So for the last two weeks, I have been on my MCC/JOC at CRM Aviation Europe down at White Waltham airfield.
I must admit I have very much enjoyed the course, even more so as I have been waiting so long for it.
The instructors are a mixture of British Midland, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic guys and all are very experienced. The simulator is a generic sim that is loosely based on a Citation Jet with some Airbus systems. With all the talk on what sim you need, I found this sim perfect for the MCC element.
The JOC is designed to bridge the gap between flying the multi-engine pistons we are used to and the jets that we will be flying.
The course started with a half a day in the classroom with our instructor (a former 757 / 767 captain) going through the differences between the two types of aircraft (MEP and Jet).
We then we in the sim and it was mainly to get a hold of the handling and performance differences between the two. So we did things like climbing and descending, turns, steep turns, high-speed descents etc.
I must say I am a bit disappointed with this element of the course. Speaking to other people who did the course elsewhere, they covered airline profiles which really assisted them when they finally got an interview. I feel covering the profiles in more depth would have been a huge advantage to me going forward.
So the MCC theory was led by a former British Midland / British Airways captain, type rating instructor, line training captain. Firstly, the level of experience of our instructor really helped to bring the first week to life.
The first week was all about the human factor side of things and we spent a lot of time looking at accidents and then discussing what had happened.
There was a lot of looking at videos and sitting around the table and discussing what we think happened and working out the issues that lead to accidents. There is rarely one single course of an accident (Swiss cheese model).
I was going to list full detail of every sim through the week but then I thought that I would actually be taking something from anyone who then wanted to enroll on the course. For this reason, I will just give an overview.
What I will say is that each day is scenario based and that you will be pushed and challenged more and more as the week goes on. You will face things such as emergencies, weather issues, company requests etc.
They are designed to get you thinking and to challenge you. The goal is to keep making smart decisions in the face of increasing challenges and pressure. On top of this, it is to get you thinking ahead. Staying in front of the aircraft is essential.
Dodar and Nits are two terms you will become very familiar with during this week.
It is actually quite impressive how much you learn in a week and the learning curve is steep. The MCC is a serious course and you need to be prepared to work hard.
I did not know what exactly to expect coming on to this course. There were the options of fancy courses on everything from a B737 to even a B747!
The level of experience at CRM Aviation Europe which on the whole is made up of ex British Midland guys is through the roof. Everyone is a captain and many have held various training positions.
For the simulator week, I had a current Virgin 787 Dreamliner Captain. You honestly cannot put the price on having someone with this level of experience training you.
I honestly don’t see what these more expensive courses could have provided me. I am more than satisfied with the course at CRM. If I had one thing that I think could be improved, it would be the JOC. I feel this could cover an airline profile in more detail with an emphasis on what will be asked of you.
The simulator is the perfect platform and while maybe not as fancy or “pretty” as some of the others, the course is about the CRM skills you gain. Also, you can use the money saved to go in a type-specific sim before any assessment and still have a lot of change.