Flying a Jet

To fly a jet transport aircraft is often seen as the epitome of aviation. Large, powerful and the ability to cover vast distances at high speed, flying passenger or cargo aircraft is the dream of many pilots.The transition from multi engined piston aircraft to the right hand seat of a jet is a steep learning curve. The relative safe world of low altitude low speed flying is left sharply behind as you climb to altitudes of over 40,000ft and speeds which can be measured in relation to the speed of sound rather than just your speed through the air.

The main training that all new pilots recieve before gaining employment at an airline is a course called a “Multi Crew Coordination” course, or MCC for short. This is often combined with a “Jet Orientation Course”, or JOC. These two courses adapt the skills learnt during the Instrument Rating and adapt them into a flight deck setup with two pilots, one the Pilot Flying (PF) and the other the Pilot Monitoring (PM).

The majority of flight training with jets focuses around emergencies and crew cooperation.  The basic flying skills of a jet are largely the same as any other aircraft, the controls are no different and apart from the huge power of the engines, it should feel quite normal to most pilots, if a little more automated to most. Once you have got to grasp with the handling of the jet, training will move on to failures of engines, pressurisation systems and more.

Emergencies are usually dealt with according to a “quick reference handbook”, or QRH. One pilot will concentrate on flying the aircraft where as the other will deal with the emergency. Some items, such as engine fires or cabin pressurisation issues, have memory items that must be recalled in an instant if the situation calls for it.

The MCC course does vary a lot in length and price. There is no standard aircraft or simulator prescribed by the CAA, as the course is more about communication between pilots, so do shop around to see what fits both your budget and the standard that you wish to be trained to.

The Jet Orientation Course is a non-mandatory course (for licence issue) that many airlines wish you to have. It’s effectively an extension to the MCC which focuses on handelling of a jet aircraft. Often this course is combined with the MCC as an “all in one” course, but it is also available separately. Please note, there is no regulation to the JOC so do shop around to find a good course so you get the best value for money.

After all of your training, the next stage would be to secure a job and if successful, back in to the simulator for a type rating.