A cabin crew are trained ambassadors of an airline and are tasked with ensuring the safety and delivery of quality customer service to its passengers. Leading an aircraft crew are the pilots. These individuals are responsible for flying the passengers and crew from one destination to another. Whether you’re a frequent flier or someone who’s just settling into jetting off from city to city or from country to country, all aboard put their faith and trust in the individuals manning the cockpit and their crew who create a comfortable flying experience for us. We met with Airline Pilot Club CEO and founder, Andy O’Shea, to learn more about becoming a pilot and his course, Crew Management in Multi-Pilot Aircraft. Buckle up, it’s time for take-off.

Introduction and Background

Please introduce yourself to the Alison audience.

I’m Andy O’Shea the CEO and founder of the Airline Pilot Club (APC). I’ve had a military career and have been flying for 40 years or more. I joined Ryanair when it had six aircraft that became head of training when it had 26 aircraft. In that time, I trained over 10,000 young pilots to become safe and effective airline pilots on the 737.

What is the Airline Pilot Club (APC)?

The Airline Pilot Club is a community of pilots flying schools and airlines. We provide excellent services and guidance to our members at no cost to them. Everything is free in APC. We ask only those members to remove their profile fully after which they can access all our great free stuff.

What prompted you to create the APC?

During my career at Ryanair and working with the Yassa I became aware that there was a requirement for good, easily accessible guidance to people who are thinking about becoming airline pilots. This is because there are so many ways for people to make mistakes early in their training and in their career which can cost them a lot of money and a lot of heartache. APC is designed to provide people with an insight into themselves so they can pass their metric assessments through free learning which discusses and explains everything that is needed to be known about the human aspects of being an airline pilot.

Being a publisher with Alison

Tell us about your course Crew Management in Multi-Pilot Aircraft.

The Crew Management in Multi-Pilot Aircraft is a great course because it introduces some basic concepts about what it is like to be an airline pilot. The course also looks at the human limitations that our bodies and physiques place on us in an airline pilot environment – starting with human factors and limitations (respiratory systems fatigue and general health). We then move on to crew resource management which is all about how two people can work together as an effective crew, and we finish with a great introduction to the many ways that you can become an airline pilot.

What made you decide to create and share the course with Alison?

APC is all about trying to attract, screen and prepare more people for the airline pilot career so partnering with a great organisation like Alison which has enormous followership made an awful lot of sense.

What do you enjoy most about publishing on this platform?

I think the huge reach that Alison has created with so many members gives APC some hope that we could replicate these numbers in the future. But in the meantime, we really like Alison’s ethos of providing great free material to people who want to learn to earn and increase the quality of their lives.

What lessons or takeaways have you learned as a self-publisher on Alison?

I have learned through Alison and our own experience in APC that the better the quality of the material you provide to people the more they appreciate it, the more they would benefit from it and the better they will recommend it to their friends.

How has being a self-publisher on Alison changed or impacted your life?

Because I am so busy with APC, working with Alison was just another aspect of the overall efforts to make the airline pilot club a successful startup.

Working in aviation

What are the different roles found in a multi-pilot aircraft?

In a multi-pilot aircraft, the crew will consist of two pilots who are fully qualified.  The person who sits in the left-hand side of the cockpit is the aircraft commander and the person in the right seat is the co-pilot.

The captain decides which of the two pilots will fly a sector from A to B. That pilot is known as the flying pilot and the other pilot is then known as the pilot monitoring. Both roles are crucial to executing a safe flight and there are clearly defined competencies that pilots are trained in, but you’ll allow them to function effectively in each of these two roles.

What are the ideal skills one should have when pursuing a career in aviation?

There are nine pilot competencies that have been identified as being crucial to becoming an airline pilot or the ability to handle the aircraft safely using manual control and automatic controls of the aircraft.

Supporting those key skills are management attributes and competencies like leadership and teamwork, situation awareness, problem-solving and decision-making, workload management, application of procedures, application of knowledge, and communication.

What career paths are available for learners who complete your course?

Initially, there is the satisfaction of flying a beautiful aircraft all over the world and becoming a commander in due course. Pilots can also become instructors, examiners, safety managers, resource managers, compliance managers, or even become the CEO of an airline like Herb Kelleher in Southwest Airlines and Willie Walsh in Aer Lingus and IAG.

What challenges/limitations can one expect in the field of aviation?

The airline pilot is subject to many checks and tests throughout the normal course of his or her year. For instance, a pilot will have to undergo two sets of simulator training and checking, as well as one check that is completed during normal operations flying from one airport to another. In addition, the pilot must dedicate himself or herself to ongoing career development and learning. Finally, every year you must undergo a class-one medical to ensure that you are fit to fly commercial transport aircraft.

What are the knowledge outcomes one would gain from your course?

On completing the course, students will learn all about the human factors that affect a person pursuing a career as an airline pilot. These factors range from normal to abnormal situations and include aspects of wellness and self-help characterised by a good diet and leading a fit and healthy life. They will also learn how two people can combine to operate a multi-crew aircraft using great crew coordination where everybody is competent in their roles and understand how to support and enhance their copilot’s performance during flying operations.

What educational background should one have to enrol in your course?

There are no specific education requirements to become an airline pilot however it is helpful if you are comfortable with mathematics and basic arithmetic and have a grasp of basic science and physics topics and concepts. Many people complete a university degree before training, during training, and afterwards when qualified as an airline pilot.

How important are teamwork and communication for crew working in a multi-pilot aircraft?

Teamwork and communication are crucial to ensuring that a multi-pilot crew functions properly and delivers the aircraft safely to its destination. Unfortunately, there are many instances where poor crew coordination ended up in tragedy when the aircraft crashed under circumstances that were completely avoidable if the crew had been well trained in crew coordination

What additional equipment do learners need to put their knowledge into practice?

Students need to combine theoretical training with practical training and constantly seek to improve their performance both in the classroom and in the cockpit. Schools provide all the equipment that is needed, but many students learn about and prepare for the training and the career by immersing themselves in commercial simulators that they use at home either alone or as part of a network. This activity can be very helpful to give people an early insight into so the aspects of the airline pilot function

How would you advise learners to master precision throughout their studies online?

Students must fully apply themselves to the training and put away all distractions including personal entertainment devices. Each course has a set of learning objectives, and they should be studied.

Upon completion of your course, what are the next steps learners should take or skills they should learn to progress?

They should immediately go to theairlinepilotclub.com website and register for free with APC. They should choose the option “I want to become a pilot” and complete all the fields in the profile. After that, they will be able to find our preparation zone which is where all our free resources are available to people who are fully registered as members. There they will find several resources that are designed to build on the Alison course and introduce them to further topics such as pilot competencies and advanced technical knowledge training.

Last Thoughts

What words of advice would you give someone who would like to become a publisher on Alison?

Future publishers might be surprised at the depth of questioning that the Alison process requires so I would advise them to be prepared to come up with plenty of questions in different formats to help their Alison colleagues.

What has been your most important lesson or discovery when it comes to online education programmes?

I have learned that the higher the quality of material that you present to people who want to learn the better it’s appreciated and the more likely they are to complete the training and really benefit from it.

What else can Alison and its learners look forward to from you in the coming year to two?

We will have further courses designed to introduce people who are keen on becoming airline pilots to crucial aspects of their careers.

Any last words, advice, or wisdom you’d like to share with our learners?

The best thing that anyone who wants to become an airline pilot can do to help themselves succeed is to join the APC. Here you will find friends and mentors who only have your best interests at heart, and you will find lots of free services and material that would give you every chance to succeed in reaching your dream career.

Ready for take-off and think you have what it takes to take to the skies? Take the first step in building your career and use our free Resume Builder tool and get ready for take-off. 

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