Changes on the flight deck
CTC Aviation’s Diamond DA42 Twin Stars are currently all-white pending a corporate revamp.
n line with major changes to international flight crew requirements and certification, Hamilton-based CTC Aviation is adapting its cadet scheme to its parent UK-based group. Currently all UK cadets start their ab initio training in New Zealand, but from this month much of that will be done in a new facility in Phoenix, Arizona.
However, "New Zealand will remain the base for the region and a fair chunk of European airlines," says Anthony Petteford, group director of strategic projects. "We have 50 airline programmes across the group."
Partner airlines for the New Zealand operation include Qatar Airways, British Airways and Jetstar Asia, and CTC is starting a new diploma course for New Zealanders. The course, culminating in a CPL, MEIR and instructor’s rating, will be funded through a combination of contributions from each cadet plus a greater amount — bonded — from CTC.
But the biggest change will be the new multi-crew pilot’s licence (MPL), which has been the subject of study since the mid-1990s and, ratified by ICAO in December 2006, is currently the qualification of some 3000 pilots worldwide, with 11 MPL providers. Means of cramming the MPL into the familiar ICAO PPL/CPL/ATPL formula are still being worked on.
Instead of working up through the familiar intermediate licences and ratings, the MPL involves four stages. First is theoretical and core skills, done in teams for some 70–100hr. The second stage, to 180hr or so, is done in a type simulator before moving on to the third stage in a full flight simulator. Phase four is a type rating in a full flight simulator plus aircraft base training with a minimum of 12 satisfactory landings.
The MPL shell is airline and type specific. "There are no minima," says Anthony, "but we look for markers of competence."
By the end of this year CTC will have five MPL courses running. Three are currently putting cadets through for Qatar Airways and will be followed by easyJet and Monarch.
"Perhaps half the airline intakes will be MPL. The MPL is a complete qualification, including ATPL subjects, and will be held until the pilot has the experience to qualify for an ATPL and the first opportunity for a left-hand seat. There’s no PPL, CPL or MEIR. Airlines are now starting to get the message."
By mid-April CTC will have an all-glass cockpit C172 fleet. The flight school operates some 40,000hr/yr with 70 instructors and some 30 support staff looking after nearly 200 cadets with the capacity to expand to 300. Overseas cadets are encouraged to reside at the school’s Clearways residential facility, a few kilometres from base, although New Zealanders tend to go flatting locally.
As well as a rebranding and corporate colour change coming up, CTC’s other major change takes place on 1 May when the new managing director steps in. His face is familiar to many in the New Zealand aviation industry as AVM Peter Stockwell, until now Chief of Air Force. Part of his retirement plan from the RNZAF has been a structured three-month transition into civilian life, during which time he has been dividing his energies between Hamilton and Wellington.
-Report and photograph by John King.
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