Aviation program timeline | Mount Allison

MFC training timeline and milestones for aviation students

The typical program progression an aviation student can expect from MFC Training.

For information on Mount Allison courses, visit the Academic Calendar:

The training hours below are taken from MFC's Training Manual and represent Transport Canada-approved minimums. Individual ability varies and more time may be spent on different aspects.

 

Year 1

Take 30 credits (10 courses) You MUST earn at least 24 credits by the end of year.

You are REQUIRED to Pass at least 8 of the 10 courses that you take in first year (to earn a MINIMUM of 24 credits)- towards your Science or Commerce degree. This is a prerequisite to continue in Aviation.

For specific requirements, visit our academic calendar:

Meet with your program advisor

Contact your BComm or BSc Program Advisor  to discuss your degree and MtA courses as soon as possible. Suggested before March.

If you're hesitant about whether or not Aviation is for you, feel free to reach out to aviation@mta.ca to arrange a chat

about the career and the industry.

 

For MtA specific concerns, contact an academic advisor.

Obtain your Cat 1 Medical

A Category 1 Medical is required to validate your commercial pilots' licence, which is the mainstay of your aviation program at MtA.

A Category 3 Medical is traditionally for private pilots unable to hold a Category 1 Medical. You will not be able to proceed in the MtA aviation program with only a Category 3.

Processing for your first medical may take longer. Therefore, to ensure you start flying in Year 2 by the end of September, it is highly encouraged to get your medical exam done in spring term of Year 1.

This will also ensure that your health and medical condition will allow you to hold a Category 1 Medical.

Arrange for transportation to MFC Training for Year 2

It is about 38 km from Mount Allison's campus in Sackville, NB to the MFC Training campus in Dieppe, NB. This is  mostly along the divided and well-maintained Trans-Canada Highway. Travel time is about 25 minutes.

Aviation students must provide their own transportation between campuses in years two to four, primarily to attend flight training with their individual instructor at MFC Training.

 

Year 2

Earn a minimum of 18 credits

Complete at least three- 3 credit courses each semester (6 courses total) towards your Science or Commerce degree

For specific requirements, visit our academic calendar:

Scheduling

Key points to keep in mind:

  1. Instructors will try to pair up students for Pre-Flight Ground Instruction (PGI) sessions to save money for students. PGIs are personalized learning events by student and instructor or two students and instructor.
     
  2. Instructors will try to combine PGI followed by a flight training device flight or aircraft training flight to make the most of a MtA student's drive up from Sackville.
     
  3. Anticipate spending ~ 4 hours at a time at MFC Training to complete multiple learning activities, and 30 mins on either end for travel.

Therefore, try to plan MtA courses with classes bunched in the morning or the afternoons. Maximize where possible an empty afternoon or empty morning on a weekday, or possibly even an entire weekday with no MtA classes.

Try to push your instructor to book you for training such that you are going up to MFC at least twice a week. Three times a week is preferable, as weather may not permit you to do the flight portion on occasion.

PRO TIP: The training and the learning is demanding, and information volume is very high and everything will be challenging to you as it is the first year of flight training. Training costs are high as well, so the most successful students show up rested, prepared, and review what was learned within 48 hours of learning it.

Phase 1-3 — Private Pilot License (PPL)

Below is a breakdown of the training hours you will experience (think of them as prerequisites) before hitting some critical milestones in your training progression.

The training hours below are taken from MFC's Training Manual and represent Transport Canada-approved minimums. Individual ability varies and more time may be spent on different aspects.

SEPT.-DEC./ Y2 FALL TERM
Phase 1 and beginning of Phase 2

  • 14.6 hours Dual Flight Instruction (in DA20 or C172)
  • 13.6 hours of DA40 FTD (Flight Training Device)
  • Overall 13.1 hours of PGI (Pre-flight Ground Instruction)

» Milestone: first solo before winter break

JAN.-APR./ Y2 WINTER TERM
Finish Phase 2 before Winter Break, finish Phase 3 before end of Year 2

  • 14.2 hours Dual Flight Instruction
  • 9.7 hours Solo Practice
  • 3 hours FTD
  • 9.8 hours PGI

Phase 2 includes your first cross-country flights, which means you are going to land an airport which was not your airport of departure.

» Milestone: complete your solo cross-country flights, which marks the end of Phase 2, during Winter Break or before going home for Winter Break.

Why? Contrary to popular belief, Canadian weather can be quite conducive to flying in the middle of winter. It is in spring where it is worst for flying in the Maritimes. At this stage in your training, weather will be severely limiting to your solo flights, therefore, you definitely should strive to complete these longer flights before spring arrives in March.

In January or February, book your PPL written exam with MFC Training. People like to write them in March or April, since spring weather means you likely will fly less.

Phase 3 is PPL review and Flight Test.

  • 5.4 hours Dual Flight Instruction
  • 3.6 hours Solo Practice

» Milestone: Pass your PPL Flight Test before going home for summer.

 

Year 3

Earn a minimum of 18 credits

Complete at least three- 3 credit courses each semester (6 courses total) towards your Science or Commerce degree

For specific requirements, visit our academic calendar:

Phase 4 — Night Rating

Fall Term of Year 3

Night Rating is Phase 4. Night Rating Flight Training can occur concurrently with Night Rating Groundschool. Do not wait for it to end. This can and should be a very very short phase. It can be completed in a week with a diligent instructor/student pairing.

  • 8.8 hours Dual Flight Instruction
  • 5 hours Solo Practice
  • 3.3 hours PGI

» Milestone: Night Rating Endorsement ASAP after night groundschool starts.

The training hours above are taken from MFC's Training Manual and represent Transport Canada-approved minimums. Individual ability varies and more time may be spent on different aspects.

Phase 5-6 — Commercial Cross-Country Navigation

CPL training should start in, and be completed by, end of Year 3.

PHASE 5

Phase 5 is Commercial Cross-Country Navigation, where you are doing many cross-country flights by yourself, or with a buddy pilot (spotter).

In this period, you are practicing and acquiring flight time, and time flying with reference to instruments, flight planning experience, weather management skills, problem-solving, and getting some dual flight instruction with your instructor to raise your performance to CPL-standards.

Note about Hood Time

While I glossed over this in the description of previous phases because your instructor is taking care of it until now, what becomes very important is "hood time".

This is flight time you are spending wearing a view-limiting device, with a buddy (look-out) pilot aboard, flying with reference to your instruments only.  This is important for many reasons, namely that it prepares your for your IFR rating, and is part of CPL integrated training. On almost every solo flight, you are expect to log a certain amount of Hood Time.

Therefore, be sure that

a) you actually do practice on the flight, and challenge yourself, and
b) that you record it appropriately in the various places you are expected to.

In total, including the milestones below, expect to complete, at a minimum:

  • 8.0 hours Dual Flight Instruction
  • 59.5 hours Solo Practice of which 42.6 hours are Solo X/C
  • 4.0 hours PGI

It is easy to slack off and fall behind schedule. It is also easy in this period to slack in your flying, build bad habits, take shortcuts, and generally torpedo your progress. Defend yourself against complacency — the difference between a good pilot and a bad pilot can easily be seen in this stage.

» Milestone: Phase 5 culminates in the VFR Navigation Progress test. This is a flight test where you are assessed on your ability to plan and fly a cross-country flight carrying payload, as a commercial pilot would.

» Milestone: Roughly halfway into phase 5, you will also need to keep on your radar the completion of a 300 nautical mile (radius) solo cross-country endeavour. This is part of the integrated CPL training, and due to the large distances involved, it is very weather- and time-sensitive. You will be briefed on the details and ways to go about completing it. Again, it often gets completed in the dead of winter, when weather is cold, but stable, so plan accordingly.

PHASE 6

Phase 6 is CPL review and flight test. This phase can and often does overlap with phase 5, so expect to get right into it even if phase 5 is not entirely complete.

This phase is an easy one for students who did not slack off or pick up too many bad habits in phase 5.

The purpose of phase 6 is to review and make sure you can pass the CPL flight test.

  • 8.9 hours Dual Flight Instruction
  • 11 hours Solo Practice
  • 3.8 hours PGI

» Milestone: Pass CPL flight test before end of Year 3 at MtA.

The training hours above are taken from MFC's Training Manual and represent Transport Canada-approved minimums. Individual ability varies and more time may be spent on different aspects.

Phase 10 — Time-Building (as needed in Year 3/4)

This is an extra phase of solo XC time-building flights, or solo with a buddy pilot.

It is designed to ensure students have enough XC and hood time to fulfill integrated program time requirements.

It is booked as needed in Y3/Y4.

 

Year 4

Earn a minimum of 18 credits

Complete at least three- 3 credit courses each semester (6 courses total) towards your Science or Commerce degree

For specific requirements, visit our academic calendar:

Phase 7 — ME Rating
  • 7.2 hours Dual Flight Instruction
  • 1.2 hrs ME Flight Test
  • 7.0 hours PGI

The training hours above are taken from MFC's Training Manual and represent Transport Canada-approved minimums. Individual ability varies and more time may be spent on different aspects.

Do not underestimate the short hours in this phase.

Multi-training is intense, the hours are short because each operating-hour is prohibitively expensive. You should be preparing very hard prior to each flight with "chair-flying". Plus, aircraft snags are common with the twin-engine Seminole aircraft so while under ideal conditions this is a 2-week long phase, it can take twice that to complete.

Those who are on-schedule will endeavour to finish this in Sept./Oct., before nasty and colder weather comes around in Nov., Dec.

Phase 8-9 — IFR Rating

The IFR rating training can occur concurrently with Multi-Engine training, as long as IFR groundschool has commenced. This is done because weather and aircraft availability can delay ME training substantially, so Phase 8, which is IFR in the flight training device (sim), can be done when other factors are limiting.

  • 10.9 Dual Flight Instruction in the PA44 Seminole twin-engine airplane
  • 1.3 allocated for the IFR flight test
  • 3.0 hours PGI

The training hours above are taken from MFC's Training Manual and represent Transport Canada-approved minimums. Individual ability varies and more time may be spent on different aspects.

» Milestone: IFR Written Exam (INRAT) must be successful before flying into Phase 9 is allowed. Therefore, book it with TC for as soon as MFC IFR primers are scheduled to be completed.

IFR is the bread and butter of a commercial pilot. Many skills you have learned up to now will be put to the test in the simulator and later in the airplane flying under IMC or simulated IMC.

IFR training takes time, and a lot of consolidation of learning occurs between learning activities. Unfortunately, it tends to get rushed for various reasons, leaving students with a challenging written and flight test experience.

Just like cramming for a final, while you may pass the course and maybe even do fairly well, overall comprehension, retention and mastery of the subject does not get achieved. For why this is a problem, see the first sentence.

» Milestone: IFR Flight Test normally will be completed as soon as Phase 9 is complete. Typically for most students this occurs in Jan., Feb., or Mar. of Y4 MtA, but again middle of winter weather favours flying. As we get into March and spring looms, weather gets nastier.

Multi-Crew Coordination/Turbine Operations
  • 18.5 hours Multi-Crew Coordination in BE200 King Air Simulator
  • 4.5 hours PGI

The training hours above are taken from MFC's Training Manual and represent Transport Canada-approved minimums. Individual ability varies and more time may be spent on different aspects.

This phase is designed to give you a glimpse of multi-crew coordination, and operating a high-performance turbine-powered aircraft.

Flights in this phase take place with a partner pilot, and are LOFT-style, which means line-oriented flight training.

LOFT is also the most common type of training and recurrent training airlines and most larger operators will use to test you prior to hiring you, as well as during your time there with them.

To get the most out of this phase, you should pretend it is your first job, and that you were just hired, and that you are now undergoing initial training in preparation to pass your first PPC (pilot proficiency check).

Aside from paying attention in groundschool, it may help to see it as a role in a play or movie. You will learn your lines, act and react as procedures, and as "the book" dictates. That way, during the sim event, you can practice working together under demanding situations that require problem-solving, communication, and quick-thinking.

This is a very fun phase, and excitingly dangerous scenarios can be explored with your sim partner and instructor. For example, gear malfunctions, engine failures, severe icing, or explosive decompression, and even operating while extremely fatigued. However, a lack of preparation will lead to many frustrations for you and your instructor. As you would have found out by Y4, what you give into it governs how much you can get out of it.

This phase has no-jeopardy, i.e. there is no test at the end. Consequently, some people do not take it seriously. It is up to you, but it is a substantial amount of money, and the experience can be very enriching and useful down the line to you.

 

Program total flying hours

The hours below are the absolute minimum you will achieve under the IATP program offered by MFC Training.

Phase 1-11
PGI 59.5
Dual 87.4
Solo 100.0
Total 187.4
Hood 40.4
FTD 35.5 Inst (49.1)
Solo XC 60.2