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Hi all, welcome back. We took a big jump this time, I’ve completed the Ryanair APS/MCC (Airline Pilot Standards / Multi Crew Coordination). Can’t believe I’ve finished the course, what a journey it’s been.

The APS/MCC was a tough course, and a big change from anything I’ve done previously. The course is spread over four weeks, beginning with theory, before moving to 12 simulator sessions. To begin with we have four days of theory where we cover four subjects. Crew Resource Management (CRM) is learning how to best work together using the whole crew onboard. Non Technical Skills (NTS) covers topics such as leadership, communication, personal attitude etc. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) covers the procedures we use onboard the aircraft at various phases of ground and flight operations. And finally the Boeing 737 technical, where we learn all about the systems onboard the aircraft and how they work. All of these have an exam accompanied with them a few days later.

But what we all came for was to fly the commercial jet, and that was the next stage, we got our hands on AFTA’s fixed base Boeing 737 simulator. The first two sessions are ground procedures; that is where we begin from ‘cold and dark’, to a point where we can take off. We’ll get in and we’ll be at a parking stand in Dublin airport, we’ll do everything required to set up, push back, start, taxi, and line up on the runway, at which point we’ll taxi back to stand and shutdown. The goal is to get the aircraft ready to push in 25 minutes, and take off in 35 minutes. You’d be surprised how many things there are to do, but these are all standards we are working towards set by Ryanair. After a few sessions, this time is achievable.

The following ten sessions are flights. The first five are introductory, getting used to everything, and doing lots of manual flying. The second five are route flights, where we fly to the UK in real time, using actual Ryanair flight plans. These are great, they give a real insight into what flying as a commercial airline pilot is really like. The standard is set by Ryanair and the teaching delivered by AFTA puts us in a position where we can achieve that standard to comfortably operate these flights, and tackle a few issues along the route. We began by flying to Stansted, but the pressure really came on during the shorter flights to Liverpool and Manchester. For those flights we might still be in the climb when we begin setting up for the descent. It’s a high workload environment, but I loved every minute of it, this is what I came to AFTA to do. Now that I am finished, I look forward to starting my type rating and learning how to be a Ryanair pilot. It’s all looking so positive at the moment, and I’m thrilled to be in the position that I am. Thanks for following the journey with AFTA. Keep an eye out for updates down the line.