I applied for MAB’s (Malaysia Airlines Berhad) Cadet Pilot Trainee in May 2018 through MAB’s career page. Please attach your credentials (i.e. SPM certs, degree or diploma if you have one). After waiting for about a month, the invitation email for first stage was sent out. I was one of the few lucky ones to first receive this invitation as the people from the subsequent batches had to wait longer for their first stage. It will be more advantageous at this point if you have a diploma/degree as it determines how soon you receive the email (of course you must meet the minimum requirements too).
Stage 1 (Examination):
So I received the email on 7th June and I was expected to attend the first stage on 11th June at Malaysia Airlines Academy, Petaling Jaya. PLEASE be prepared as you do not have much time to prepare once you have been shortlisted to attend stage 1.
My session was in the afternoon at 1pm and there was another session in the morning on the
same day. As soon as I arrived the academy, I registered at the guard house. You are allowed to park your car inside the academy itself, just inform the guards that you are there for cadet pilot exam and they will allow you in. Only formal attire is allowed so please dress accordingly (it will be stated in the email too). MAB is very particular about the professionalism and outlook of their crew.
Once I was in the academy, I was directed to an auditorium. It was pretty warm as some of the air conditioners were not functioning, so if you are thinking of wearing a blazer, please spray more deodorant before leaving your house. Once everyone was seated, a captain and a HR personnel gave some briefing about this program. All the cadets are expected to self finance the flying school either by self-sponsor or loan. MAB will assist you in obtaining a bank loan should you pass all stages. Upon graduation from flying school, MAB will place you in their main fleet to fly Boeing 737 or one of their subsidiaries: MASWings, FireFly, MASCargo. I suppose where the cadet ends up depends on the opening and operational needs of the company. The cost of type
rating is borned by the company and this will determine how long your bond is. Of course, the B737 type rating will be higher than an ATR type rating, so your bond will be longer if you are chosen to fly the B737. It really depends on the company on where they place the cadet after graduation.
There were some Q&A session after the briefing before the exam starts.This stage comprises of 3 papers: Physics (35 minutes), Mathematic (30 minutes) and English (25 minutes). They are all SPM syllabus. Calculator is allowed for all papers. Please note that 2-3 log and some IQ questions might sneakily appear in your Math paper.
Stage 2 (Interview):
After waiting for about 2 weeks, the email for stage 2 came in. I had only 2 days to prepare for it. Stage 2 was interview stage and it was held at the same location as stage 1. About slightly more than 40 people were shortlisted from about 200 candidates (just my estimation based on the seats in the auditorium). I arrived at 8 am and was seated in the same auditorium. This is the stage to impress your interviewers so dress smart. There were 3 interview rooms ongoing concurrently. This is a pretty nerve wrecking stage so make friends to ease the nerves. You might score some tips too if you are friendly enough.
I only entered the interview room at 3pm. The wait was really long. At point of time, I was no longer nervous. Only exhaustion from waiting. But thankfully, my interviewers were very friendly throughout the interview process. My interview only lasted for 15 minutes. I was only asked about my background. No technical question at all. It really depends on your luck so prepare thoroughly. Google is really your loyal partner for this stage.
Stage 3 (Psychometric & Personality Test):
After 2 days, the email for stage 3 came in. This stage was done at home. Another email for the link to the test will be sent out and it must be completed before a certain date. There are 5 sections to this test and it takes about 60 to 75 minutes to complete. Before attempting each stage, you will be allowed to practise for a little to get a general idea of what you will be doing. You can take a break in between each section so fret not. Section 1 (personality) is the only section that was not timed. Do not worry if you can’t complete any section. I believe that this test is not meant to be completed, if you attempt it alone that is. Overall, this stage tests you on your concentration, accuracy and speed. Please be very focused and accurate as it can be quite overwhelming after a while. Personally, I believe that aspiring pilots should be able to tackle all the questions by yourself with the little practice given (I could so you should be able to).
Stage 4 (Psychomotor):
Stage 4 email came after 3 days. This was MY FAVOURITE stage. It was such an eye opening and fun experience for me. YES, I got to fly a Boeing 737-400 simulator in Malaysia Airlines Training Centre.
I got about a week to prepare for this stage so I practised my flying skills at Sky Simulator in eCurve, Mutiara Damansara. Me and Fatin were my instructors and they were amazzzziiing! They taught me soo much as I did not have any prior flying/simulator/FSX experience. I WhatApp them for booking but you can call them to book a slot. I had a total of 2 hours sim training in 2 separate sessions. Again, Google is your best friend for further information on Sky Simulator.
On the day of stage 5, there were 5 of us in total for my afternoon session. I arrived at 12pm and only started my simulator test at 3pm. More waiting as the triple 7 simulator was faulty. MAB has taught me a lot. I learnt that I am actually very patient person, from all these waiting, one after another stage. In the end, we used the old generation 737-400. Everyone will get briefing on what to expect before entering in simulator. The captain told us that we will be tested on take off, cruising, single engine failure and rudder coordination. Landing was not part of the assessment but it would do you great bonus if you could land the plane! Whatever the situation is, always try to control and land the plane. Though landing itself is not part of the assessment, you should show your effort till the very end. Tips: Learn how to use ILS (Instrument Landing System) with glide-slope and localiser.
The instruments and indicators were pretty old so I was not used to it. It took me some time to find some indicators. The yoke was pretty heavy too so do expect some bicep training during the test. Thankfully, the captain for my session was very easy going and friendly. He would inform you before doing anything. For example, he would inform that he is going to turn off engine 1 and that you should use left rudder to correct it. Really focus and listen to the captain throughout the flight. Oh, and your “grace altitude” is plus minus 200 feet only so you have to make sure you don’t deviate too much or else the warning sound will come off.
Overall, I believe that the captain expects you to have some level on basic flying and aviation knowledge. This means flying the plane, following the flight director, using enough rudder to remain centreline and correction to single engine failure. Multitasking is also a must as you have to monitor several indicators at the same time.The captain might try to distract you or throw you a question while you are monitoring 3 other indicators and trying to maintain your altitude using the heavy yoke. This should of course be paired with some training and effort from yourself. Without any training/research, you will most probably send your plane spiralling during the single engine failure assessment. Training and effort always triumph over talent so please practise before going for this stage.
Stage 6 (Medical):
Finally, the last email for the results came in after about 2 days. I PASSED! I was scheduled to go for a medical check up at Suria KLCC at a certain time and date. All instructions will be in the email so just follow them. It is sponsored by MAB itself (how nice).
After passing the medical, you will receive an email for loan briefing. About 13 people passed for my batch. Should you have any clarification, this is the best time to speak up. You will be given a form to sign.