A Multi-Crew Pilot License (MPL) is an airline-specific alternative to the Airline Pilot Transport License (ATPL), which is the more traditional cadet route. The license was introduced by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in 2006.
Obtaining the license will allow you to work as a co-pilot in an aircraft that is required to be operated with a co-pilot for a commercial airline.
It is airline-specific because it is carried out with a cooperating airline and is specially designed to the requirements and needs of that airline by integrating the specific airline’s procedures from the very beginning of the training.
The MPL is a relatively new training program and is not as well-known as the more traditional courses.
MPL standards are still quite similar to other traditional licenses like the ATPL in terms of the requirements for age, medical fitness, skills, knowledge and experience. However, there are a few important differences.
The license takes less time than a traditional license to obtain. For example, you could work your way up to the F.O. (Flight Officer) of an airline in around a year and a half.
It’s also a more secure route. If you are offered a place on an airline’s MPL course, you will receive a conditional offer of employment before you even begin your training. So, an MPL student can feel confident that, subject to them achieving their license, they will have secured their future job.
The only possible downside is that your training will be for a specific airline and aircraft, so you must properly consider that airline and aircraft you wish to work with.
How do I get my MPL License?
To achieve your MPL (Multi-Crew Pilot License), you must first check if you are eligible for one. You must be at least 18 years of age, and you will have to complete a training program on theoretical knowledge and flight instruction at an approved training organization.
You must also hold a valid English Language Proficiency as well as a valid Part MED Medical certificate that is held on the database.
You will then need to pass your exams to demonstrate that you have the same amount of theoretical knowledge as someone with an ATPL (Airline Pilot Transport License), and of a multi-pilot rating.
Applicants will also complete assessments throughout their training to show that they have the requisite skills to complete the MPL training as both the pilot who will be flying the aircraft and the monitoring pilot. All of which training will be carried out in a multi-engine turbine powered multi-pilot airplane and under VFR (visual flight rules) and IFR (instrument flight rules).
The majority of the training will be simulation intensive and there will be less in-flight training compared to traditional ATPL.
Once you have completed your course, you will then have to complete a further skills test in order to prove you can perform certain maneuvers and procedures at the sufficient level. This test will take place using the same aircraft that you used during the MPL course.
Alternatively it could also take place in a full flight simulator that represents the same type of aircraft. After this, the next step will be to complete the required base training.
The training program makes use of simulators and will focus on competency-based training. It also applies human factors and threat and error management throughout the program.
On top of this, in order to achieve your MPL you need to pass extensive multi-crew human factors training, including crew resource management and error management assessments
Additionally, in order to progress within the program, you must be able to prove your competency in communication, knowledge, leadership and teamwork.
What does a Multi-Crew Pilot do?
Upon completion of the MPL training course, a Multi-Crew Pilot will be trained to the necessary level at which they can operate as co-pilot in a multi-engine, multi-pilot, turbine-powered commercial aircraft, under VFR (visual flight rules) and IFR (instrument flight rules). As a result, the role of a Multi-Crew Pilot is seen as an entry-level position.
It is common for using an MPL as a stepping stone to higher pilot training because there is little room for progression within the role and so the earning potential is limited. However, you could quickly progress to F.O. in just 18 months.
Multi-Crew Pilot’s will also only work for one specific airline and in one specific aircraft. This is because they will receive their training via a particular airline using a particular aircraft. What’s great about going the Multi-Crew Pilot route is that an offer to undertake the course also secures you a conditional offer of employment.
Provided they complete additional training to meet the requirements of these licenses, the holder of an MPL will also get added privileges including the privileges of a CPL (commercial pilot license), a single pilot IR (instrument rating) or the PPL (private pilots license).
What is the MPL course?
The MPL course makes use of simulators and adopts competency-based training methods. It also applies human factors as well as threat and error management in all phases of training program.
While traditional training courses that require hours logged to be able to progress, the MPL course the applicant must develop certain competencies in order to progress.
The competencies include leadership and teamwork, communication, knowledge, and more.
Moreover, the MPL course focuses more on intense multi-crew human factors training. This can include but is not limited to crew resource management and threat and error managements.
Overall, the MPL is considered as a simulation-heavy program and, compared to more traditional pathways, it uses less in-flight training.
The course is designed to be an airline-specific alternative to the more traditional pilot licenses such as the Airline Pilot Transport License (ATPL), which is the more traditional cadet route.
Obtaining the Multi-Crew Pilot License will allow you to work as a co-pilot in an aircraft that is required to be operated with a co-pilot for a commercial airline.