Pilot aptitude tests and how to tackle them

Pilot aptitude tests and how to tackle them

A pilot aptitude test, also known as psychometric testing is used to determine a person’s capabilities in terms of becoming a commercial airline pilot. The testing focuses on identifying a high competency when completing specific tests.

Aptitude relates to natural abilities, which cannot be learnt, but this does not mean there is no room for improvement through regular practice. As such, it is advised to practice online tests in the lead up to an exam or interview.

Most airlines only employ pilots who meet a certain level of aptitude in all areas to ensure they recruit the strongest candidates who are highly trainable.

This article focuses on what a pilot aptitude test entails, why they are used and provides links to useful resources.



Why are aptitude tests important?

A pilot aptitude test is just one of a number of steps a candidate is required to complete in order to become a qualified pilot. In short, these tests allow trainers to determine whether an aviation student has what it takes to become a pilot by assessing a range of skills.

As well as completing tests at an aviation school, airlines will also include this sort of examination in the interview process when employing new pilots. Every qualified pilot will need to pass more than one aptitude test before they can gain employment.

Although passing an aptitude test is a clear indication that a person has the abilities to become a pilot, it will not necessarily guarantee a job as there are a number of different stages of the interview process in order to become a commercial airline pilot.




What other elements are included in the job interview?

Pilot interviews are amongst the most challenging of any job and include many stages, testing a wide range of skills, knowledge and ability.

Tests generally consist of both written and computer based examinations, a verbal interview with human resources, or maybe even an aviation psychologist; group based activities involving other candidates or existing staff are also a possibility.

Stages of the interview can include:

  • A technical interview
  • A standard HR interview
  • A simulator assessment
  • Group exercises


What do these tests entail?

Pilot aptitude tests can differ depending on the airline or school but usually evaluate a set range of skills. A few of these skills can be improved upon by practice, whereas others are more dependent on natural ability.

Aptitude tests normally cover the following areas:

  • Logical thinking
  • Spatial awareness
  • Perceptual skills
  • Eye-hand coordination
  • Memory
  • Multitasking
  • Stress levels
  • Mental arithmetic

How can you prepare for a pilot aptitude test?

Candidates can prepare for aptitude testing by practicing a number of skills, such as:

Eye-hand coordination: The best way to prepare is by investing in a flight simulator game and a joystick, although there are a number of computer games that can also help in this regard. You can find a list of recommended flight simulation games in the next section.

Logical thinking: Following instructions and choosing the best solution to a problem will be tested. A simple way to practice this would be to read complex instruction manuals and consider numerous options to solve a single problem.

Memory: Pilots are required to follow instructions from air traffic control so a strong short term memory is required. Luckily, there are numerous ‘brain training’ apps you can download on your mobile phone in order to improve your memory.

Mental arithmetic: Lose the calculator! Pilots are required to quickly process unexpected changes and to make alterations accordingly. Regularly practising sums in your head can help significantly in this regard, instead of turning to a calculator to do everyday maths.

Multitasking: Computer games are another good way to practice multitasking. While playing, invite a friend or set up a video call so they can ask you basic maths questions or to list things in alphabetical order. Alternatively, virtual assistants such as Alexa or Siri can provide similar challenges.

Perceptual capacity: Again computer games and mobile apps can help you to improve skills such as perceptual capacity. Playing these games while your friends or family provide distractions can make these tasks much more challenging.

Stress tolerance: Taking part in a new activity that you find a little daunting is an excellent way to manage stress levels. Activities such as yoga or meditation can be of great help when a person needs to learn to control their stress levels.

Of course, aptitude testing is not set in stone and certain airlines could include a few curve-balls in their interview but practicing the core elements above is extremely advantageous and will improve confidence levels on the day of the test.


Useful information

Aviation Schools UK

Online Tests

Online tests to help you practice in preparation for your interview:

Flight Simulation Games

According to Lifewire, the best flight simulation games of 2019 are:

We have also included a free, web browser based simulator with joystick support.

Brain Training Applications

Reading Material

We hope the information and resources in this article have been of help and we wish you any luck in reaching your goal to become a qualified pilot.

You can find the latest pilot jobs here.

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How to get a good night’s sleep as crew

How to get a good night’s sleep as crew

Health is important as you go about your cabin crew duties because the job is physically demanding and you’ll always want more energy to enjoy the destinations you get to visit. Making sure you look after your sleep need is an equally important part of looking after your health, especially when it comes to looking after your immunity. Sleep is the latest performance enhancer we’ve been neglecting for so long, with a better understanding of how to consistently meet your sleep needs you can perform better and enjoy a better quality of life. In this article, We’re going to look at the importance of good sleep, the challenges of getting good sleep and how to overcome them as crew. I will also offer you some tips I used to manage my sleep schedule during my 20 year flying career. 


The Cabin Crew Sleep Challenge

For occupational and environmental health purposes cabin crew are classified as shift workers. As a group of people we share some of the same challenges as doctors nurses and other round the clock professions when it comes to rest and fatigue. Besides the broad challenge of sleep deprivation the challenge crew face tends to be related to matters of sleep quality and sleep quantity. This is a quick explanation of the difference between those two terms. Sleep quality refers to the types of different sleep available within a night’s rest. Sleep quantity is pretty much what it says on the tin, the amount of sleep one is able to get in hours and minutes. 

Sleep quality refers to Deep sleep,REM sleep and Light sleep. Deep sleep is the sleep we have when we wake up the most refreshed and restful. It happens during the earlier parts of the night, and is responsible for cleaning and repairing our entire body from our day’s work. REM sleep on the other hand, happens in the later part of the night and early morning. REM sleep is when the body’s filing system comes into play. We use REM sleep to sort out the events of the day and put them in order. Dreams happen in REM sleep and are a tool we use to make sense of the days events. Light sleep is as the name suggests, it is easier to be woken up in Light sleep and REM sleep than it is in Deep sleep.

Sleep quantity, the total amount of hours slept are deemed to be in a healthy range when the hours are between 6 and 9 hours per night. While there is debate about optimal amounts of sleep for individuals there is no doubt that we all have a lot of sleep debt which impacts health and performance.

For crew, early morning starts, late nights and being up at inappropriate times can lead to not getting enough of all the types of sleep to maintain good health. Recent research from the scientific community has uncovered more about the different types of sleep and their value. As crew it makes sense for us to prioritise Deep sleep over and above any other type. This is because it is the most physically restorative, and as noted the job of cabin crew is physically demanding. 

Deep sleep naturally occurs between the hours of 10 pm and 2 am in the morning, wherever possible making sure that we are in bed for this time frame will help us get the best quality deep sleep available. In fact the scientific literature goes on to say that if all types of sleep are withheld the body naturally prioritises Deep sleep first and then REM sleep. 

Work patterns guarantee you cannot be in bed between the hours of 10 pm and 2 am the same time every night (especially if you are on long haul) so the question we should ask ourselves is how can we make up any shortfall so we continue to enjoy the benefits of sleep and energy?

Sleep Hygiene

The first thing I would recommend is making sure you sort out your basic sleep hygiene. This relates to the specifics of the environment in which you are sleeping whether that be at home or in a hotel room while away on duty. Make sure it is silent and dark with no light interrupting your line of vision as you sleep. Make sure you are comfortable, specifically this means making sure the temperature is just right, not too hot or cold. 


Bedtime Habits

The next thing to consider is giving your body subtle cues before time that say bedtime is approaching. You can do this by making sure you pack your own sleep accessories. This could include sleep masks, earplugs, essential oils,and not forgetting good bedtime habits. If you get into the habit of doing this every bedtime your body begins to recognise the pattern irrespective of the location you may be in and gets ready for sleep. In order to make this work it means cutting out bad habits like heavy meals late at night and minimising your exposure to blue light which interferes with your body’s production of the sleep hormone melatonin. 


Consider Using a Sleep Tracker

Lately good quality sleep trackers have been known to help people with sleep challenges get an understanding of what to focus on to get a good nights sleep. Wearables are useful if you don’t mind using technology in bed. I use a sleep tracker even though I no longer fly and it is very good at showing me how much quality Deep sleep and REM sleep I  get. This allows me to adjust and make up any lost sleep I have if I purposely decide to work late or get up early for the demands of my day. The beauty of a good quality sleep tracker is that the numbers don’t lie and you are able to closely monitor your sleep and try different things to improve your sleep quality.


Prioritise Sleep

I recommend all cabin crew consider prioritising sleep for their lifestyle. It makes perfect sense as you will constantly be on-the-go and your sleep will follow the work patterns of your roster and the unpredictability of a flying lifestyle.  It makes sense to ensure a short-term sleep challenge doesn’t become a long term chronic condition. This is important because chronic sleep challenges wear down the immune system to an extent that they can lead to something more serious over time.


Sleep Blocking

Another tool I used throughout my flying career was something I call Sleep Blocking. It’s very simple and this is how it works, from my flying roster I would look at the times I land and the times I take off and build my sleep rules around my roster. For instance if I landed before 12 pm I would always have a nap of  30 or 90 minutes or even 3 hours depending on how tired I was. If I landed after 12 pm it meant I would stay awake throughout the day, and go to bed early that night. This would have the effect of getting me back on my local home time the next morning without fail.

Finally it’s important to know what works for you and your lifestyle, that way you get the best of both worlds, your social life as well as your work life. Experiment with what makes for a good night sleep at home and let that be your guide!

About Christopher

Christopher Babayode is a former flight attendant of 20 years with British Airways, a specialist in Travel Wellness and healthy jet lag solutions for those who travel often. He is the author of Farewell Jet Lag, Cures from a Flight Attendant (on Amazon UK & US). Chris has been featured in the Sunday Telegraph and is a most -read author on Quora the questions and answers platform.


Step six…the assessment day

By Chartered Occupational Psychologist Hannah Vallance, Cabin Crew Wings TeamFollowing on from our article from last month Step Five – The Psychometric Tests we look this month at the Cabin Crew Assessment Day.You’ll generally receive an invitation to an...

Step six…the assessment day

Step six…the assessment day

By Chartered Occupational Psychologist Hannah Vallance, Cabin Crew Wings Team

Following on from our article from last month Step Five – The Psychometric Tests we look this month at the Cabin Crew Assessment Day.

You’ll generally receive an invitation to an Assessment Day if you’ve completed the initial application and psychometric testing stage successfully.

However some airlines do incorporate the psychometric tests into the assessment day – you’ll receive full information on this during your application so don’t worry! Regardless, you should prepare for the tests and the assessment day in the same way.



What is involved in the assessment day?

Assessment days vary slightly from airline to airline but you can expect the day to have the following format:


There are usually cuts throughout the day with only the most promising candidates staying until the end.

Some airlines will interview you on the same day if you’ve performed well, while others will invite you to come back for your interview on another date.

There may also be a slot for English language competency assessments for non-native speakers – again this depends on the airline.



The Presentation

The presentation will involve an overview of the airline and a description of the role. Try to make eye contact with the speakers, and interact when possible.

Then you and your fellow candidates will get the chance to ask any questions you might have. The recruitment team could well also ask the audience questions too so be prepared!

The question and answer section is where your research about the airline could really pay off – you’ll certainly stand out to the recruiters if you can show that you’ve done your homework!



The Checks

You’ll be expected to pass the height and reach and tattoo checks. The airline will clearly state their requirements in the job description and in the recruitment information.

Your height and reach will be measured to ensure you meet the requirements of the airline you’re applying to.

If you don’t meet the requirements you’ll be asked to leave the process at this point.

There will also be a tattoo check. While you are allowed to have tattoos, these must be in no way visible while you’re in uniform. 



The Group Exercises

The number of exercises you will have to take part in vary, but you can expect there to be 2-3. 

Usually one will be an ‘icebreaker’ to get things moving, and the others may take the form of a role-play exercise or group discussion.

It’s important that you take part, but try not to be too overpowering! Let the others in the group have their say, and respect that there may be differences of opinion.

There are various resources you can take a look at online which will give you examples of questions to practice with. You can also buy workbooks specifically designed to help you prepare for the assessment day.



Assessment Day Tips

  • Make sure that you have all your documents to hand, and that they’re up to date. You’ll be given a list of what to bring in the email inviting you to the assessment day.
  • Be punctual, and remember to be polite and smile to make a good first impression! 
  • Give yourself plenty of time in the morning to get ready and plan your journey beforehand.
  • If you have any certificates from Cabin Crew courses, bring these along too.
  • Dress to impress – formal business attire is the way to go!
  • Try not to be too disheartened if you are asked to leave early– it’s a huge achievement even to make it to the assessment day stage and you can use the experience to learn from.



Next Steps

The next step is a big one – the final interview!  

As I’ve mentioned, some airlines will ask you to do this on the assessment day itself.

Next month we’ll look at the interview in detail, what you can expect, how to prepare, and how to answer the toughest interview questions

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5 golden CV laws you need to consider

5 golden CV laws you need to consider

Your CV is the first step to landing your dream job, so the more time you spend on crafting yours to perfection, the better. Whether you haven’t applied for an aviation job for a while and need some tips, or you want to really impress a potential employer with a highly impressive CV, here are five golden laws you should always abide by:


Less is more!

Yes, you want to tell the recruiter all about your many skills and depth of experience, but if you say too much, you risk losing their attention altogether.

A CV which is longer than two pages is almost guaranteed to lose you that interview. Keep your CV straight-to-the-point and don’t waffle – cut out any sentences or words that don’t add value.


Always be specific to the role 

One of the most common CV mistakes is when applicants send a one-size-fits-all CV to numerous jobs. By doing this, you decrease your chances of impressing the recruiter, as they’ll recognise the lack of effort to tailor your CV to the role.

They want to see why you are right for their specific company and that specific role, so always match your skills, experience and qualifications to the ones listed in the job description.


Never lie 

When you really want the job but have no experience or just have a qualification or skill short, you might feel inclined to stretch the truth, or in other words, lie on your CV.

Whilst there is the moral issue that lying could play on your conscience, as far as your job chances are concerned, you are taking a huge risk as lies have a habit of coming back around to haunt you.

If your dishonesty doesn’t come back to bite you during interview, then it probably will when you start the job – and you might lose it altogether. It’s far better to be honest about what you can offer and bring transferable skills in from previous roles, side projects or your education, to fill any gaps.


Make it easy on the eye

You wouldn’t wear your ripped jeans and t-shirt to a job interview, because you know that what you look like makes a big impression.

Well, the same applies to your CV. If it looks like you’ve cobbled it together without much consideration for formatting and structure, then it will not impress.

Make your CV easy on the eye by using lists, bullet points, headings and bold formatting to highlight key information. This makes the recruiter’s job far easier, as they can easily scan the content and pinpoint the info they’re looking for.


Ensure it’s flawless

When there are many applicants applying for the same role, even the smallest mistake can take one person out of the hat.

The margin between getting invited for interview and not being invited could be very tight, so don’t let a silly mistake like not proofreading properly let you down. 

Use your spellchecker, proofread several times and ask someone with good attention to detail to look over your CV to provide feedback and reduce the chances of missing an error. 

If you follow these five golden laws, then you’ll be giving yourself a really good chance of winning an interview and showing the recruiter exactly why you are perfect for the role.



Andrew Fennell is the founder of CV writing advice website StandOut CV – he is a former recruitment consultant and contributes careers advice to websites like Business Insider, The Guardian and FastCompany.


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Travel industry rallies around Thomas Cook employees following the travel company’s collapse

Travel industry rallies around Thomas Cook employees following the travel company’s collapse

Thomas Cook staff have received a wave of support after it was announced the company went into administration.

Rival airlines, train operators and members of the public have been offering their help to the 21,000 staff who lost their jobs

The government has also pledged support to help those left without work.

Around 21,000 employees, 9,000 of whom are employed in the UK, are to be made redundant after the 178-year-old company ceased trading and went into compulsory liquidation this morning.

Peter Fankhauser, chief executive of Thomas Cook, said it was a matter of “profound regret” that it had been unable to secure a deal to save jobs and fulfil its obligations to customers and suppliers.

“Despite huge uncertainty over recent weeks, our teams continued to put customers first, showing why Thomas Cook is one of the best-loved brands in travel,” he said.

“Generations of customers entrusted their family holiday to Thomas Cook because our people kept our customers at the heart of the business and maintained our founder’s spirit of innovation.”

Thomas Cook’s UK employees have been advised to contact the Insolvency Service for redundancy and other payments. Although redundancy payments are usually paid by the government within 14 days of a claim being received, the Insolvency Service said “special arrangements” are being put in place to pay staff sooner.

Rebecca Thornley-Gibson from law firm DMH Stallard said employees will be able to claim for pay, statutory redundancy, holiday pay and notice payments. “If these are paid promptly, employees will at least have some time to catch their financial breath as they seek alternative roles elsewhere.”

The British Airline Pilots’ Association however have suggested staff do not know whether they will be paid this month. “While detailed plans to repatriate passengers have been carefully put together and ministers have and will continue to claim the credit for that, the staff have been stabbed in the back without a second’s thought,” it said in a statement.

Despite this awful news, Thomas Cook staff still went out of their way to ensure customers were put first, opening up stores to help them following the collapse. 

We cannot stress what a loss this is to the travel industry. Our thoughts are with every employee who has found themselves without work following this announcement. For jobs, please take a look on our site today and hopefully we can get you into another job in no time. 


Image by Kelvin Stuttard from Pixabay 

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