"The quality of the box matters little. Success depends on the man who sits in it." (Von Richthofen, 2007)
Led by a Human Factors specialist with over 20 years of experience in developing and implementing selection for pilots, instructors, examiners and managers, who has also researched and developed a pilot personality tool designed on real word line performance. Further, our associate Aviation Psychologist is a gentleman that adds wide experience from developing programs in major EU airlines, he also worked at a major aviation research institute and is well published.
Current pilot selection was developed from the techniques used in military pilot selection that started with the formal identification of job specific behaviours, competencies, and personality traits, gathered though a job analysis. The analysis identified the relevant knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics ( or KSAO) required (Lescreve, 2001), that form the core of today's effective and robust military pilot selection. This combination of personality with psychomotor and cognitive testing has been identified to reduce training costs, produced mission ready pilots and has resulted in fewer accidents (O'Connor & Cohn, 2009).
Pilot personality became headlines news with the dramatic event of the loss of Germanwings flight 9525 on the 24 March 2015. This very led to immediate action from the European Commission (EC), who instructed the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to create a Task Force to carry out an in-depth analysis on the assessment of pilots, including psychological evaluation (EASA, 2015). The initial Task Force recommendations of July 2015, require that all airline pilots undergo a psychological evaluation, including personality assessment, as part of training or prior to entry into an airline. With the aim of identifying candidates who are suitably balanced and to 'select out':
"exclude applicants whose personality factors elevate the risk of later behavioural problems " (EASA, 2015).
For the majority of candidates the key importance, is the need for airlines to 'select in' pilots who will perform well within the specific airline culture (globalisation of the pilot pool, multi-cultural operations), this requires the need for a pilot personality norm to be based on pilot performance in normal line operations, those who exhibit natural resilience to cope with the challenges of stress, fatigue, day to date threats and have the potential to deal with the growing 'Black Swan' events. Thus, the development of a Performance Based Professional Pilot Personality Profile,that allows linking performance and cultural factors, driven by the market globalisation and the reducing pilot pool, combined with a holistic approach to pilot selection. This combination allows for cost effective selection, regulatory compliance and getting the right pilot for your operational culture.
EASA. (2015). Task Force on Measures Following the Accident of Germanwings Flight 9525: Final Report.
Lescreve, N. F. J. (2001). Officer Selection.
O'Connor, P. E. & Cohn, J. V. (2009). Human Performance Enhancement in High-Risk Environments: Insights, Developments, and Future Directions from Military Research: Insights, Developments, and Future Directions from Military Research. ABC-CLIO.
Von Richthofen, M. (2007). Red Fighter Pilot: The Autobiography of the Red Baron. . Red and Black Publishers.