Airline pilot training free of charge?
Well, not quite. But something promising has emerged on the pilot training market just as the world’s airlines are beginning to slip the surly bonds of earth once more.
The newly created Airline Pilot Club (APC) offers free registration, and a whole range of advice, guidance, professional aptitude assessment, airline pilot standard e-learning course and tech webinars, for all of which there is no charge.
To access this, all that aspiring pilots have to do is join the club.
APC is a kind of marketplace which brings together selected Approved Training Organisations (ATO), airlines and other operators, and aspiring pilots. As at all marketplaces, they are there to eye each-other up.
The downside? There isn’t an obvious one.
But free flying training? Now you’re getting greedy!
No, it doesn’t offer that, but by the time aspiring APC pilots reach the airborne stage of their preparation they will know their own potential, and be as well prepared as they can be to enter an approved training course from which they will almost certainly graduate.
APC doesn’t provide the flying training, but it vets its short-listed ATOs according to a set of strict criteria.
As for financing, next year the Club expects to launch its pilot training funding system. This is designed to enable students who pass their professional aptitude assessment to get financing without having to rely on the bank of mum and dad, which will democratize access to flight training, thus benefiting the entire industry.
The guy who came up with the APC idea is well-known in European pilot training and recruitment circles: Captain Andy O’Shea. He was head of training at Ryanair for 18 years and chairman of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Aircrew Training Policy Group (ATPG). You can learn more about him and the training innovations he pioneered at the ATPG here.
It was O’Shea who shocked the airline and training establishment by revealing a few years ago that more than 50% of fully licensed pilots applying for Ryanair jobs consistently failed flying tests in a simulator session for which they had been given plenty of time to prepare. Other airlines then admitted their experience had been similar.
Not many people know this, but there are about 7,000 fully licensed pilots in Europe who have never been able to get a job. Not because they were casualties of the recent pandemic – this phenomenon pre-dates that. They were simply trained to license minima, and passed. It was like someone passing their driving test and looking for a job in Formula One.
So when O’Shea, having introduced several highly innovative recurrent training systems at Ryanair, finally left the carrier, he wanted to set up a system that introduced aptitude-tested, motivated, technically prepared wannabe pilots to ATOs that would then put them through a training programme that prepares them to do more than scrape through their license.
This is the course that would see them pass the acceptance check-ride at his old airline.
There’s more, but you’ll find it at the link I provided earlier, and at APC.