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Air India Begins Psychological Testing On Applicant Pilots, Some Say Its Flawed

May 18, 2015 - Air India has for the first time instituted a psychological test on applicant pilots, as a result of, what is believed to have been the deliberate downing of Germanwings Flight 9525 by the co-pilot, 27-year-old Andreas Lubitz. Back on March 24th, Germanwings Airbus A320 crashed into the French Alps killing all 150 onboard.

Air India has recently rejected 42 applicant pilots out of 160 as a result of those pilots not passing a psychological test. Of the 160 pilot, only 78 were able to continue on for pilot training and approved for employment with the carrier. Air India was assisted with the psychological testing by the Indian Air Force.

Indian Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) spokesperson Mohan Ranganathan said “If 25 percent of potential pilots have been red flagged by psychologists, it is a serious concern and should be looked into seriously”.

After the results were published, a group of applicant pilots that were rejected, fired off a letter to Air India executives in which they indicated the psychological test was flawed and not conducted properly. In the letter the pilots wrote “A pilot cannot be judged in a psychometric test in a span of 10 minutes and, that too, via verbal communication. Without conducting a proper psychometric test, how can a doctor conclude that all the rejected candidates are mentally unfit? If that is the case, then can Air India explain how among the rejected candidates there are some who have been selected to pilot Go Air and Indigo Airlines.”

“If we were mentally unstable, then why grant us medical certificate in the first place? Instead of a written test or a detailed questionnaire, the doctor just asked us random questions for 10 minutes and was scribbling notes the whole time, without inquiring about any medical condition or prior mental health history or checking our records”.



The pilot applicants that were rejected are requesting Air India officials re-evaluate the list and conduct a mandatory written test for all the 160 short-listed candidates, which would give a more proper insight into the candidate’s mental status rather than just one doctor making the evaluation, that too in a 10-minute verbal communication. In an email response to the group,  Air India spokesperson said “The tests were verbal and the doctor took notes. We are following FAA guidelines and got a psychologist from the Air Force. This is the first time that a psychologist from the Indian Air Force is being associated with the selection board. Candidates found suitable by the selection board, which includes the psychologist, and taking into account the marks obtained both in simulator proficiency assessment check and personal interview, they have been empanelled for the post merit-wise.”

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