Which flight training program should you choose?

Stein Mjåtveit

There is a saying that goes...You know you're a Pilot if you know WAY too many abbreviations

If you are trying to figure out how to become a Pilot I'm sure you can agree with that statement. The aviation industry has a very distinct language of its own and it can be tricky for an outsider to understand our world when venturing into it for the first time. 

PPL, CPL, MPL, ATPL, MCC, JOC, FI, EASA, FAA, ILS, NDB, VOR are just some of the aviation abbreviations you will encounter. So what do they mean? And which ones are important to you? That is what I am here to explain.

Let's begin with what you need...

If you are looking to become a Pilot and work for an airline in Europe you will need the following licenses and ratings issued by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Don't worry if you don't understand what they mean, I will explain that later:

  1. CPL (A) - Commercial Pilot License (Airplane)
  2. IR - Instrument Rating
  3. ME - Multi Engine Rating
  4. ATPL (A) Theory - Airline Transport Pilot License (Airplane)
  5. MCC - Multi Crew Cooperation
  6. APC - Airline Preparation Course*

*Also known as Jet Orientation Course (JOC). It is important to note that not all airlines require you to have an APC/JOC. However, it is becoming increasingly more common for airlines to require that you have one if you are applying for your first airline job. 

Most integrated training programs will include all of the certifications, ratings and licenses I have mentioned above. When applying for a job all of your certificates and ratings need to be valid and you will also need:

  1. A valid EASA Class 1 Medical certificate
  2. Minimum ICAO level 4 English Language Proficiency on your license

Once you get hired by an airline you will also need to do a type rating. If you're not sure what a type rating is, you can read more about it in this blog post.

The advantage of integrated programs is that they package everything you need into one education program. An integrated program should take you "from zero to hero". Meaning that you can go from little or no flying experience into being a qualified Professional Pilot that can apply for airline jobs as a First Officer. 

If you are comparing different integrated programs it is important to make sure that they all lead to the same qualifications when you graduate. OSMAA offers two integrated training programs for Scandinavian and international students:

You will be able to do the First Officer Program in Sweden or Norway (you choose), where as the Professional Pilot Program is done in Sweden and USA. You can read more about the differences between the two programs in this blogpost: Flight training: PPP vs FOP - What's the difference? 

Is there any other way?

Here at OSMAA we focus mainly on providing the best integrated flight training programs for students who aspire to work as Professional Pilots. Simply because we believe that this is currently the best path towards a career in the skies. 

With that being said there are other options available that might be more suitable for some. The two other paths are:

  1. Modular training
  2. Multi-pilot license (MPL)

Modular Training

Modular training means that you break an integrated program into smaller modules. This type of training can be a good option if you are not able to study full time.

For example if you have a job where you can take time off for longer periods, but can't be a full-time student for 18 months (which is the typical length of an integrated program) the modular path can be a good option for you. It can also be a good option for people who have recently started a family, since an integrated program is difficult to combine with raising children.

The modular path typically looks like this:

  1. Private Pilot License Airplane - PPL(A)
  2. Airline Transport Pilot License Theory - ATPL(A) Theory
  3. Time building to reach the necessary experience level to start CPL(A)
  4. Commercial Pilot License Airplane - CPL(A)
  5. Multi Engine (ME) Rating
  6. Instrument Rating (IR)
  7. Multi Crew Cooperation (MCC) course
  8. Airline Preparation Course (Advanced JOC)*

*This course is highly recommended, but optional.

At OSM Aviation Academy we focus on educating students to become airline pilots, therefore we mainly focus on integrated programs. We also offer MCC and Airline Preparation Courses to modular students who meet the pre-entry requirements.  

Multi Pilot License (MPL)

The Multi Pilot License (MPL) is a license where the majority of the training is done in a simulator. Once you graduate from an MPL program you will only be able to fly in a multi-pilot system (meaning you cannot fly by yourself).

One of the major advantages of an MPL program is the high number of hours flying a medium range jet simulator, such as the Boeing 737 or the Airbus A320.  This gives the student experience with managing the energy of a heavier aircraft and makes the transition into successfully completing a type rating and start working for an airline easier. 

At OSMAA we have compensated for this by having 75 hours(!) of Boeing 737 simulator time in our Professional Pilot Program (PPP) and First Officer Program (FOP). This gives you as a student the best of both worlds. You get to fly an actual airplane (Cessna 172 G1000 and Diamond Twinstar) for many hours and develop your decision making skills and problem solving abilities on many solo flights AND you get plenty of experience managing an aircraft that has more weight and energy (Boeing 737 NG simulator). 

Blue skies and safe landings my friends! 


Do you also want to fulfill your dream and become a pilot? You can find more information about the programs that we offer here.

Training location at OSM Aviation Academy

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