The MCC at CRM Aviation
Keen not to approach the parents for yet another loan to complete yet more flight training, I decided to work and save hard to pay for the MCC (multi-crew co-operation course) at CRM Aviation Europe Ltd. Once based at Cranfield, this simulator-based training provider now boasts a fantastic training facilitity at White Waltham airfield (EGLM) near Maidenhead, Berkshire.
At £1,795 (including VAT), the 8-day course offered exceptional value for money and CRM were able to undercut a number of their competitors significantly. Not only that, but the quality of instruction was also excellent, and the handful of instructors that we met all had stories to share about their own experiences in the military, and, of course, in the airlines.
The courses at CRM start at 8.00am every other Wednesday, with new students meeting in the West London Aero Club bar/café for a coffee and a bacon sandwich. After 30 minutes or so of chatting and getting to know one another, students head off to the hangar that CRM call home, and get started with the three days of ground school. Wednesday and Thursday are both full days in the classroom, with a slightly shorter day on the Friday, allowing for some time in the simulator for familiarisation, ready for the week of simulator sessions.
The purpose of the course is to teach you to work effectively as part of a team and a lot of time is spent watching documentaries about accidents from the past, including the Pan Am and KLM 747 disaster in Tenerife in 1977 and the more recent US Airways A320 Hudson ditching. Following these videos, we would discuss – often at length – the mistakes made by the flight crew and how situations could have been handled differently in order to prevent injury, or worse, loss of life.
Moving through the few days of ground school, we also went on to discuss departure and approach briefings, along with how to read through a check-list together, amongst other things.
The second week of the course was spent in the Cessna Citation II simulator, which, despite not being a motion simulator, still felt very real. Each day would require each pair of students to fly a different route. One student would be the PF (pilot flying) and the other would be (PNF) and the roles would be switched after approximately two hours. At the end of your slot, you would either fly that exact same route or the return leg of the trip e.g. on the final day, one pilot flew Gatwick to Amsterdam, whilst the other flew Amsterdam to Gatwick.
Every flight was different though, and never was any flight uneventful! Problems included weather conditions below minima, incapacitated pilots, various engine and system failures, cabin depressurisation and more. In every situation, the students would have to deal with every problem, ensuring that not only was the aircraft kept under control, but air traffic control were kept informed as well.
At the end of the five days, students have their log books signed off and are presented with a course completion certificate.
This is a training provider I would highly recommend. Whilst it is often the case that cheaper providers might not offer such great service or instruction, this is certainly not the case at CRM Aviation. The facilities are second-to-none, the staff are all very friendly and experienced, and the simulator is pretty impressive, too.