Mode Aviation
Reference No. AR201600048
Date reported 17 May 2016
Concern title Concern related to the oversight of the operator’s cadet scheme
Concern summary

The concern related to the oversight of the operator’s cadet scheme.

Industry / Operation affected Aviation: Air transport
Concern subject type Aviation: Flight crew

Reporter's concern

The reporter expressed a safety concern relating to the oversight of the [operator’s] cadet scheme.

The reporter advised that the company are not aware of which of the cadet pilots have fully completed their airline transport pilot licence (ATPL) subjects. It is a requirement in the [operator] operations manual and a direction from CASA.

Reporter comment: There is a safety concern if the pilots concerned have not completed the theory part of the ATPL syllabus before they are flying passenger carrying flights.

Operator's response (Operator 1)

The Civil Aviation Safety Regulation (CASR) 61.570 specifically allows ‘Subject to Subpart 61.E and regulation 61.575, the holder of a commercial pilot licence …… to pilot, as co-pilot, any aircraft in any operation.’ While CASR 61.575 requires ‘On and after 1 September 2015, the holder of a commercial pilot licence is authorised to exercise the privileges of the licence in a multi-crew operation only if the holder has completed an approved course of training in multi-crew cooperation.’ To clarify with respect to a multi-crew cooperation (MCC) course, CASA has published the following to explain ‘what is an MCC-equivalent training course’ and specifically the application of such with respect to an airline ‘initial and conversion training course’ approved under CAR 217. With this application available until 31 August 2018 or when the airline transitions to a full CASR Part 142 Certificate.

CASA Statement (ref. ‘Regulation Reform – Multi-crew cooperation training’ publication November 2015)

The following information applies to MCC-equivalent training courses that were approved before 1 September 2014.

What is an MCC-equivalent training course?

A training course that was approved prior to 1 September 2014 under Civil Aviation Regulation (CAR) 217 which covers the Part 61 MCC course content is an MCC-equivalent course.

For example, an airline’s initial and conversion training course is acceptable if it is for an operation that requires the pilot-in-command to hold an ATPL. That course is deemed to be a Part 142 MCC course conducted under the operator’s AOC for the duration of the transition period (up to 31 August 2018), or until the operator completes their transition (whichever comes first).

An operator’s MCC-equivalent training course is reviewed during the Part 142 transition process. Approving the course depends on the content meeting the Part 61 standards.

Modifications might be required to bring the old course up to the Part 61 standard if it is deficient.

Given the above CASR Part 61 regulatory requirements and CASA published advice, the holder of a Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL), which all [operator] Cadets hold, is legally allowed to fly any airline aircraft as a co-pilot provided they proceed through the ‘airline’s initial and conversion training course’ without holding any Airline Transport Pilot Licence subjects.

The [operator] manual that the reporter may be referring to, states that ‘The minimum requirements to commence training as a cadet FO/SO in –[operator]’ is to ‘have passes in all Australian ATPL subjects or equivalent’. This manual listing is clearly a company requirement well in excess of the aforementioned CASA regulatory requirements, as ‘Australian ATPL subjects’ are not required by CASA for a person to fly as a co-pilot in any airline operation (ref. CASR 61). Furthermore, this company listing does allow consideration of a level of equivalence (‘or equivalent’) with respect to the individual having ‘passes in all Australian ATPL subjects’ which the company may exercise.

With respect to the reporter’s concern about someone having ‘not completed the theory part of the syllabus before they are flying passenger carrying flights’, [operator]’s training and checking manual (CASA approved under CAR 217 and CAO 82.5) prescribes the cadet training ‘syllabus’ and this does not prescribe ATPL subjects as part of the syllabus.

Given the CASA legal requirements for a co-pilot in an airline operation are being met with regard to our co-pilots, [operator] is of the belief that the reporter’s concern may actually be related to the regulations and if so then the matter may be better raised via the CASA Regulatory Reform forums.

Regulator's response (Regulator 1)

CASA has reviewed the REPCON and advises that subpart 61.I of Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998 (CASR) details the privileges and limitations of a Commercial Pilot Licence holder. Regulation 61.570 (b) allows a pilot to act as a co-pilot on any aircraft subject to the limitations in regulation 61.575. This means that a co-pilot who has completed an approved course in multi-crew cooperation (MCC) training is authorised to act as a co-pilot in a multi-crew aircraft. The operator requires all cadet first officers to complete an approved MCC training course prior to the commencement of their [aircraft] type rating. Although the operator has specified a minimum requirement for the employment of cadet first officers, this is not the subject of a direction from CASA.

CASA is satisfied that the operator is complying with the minimum flight crew licencing standards required by CASR Part 61.


Last update 12 July 2018