Ab-initio Candidate Assessment
The Ab-initio battery of tests comprises seven test types and a personality inventory questionnaire, designed to screen inexperienced candidates for key pilot aptitudes and abilities. The ab-initio tests are suitable for candidates without previous flying experience or for candidates who have some flying experience (less than approximately 100 hours) but do not hold a commercial licence. Full instructions and a practice are given before each test. The assessment process takes about 2.5 hours in total and comprises:
A tracking task using the joystick to steer a target between a moving stream of markers. The objective of the test is fully explained before candidates are given a practice run and then three 2 minute identical scored runs.
A compensation co-ordination task. Azimuth and elevation control using a joystick and rudder responding to separate, simple instrument presentations. This test assesses a candidate's hand / feet / eye co-ordination and scan rate, by measuring how accurately the candidate keeps a needle and ball on a target, over three identical runs of 2 minutes each.
A 15 minute timed cockpit mathematics test is aimed at practical calculations of the type often made in flight. These cover speed, time, distance, ratios, quantity and interpretation of tables and graphs. Mental mathematics of this type has been shown to be a reasonable indicator for capacity and mental agility. The problems are not difficult and are typical of calculations needed to be made by pilots.
A 6 minute test of accuracy of short-term memory recall and ability to 'chunk' information.
A 10 minute timed test of instrument interpretation, speed of comprehension and spatial orientation. This is a complex task and candidates are given an opportunity to repeat the instructional material before attempting the test. This test places candidates under some pressure.
A test of a candidate's ability to manage and prioritise demands from an input task (updating a CDU) and a monitoring task (cancelling a warning light) concurrently. This test will place candidates under considerable mental pressure during the three 2 minute test runs.
A short technical quiz. This tests a basic knowledge of physics, including the theory of simple DC electricity, magnetism, gyroscopes etc.
A personality inventory questionnaire. This profiling tool has been developed specifically for ab - initio as well as experienced pilots. The questionnaire, which is in multiple choice format and takes about 30 minutes to complete, identifies the crucial competencies and traits for pilots. Social desirability bias ("faking good"), which is an issue for many personality inventory tools, has been compensated for within the design of this questionnaire. The traits considered are: Resilience, Assertiveness, Stress tolerance, Teamwork, Impulse control, Helpfulness, Ambition, Empathy, Accuracy, Autonomy, Perseverance, Openness, Dominance, Need for variation and Persuasiveness.
Written comprehension and reasoning tests
Non - native English language speakers may also undertake an aural comprehension test
Advanced Candidate Assessment
The advanced tests are suitable for candidates who possess significant previous flying experience as a qualified pilot. By way of guidance, candidates holding a Professional Pilot Licence or candidates with more than approximately 100 hours of flying experience should take the advanced tests. The advanced battery of tests comprises the same mathematics, memory, instrument interpretation, task management, and personality inventory modules as in the ab-initio tests, but has a more complex co-ordination task to replace the ab - initio co-ordination and tracking tests. There is also an ATPL level operational knowledge test which replaces the technical quiz. This comprises 30 questions that have been set by airline training captains and are focused on practical operational knowledge. The questions are typical of those asked in airline interviews and although there is no time limit, most candidates complete the questions in about 20 minutes. The full test battery takes about 2.5 hours.