Australia Testing New Certification Track For Airline Pilots

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There's nothing new about ab initio training programs that start flight students off from zero time with the goal of an airline job. But ICAO, the International Civil Aviation Organization, is now developing that track into a completely separate certification path, with a drastic cut in the required flight time to get to the right seat in a passenger jet. Alteon Training, a Boeing subsidiary, announced this week that it's launching a "beta test" of a training program for the ICAO Multi-Crew Pilot License in Brisbane, Australia. "The world's airlines will need more than 17,000 pilots each year for the next 20 years to fill the seats of the airplanes on order," said Marsha Bell, a spokeswoman for Alteon. "The world needs a better training solution for those pilots." The proposed new track has been in the works for several years, and has attracted some concern from the aviation community. The MPL would require just 240 hours of total time, with 70 hours of that in an actual aircraft, and only 10 hours solo. Current rules require at least 1,500 hours total time. Alteon says its competency-based training program prepares pilots effectively and efficiently through increased use of modern simulation and crew-based training. Cadets will fly Diamond DA-40 airplanes and DA-40 Level 5 simulators.