A number of the leading British ATOs are involved in a venture which offers candidates a connected modular route through to airline employment. The venture called ‘The Wings Alliance’ is a not-for-profit trade association whose aim is to offer prospective pilots a connected modular route through to airline employment following the principles of honesty, value and quality.
Background - Modular and Integrated training
There are two basic training routes for professional pilots. The first is to attend an ‘integrated’ course where all the training is completed under the aegis of a single school, the second is to attend a series of ‘modular’ courses at specialist flight schools. Each route has its advantages and disadvantages and different licensing criteria apply to the two routes in terms of specific training elements required and flying hours achieved. Although the routes are different the end license is exactly the same.
Advantages and disadvantages
For the pilot customers
The advantages of modular training in general are:
The disadvantages are
For the same customers the advantages of integrated training are:
The disadvantages are:
Hiring newly licensed pilots the advantages of taking integrated candidates are:
The disadvantages of hiring integrated students (with quite a bit of generalisation) are that they often:
The advantages of hiring modular candidates are often the opposite of the disadvantages attributed to integrated candidates above (with more generalisation) in that:
The disadvantages of hiring modular candidates are that;
The Wings Alliance
The Wings Alliance is a not-for-profit UK company limited by guarantee, which will ultimately be owned by its members. Its aims are to address the disadvantages of the general modular route listed above to offer to prospective pilots a quality assured route to airline employment, to provide airlines with a similarly quality assured pool of modular pilots and to address the marketing imbalance between specialist modular schools and the big integrated offerings, chief of which is from CTC. Its operation will be founded in the principles of honesty, quality and value.
The Training Plan
Prospective pilots are encouraged to at least take a trial lesson (or more if possible) before committing to professional training.
Pre-course independent aptitude testing is encouraged, and can be taken at RAF Cranwell through The Honourable Company of Air Pilots.
Wings Alliance offer a mentored programme to prospective pilots through structured modular flight training at the member flight schools, recommending flight schools to suit the candidate’s individual requirements. Throughout the training Wings Alliance will collate training records and liaise with the member flight schools and the customers to ensure the quality of training and customer service is maintained.
Upset Prevention and Recovery Training (UPRT) is a separate and currently optional module which follows the EASA NPA 2015-13 recommendations and includes tailwheel experience, unusual attitude recognition and recovery (including spin recovery) and the supporting theory.
After licence issue the training culminates in an (optional) assessed MCC/JOC called the Airline PIlot Certificate (APC) course, preceded by selection to assess employment suitability and non-technical training in airline operations. Wings Alliance uses Cardiff Aviation’s 747-400 sim for the flying element and we operate a 40 hour pass/fail course. This course goes beyond the requirements of EASA approval so that those that pass the course will be properly assessed and prepared for their first type rating. Those that do not pass will not be endorsed, but will still have their training records available and may elect to complete just the minimum MCC course.
APC Selection Day
Entry to the course is via selection. The selection day normally costs £240 however, for a limited period the cost is discounted to £120. It is conducted at the Wings Alliance headquarters in Clevedon, UK.
100% of students who have successfully completed the Wings Alliance APC course have been referred to an airline for selection. 100% of those who have completed the airline selection have been offered a job on the flight deck.
The Wings Alliance is a co-operative trade association, as a company limited by guarantee it has no shareholders, only members, which are effectively its owners.
The Chairman of the Wings Alliance is Alex Whittingham, an ex-RAF L1011 captain, and Managing Director and Head of Training of Bristol Groundschool.
The CEO is Rod Wren, also an ex-RAF pilot and an A2 QFI and who has, in his time, been Head of Training both at Oxford and CTC, and Managing Director of the CTC Wings project.
The companies which are members of the Wings Alliance at launch will be:
In the UKCardiff Aviation
In Europe/Near East
The Wings Alliance is funded by its members and by some elements of its commercial activity. The company will charge no premium for its services to prospective pilots, and pilots in training will transact directly with the member flight schools at their normal list prices, not with the Wings Alliance, with the exception of the MCC/JOC course, below.
The only course(s) or services directly charged for by the Alliance will be for the (optional) employment selection and Airline Pilot Certificate course after licence issue. This is a premium product in the sense that it exceeds EASA requirements and includes additional training and testing for employment suitability but will be priced competitively in line with the Alliance principles. Advice and guidance to prospective pilots training with the Wings Alliance and the maintenance and tracking of training records is provided without charge.
As a co-operative trade association the Wings Alliance is committed to equal opportunity and to promoting the profession in an honest and balanced way. The Alliance considers it is essential to work with pilots’ unions and other associations to ensure the free flow of information and benefits. Its members already offer support or scholarships either in their own right, through charities or through the Air League and this continues under the Wings Alliance banner. In a similar vein the Wings Alliance promotes scholarships from the Air League and others without charge.
BALPA have given us a statement supporting the initiative. The Honourable Company of Air Pilots has agreed to provide independent aptitude testing. The British Women Pilots Association also support the Wings Alliance.
Airline PartnersWings Alliance are now actively placing pilots with UK airlines with great success including Flybe and Thomas Cook and are likely to be adding more UK and European Airlines and Corporate Jet Operators to the list in the near future.
For further information please visit the Wings Alliance website by clicking this link