What is an MCC course?
An MCC course is a Multi Crew Co-ordination course (usually completed in a simulator) designed to help pilots transition from single pilot to multi-pilot operations.
Throughout the flight training process (to achieve the commercial pilot’s licence), a student will fly single-pilot operations. This means that they do not get receive any guidance and/or assistance from instructors to fly the aircraft. As you transition to the airlines/corporate world, the aircrafts flown often require multi-pilot operations. For this reason, this course is embedded as a requirement to teach pilots to; share responsibilities with other crew members; learn and understand their roles as both pilots flying and pilot monitoring. However, it is important to emphasise that the prime focus of this course is not the flying skills in a multi-crew environment. The aim is to enable pilots to work with others in the cockpit to achieve a safe flying environment. It is about working together to optimise situational awareness, decision-making skills, and handling of emergencies.
Before explaining the differences between both, it is worth mentioning that I initially decided to complete the MCC/JOC course upon completing my flight training. However, in later months, I was presented with the opportunity (as a former student) to step in as a supernumerary for an APS MCC course. Therefore, I ended up completing both courses and I’m here to tell you about the differences between both!
Why are there two types of MCC courses and what are the differences?
Course option 1: MCC/JOC (Multi Crew Co-ordination, Jet Orientation)
An MCC/JOC is a 28-hour course that is completed on two simulators. The MCC portion is 20 hours and is completed on the XJ simulator, a generic commercial aircraft used to train students for jet transition in a multi-crew jet cockpit environment. The JOC portion is 8 hours, and it is completed in the 737-800 simulator. This simulator is a full replica of the Boeing 737-800, and it features a simulated FMS, full autopilot, auto-throttle, and full aircraft systems (electrics, pneumatics, and hydraulics).
MCC SIM DETAIL 1 – Aircraft familiarisation, General handling, Stall recovery, Practicing SOP callouts & Briefing familiarisations.
MCC SIM DETAIL 2 – Rejected take-offs, EGPWS, and TCAS warnings.
MCC SIM DETAIL 3 – One Engine Inoperative handling, Abnormal checklists familiarisation, TDODAR, and NITS briefings.
MCC SIM DETAIL 4 – Emergency descent, Crosswind take-offs & landings, Windshear recovery, Circle-to-land procedures.
MCC SIM DETAIL 5 – LOFT exercise (Line orientated flight training), smoke in the cockpit & removal procedures, and pilot incapacitation.
MCC SIM DETAIL 6/ JOC 1 – 737 familiarisation & handling and use of FMS.
MCC SIM DETAIL 7/ JOC 2 – 737 familiarisation & handling and use of FMS.
Advantages of the MCC/JOC
Less costly – The MCC/JOC is considerably more cost-effective compared to the APS MCC. This is a more financially feasible way to get the MCC certification without having to spend additional costs since the APS is not necessarily a requirement.
Two different simulators – You are given the opportunity to use two different simulators during the course. The MCC portion is completed in the XJ sim, and the JOC portion is completed in the 737-800 sim. This is advantageous as it gives you the opportunity to practice handling differences in two different simulators.
Shorter course – The ground school and simulator sessions are covered in a total of 10 days. This may be more convenient to those who are time-restricted due to work or other commitments.
No assessments involved – For those who find testing environments/ assessments a bit daunting, the MCC may be more suitable since there are no theory or final assessments involved.
Disadvantages of the MCC/JOC
Job prospects – Although the MCC/JOC is more than sufficient to enable cadets to apply for jobs in the airlines, some airlines may give preference to those who have completed an APS MCC course. This is because cadets who finish the APS MCC are deemed as ‘airline ready’ since they have satisfied the criteria upon completion of the course. However, it’s not to say that those who complete the MCC/JOC will not be considered, but there are some airlines which prefer cadets with an APS MCC qualification.
Simulator assessment – Generally, those who complete the APS MCC course have a lower failure rate of airline simulator assessments when compared to those who completed the MCC/JOC. This is because the APS MCC challenges cadets to a higher standard and familiarises them with possible simulator assessment scenarios.
Less simulator time – The MCC/JOC is 12 hours shorter than the APS MCC.
Course Option 2: APS MCC (Airline Pilot Standard, Multi-Crew Co-ordination)
The APS/MCC course is a 40-hour course that is all completed on the 737-800 simulator, featuring a simulated FMS, full autopilot, auto-throttle, and full aircraft systems (electrics, pneumatics, and hydraulics).
The APS MCC course is a more advanced, thorough version of the regular MCC/JOC course. It was introduced when airlines requested training providers to better prepare cadets for multi-crew cockpit environments. To ensure that cadets improve their crew resource management skills, the course is 12 hours longer than a typical MCC course and it includes a final assessment on the last session to ensure that the cadets satisfy the Airline Pilot Standard criteria. Upon successful completion of the APS MCC course, you will receive an APS MCC certification. If you are unsuccessful, you will receive a regular MCC/JOC certificate.
APS MCC syllabus:
APS SIM DETAIL 1 – Aircraft familiarisation, General handling, Stall recovery, Practicing SOP callouts & Briefing familiarisations, stabilised & high energy approaches.
APS SIM DETAIL 2 – Rejected take-offs, EGPWS, precision & non-precision approaches, evacuation procedures, CDFA, MEL Checklists.
APS SIM DETAIL 3 – F/D handling, pilot incapacitation recognition and procedures, Crosswind take-offs & landings, Windshear recovery, TCAS warnings, Evacuation procedures and NITS briefings, work, and crew resource management.
APS SIM DETAIL 4 – One Engine Inoperative handling, Abnormal checklists familiarisation, NITS briefings, workload management/task sharing, Use of problem analysis/solving techniques, TDODAR.
APS SIM DETAIL 5 (Progress check) – LOFT exercise (Line orientated flight training), smoke in the cockpit & removal procedures, minor engine faults, engine start malfunctioning/Use of QRH, MEL Checklists, descent planning and monitoring, Diversion planning accounting for weather and fuel.
APS SIM DETAIL 6 – Expanded use of automation, emergency turn procedures, depressurisation/emergency descent procedure, and Use of oxygen masks.
APS SIM DETAIL 7 – LOFT exercise (Line orientated flight training), Circle-to-land procedures, Minor in-flight fault, Use of QRH / Landing distance tables, TDODAR, and threat and error management (TEM).
APS SIM DETAIL 8 – LOFT exercise (Line orientated flight training), complicated fault and failure management, electrical malfunction, diversion planning, Upset recovery prevention training (UPRT), Use of QRH, TDODAR, and threat and error management (TEM).
APS SIM DETAIL 9 – LOFT exercise (Line orientated flight training), complicated hydraulic fault, failure management, Use of QRH, TDODAR, and threat and error management (TEM).
APS SIM DETAIL 10 (LOE) – Line Orientated Evaluation assessment. This is a flight where the pilots may encounter technical and non-technical issues. Both pilots will be assessed on their situational awareness, decision-making skills, and failure management.
Advantages of the APS/MCC
More consolidation – the APS MCC syllabus is structured so that each lesson is building block from the last. There is usually time either during or at the end of each session to consolidate the learning objectives from the previous session(s).
Extra sim hours – since the APS MCC is a longer course, you get an additional 12 hours of sim time, in comparison to the MCC/JOC which will be advantageous to your logbook as well as gaining additional experience.
Advantageous for an airline sim assessment – Most airlines will use a 737-800 simulator for sim portion of their assessment process. Since the APS MCC is all completed in the 737-800, this will be advantageous to a candidate who has previously completed 40 hours in the same type of simulator.
More LOFT flights – Since the APS MCC is longer, it gives you more opportunities to complete LOFT style flights with minor/major failures. This betters your situational awareness, decision-making and failure management skills.
Disadvantages of the APS/MCC
Costly – The APS MCC is a considerably more expensive course compared to the MCC/JOC. This is an important factor to consider as you may not wish to spend additional money if the APS MCC is not necessarily a requirement from airlines.
More challenging – The APS MCC is more challenging compared to the MCC/JOC so if you feel that this may be too much for you, you may wish to consider the MCC/JOC. Although this course is not a type rating, you are graded to satisfy a particular criterion.
Longer course – The APS MCC is a 16-day course, whereas the MCC/JOC is 10 days. This is something to consider when deciding between both as you may be time restricted.
Assessments – There is a theory examination and a final assessment which is completed at the end of the course. If you feel like this may be too challenging or prefer to avoid test environments, you may wish to consider the MCC/JOC which does not include any assessments.
My personal experience:
Although the APS MCC was significantly more challenging than the MCC/JOC, I thoroughly enjoyed it and I felt like it was a good opportunity to push myself to my limits. Since the MCC (whichever course you choose) is the final step before applying for jobs, I think it is important to challenge yourself as much as possible to ensure that you are ready for airline simulator assessments – this course does just that. The extensive syllabus gives cadets multiple opportunities throughout the course to improve their flying, situational awareness, failure management and decision-making skills. These are all competencies that any pilot is assessed on during an interview. Therefore, I think it’s important to have as much practice as possible and expose yourself to (mildly) testing environments when you get the opportunity. Since the APS MCC is graded, you are given extensive feedback and guidance throughout the course and there is also time to consolidate, revise and retry certain elements that you may have found challenging. It is important to reiterate that the APS MCC is not a type rating, but it is structured similarly to a type rating course to ensure that students fulfil the criteria as ‘airline ready’.
Whether you decide to choose the APS MCC or the MCC/JOC, it is important to understand that these courses are designed to show pilots how important it is to work with one another to achieve the goal of creating a safe flying environment. So regardless of which course you choose, you will successfully achieve this objective.