DGCA finalises psychometric test parameters

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New Delhi | Published: July 24, 2015 12:43:27 AM

The Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has finalised the parameters for psychometric tests for pilots, which will be made mandatory...

The Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has finalised the parameters for psychometric tests for pilots, which will be made mandatory for both private airlines and Air India.

A senior DGCA official said that the recommendations have been sent for review and based on them, the guidelines will be made. “There are four main points we have made in the recommendations,” said the official, who is part of three-member committee who worked on the recommendations.

The four recommendations highlight the different levels at which the tests will be done. A pilot will go for the test for the first time when he enrolls as a flight training officer (FTO), the second time when he joins any airline company, the third time when he becomes a flight commander, and the fourth time if and when there is a mishap, or any occurrence during flying.

The psychometric test is part of the overall guidelines that is being prepared on the overall health and mental conditions of pilot and flight crew. The recommendations have been sent to the Institute of Aviation Medicine, the air force and to the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), which has a separate wing of psychologists.
“Based on these the feedback from the various organisations to whom the recommendations have been sent, the guidelines will be formulised,” said the official. The various organisations are expected to put in their comments on the recommendations in the next few weeks. The official also said that once guidelines are made the tests will be mandated to all pilots. However, there is no clarity if the existing pilots will go through the tests.

Psychometric tests are a method to analyse the mental condition of pilots and other flying staff. These tests took the world by storm after a Germanwings co-pilot (allegedly suffering from depression) locked his fellow co-pilot outside the cockpit and crashed the plane in the French Alps killing 150 passengers earlier this year, killing all its passengers.

The DGCA official also said that private airlines have given their inputs into what parameters the tests should include. Meanwhile, some private airlines like IndiGo, Jet Airways, SpiceJet and GoAir have already done some psychometric tests on pilots. The extent, however, has not been defined so far.

Earlier, it has been reported that state-owned airline Air India has mandated psychometric tests for all its newly-hired pilots and cabin crew. The tests are done through a written procedure in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Psychometry.

But there have been some criticism by aviation experts over these tests. An aviation expert said that these tests are not able to find if a pilot is suffering from depression. The experts also said that the DGCA should look at ways which brings down stress levels of the pilots.

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