Pilot & ab-initio selection

 Psychological tests and assessments when you want to:

  • Maximize flight safety margins by employing pilots who convince in being able to handle the specific kind of operation of the company and to do this within the given company organization and culture
  • Ensure cost and time efficient training, with pilots able to progress and develop according to company standards and expectations
  • Ensure future FC potential, CRM and company adaptation
  • Ensure that employees will have a rewarding, positive pilot career

This applies for fixed wing and helicopter operations,

any AOC and FTO, and anywhere

The SIAP selection procedure works

The tests and the procedure have been validated by demonstrating predictive power both in selection of ab-Initio and experienced pilots, in Scandinavia, Europe and Asia. This means that the final prognoses and decisions regarding training/employment have proven valid by the success rate of the applicants that have been recommended. In a recent study we have also looked at the relation between scores and prognoses from selection procedure and performance in the simulator. The finding is that the chance of successfully passing the simulator test is clearly higher as the assessment prognoses increase. When applicants occasionally go through testing twice, we find that the results are very similar and stable, verifying the reliability such a test battery requires.

The SIAP Selection model

To assess pilot potentials we need information about capacities and abilities, and the value of these in the cockpit and aircraft. Reliable assessments of personality, communication skills, teamwork and leadership potentials are important.

We normally apply a Written Test Battery that takes 4.5 hours to complete. The tests are based on scientific expertise and years of experience with selection and aviation. Among the function areas tested are:

The Individual Examination
is a semi-structured interview and a process where the candidate is given the opportunity to assert reflections and opinions, life history and goals. During this examination, the candidate is also tested regarding stress tolerance, simultaneous capacity, manual skills etc. When the examination is finished (approximately 75 minutes) the psychologist collects all the information and makes a coherent assessment of the potentials of the candidate.

Beside variables concerning abilities and skills, the candidates are assessed on the following:

  • General reasoning
  • Numerical reasoning
  • Technical Mechanical
  • Speed of Perception
  • Spatial Ability
  • Short Term Memory
  • High mental workload capacity
  • Competence in English

  • Stress Tolerance
  • Emotional Stability
  • Maturity
  • Independence
  • Self Confidence
  • Awareness of responsibility
  • Situational Awareness
  • Judgement
  • Decision Making
  • Power of Action
  • Cooperation Ability
  • Leadership Potential

Deciding suitability - an act of balance

The value of psychological aptitude tests depends on how they are applied. A valid interpretation requires experience in aptitude testing as well as knowledge of aviation.

Selection to Flying training schools

Commercial flying training is a business, and schools need a certain number of students to survive. One option is to accept the candidates who are interested and able to pay, and almost everyone can learn how to fly if given enough training and time. Another option is to make entrance dependant on an assessment of pilot potentials. Either to ensure a high standard and to produce pilots who are competitive professionals, or at least to ensure that the student applicant has an opportunity to consider her or his pilot ambitions realistically, before the investment is done.

Ab-Initio Selection is a search for potentials. We look for basic skills, the ability to acquire knowledge and the potential to utilize it all within a cockpit-setting. Apart from aptitudes, the personality has to support a stable functioning and a sound further development as both life and work experience increase. They have to be motivated for hard work, and then to develop skills and the real kind of pilot motivation based on a joy of mastering the aircraft, the technology, teamwork, and in due time command on board.

To ensure a sound level of pilot potentials among the students is for the school both a way to contribute to future flight safety, to reduce costs in training, and a good way of marketing their school.

Selection is useful for FTO's when the school prefers candidates who are able to:

  • Progress according to training schedules
  • Acquire good airmanship and attitudes
  • Develop good pilot skills
  • Stay motivated
  • Adapt well in the demanding airline industry
  • Be preferred by the major airlines
  • Be ambassadors of their Flying Training School

When airline companies have sponsored ab-initio training programs it is a huge investment and typically undertaken when the supply of qualified pilots is too modest compared to company needs and growth. When the airline company offer training and an open gate to a pilot career, the requirements have to be high. Such ab-initio selection also has its own challenges as it naturally attracts a more versified sample of applicants, than a commercial flying training school. High quality in the selection procedure is then even more important.
Report format Experienced Pilots:
The results of the testing and assessment is given on one page. There is a profile with scores on capacities on the left side, and personal & teamwork related variables on the right side.
Below the profile is a brief description of personal and professional record, the aptitudes and ability to apply these under different conditions, then personal and interpersonal style related to teamwork, CRM and leadership, and a conclusion.

The aim is to give a clear cut recommendation, which the company Board then considers together with all other available information from their selection process.
Report format applied in ab-initio selection;
for Flying trainings schools and in individual counselling:
The psychological testing and assessment of ab-initio candidates are usually self sponsored. Then the candidate is our client and we report directly to her or him.

The results are given by a "Ab-Initio Certificate" and a written Personal report outlining assets, possible limitations and advices regarding a career as a professional pilot. The written report is intended to the candidate only, while the Certificate is forwarded to the FTO they want to apply.

These Certificate variables are:
  • General Reasoning
  • Numerical Reasoning
  • Technical Mechanical Understanding
  • Spatial Orientation
  • Speed of Perception
  • Short Term Memory Functioning
  • Mathematical Knowledge
  • Competence in English
  • Simultaneous Capacity
  • Psychomotoric Skills
  • Communication Skills
  • Teamwork Potential
  • Leadership Potential
  • Total Evaluation of Pilot Potentials