) continues to fly the aircraft.
After my CPL exam, a whole new challenge came up: I was going to fly the Piper Seneca, a slightly bigger airplane with two engines! We did 25 hours on this new type of plane in order to get the Multi Engine Rating.
It was a different type of airplane, so the cockpit was significantly different with regards to the location of the flap handle, the engine start buttons and other avionics (electronic items in the aircraft).
The last two flying exams of the pilot licence are the Multi Engine and the Instrument Rating.
To prepare for the Instrument Rating, you start in the simulator. There, you will learn all the basics of Instrumental flying. You will learn to use VOR (VHF Omnidirectional Range) Radio Beacons to navigate without seeing outside for visual reference.
After my first solo, I continued flying with instructors to learn how to navigate visually (VFR – Visual Flight Rules), to practice engine failures and advanced manoeuvres such as stalls and steep turns. When my knowledge and skills were good enough, I had my Private Pilot Licence (PPL) exam. I flew with an examiner and he let me do a visual navigation, do some simulated engine failures and show him some manoeuvres. I passed the exam and received my very first pilot licence. A very valuable step in my career as a pilot!
After the theory exams and the Private Pilot Licence exam, you will prepare with an instructor for the Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL). With a CPL you are allowed to fly commercially, which means that you are allowed to perform flights for a company and you can earn money working as a pilot. The CPL exam is quite similar to the PPL exam.
Becoming a pilot takes multiple steps. Whether you do a modular or an integrated course, when you will start flying, you will be working on your first licence: Your Private Pilot Licence (PPL). With this licence, you can fly by yourself in a small airplane alone or with family and friends, but not for commercial purposes.
After three months of theory classes, we got the Cessna course. One week of learning all about the Cessna 172, the airplane we were soon going to fly! After the Cessna theory exam, it was time for the simulator sessions. The simulator had all the features of the Cessna cockpit, so we could practice well and simulate flights on ground.
After you have found a suitable flight school, you’ve passed the selections and you’ve found a way to pay for it, you will start the pilot course. If you do the Integrated ATPL (Airline Transport Pilot Licence) course, you will start with the course with ATPL theory classes.
You will have 14 subjects for which you will have to do 14 official exams: