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RAAF Flight Screening Programme

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RAAF Flight Screening Programme

Old 15th Apr 2005, 12:40
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From all the people I've spoken to, including guys who have been through FSP and from guys who work at FSP, getting some flying experience is almost essential, but not entirely. No one will come out and say "You NEED flying experience", because the official stance is you don't. Like in the ad on TV, the guy says he became a Hornet pilot with no more flying experience than counting the times he'd flown in Jumbo's as a kid. Which I'm sure there are lots of pilots who have done it that way, because they show a genuine aptitude and talent for flying and learning to fly.

Getting experience, even if it's only a few hours because you had to scrimp and scrap and work ****ty jobs and long hours to afford it, shows you're motivated to fly. I've spoken to guys who went with no flying experience and were asked "Why do you want to be a pilot?", they respond with something like "It's what I've always wanted to do". The board can only then ask "Well, how do you know? Where's your proof? You've never flown an aircraft, how do you know you want to be a pilot? Go away, get some hours, show us you want to be a pilot, and come back."

So the long and the short.. getting some hours shows you're motivated. And it'll really tell you if you really do want to be a pilot or not. You never know, you mightn’t enjoy it.
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Old 15th Apr 2005, 14:39
  #182 (permalink)  

Not enough $$$ ...
 
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Fair call - I've got a few hours on real rotary, and about a hundred in a full size simulator ('cause I design and build them), it's just the FW that I'm not so confident with. I'm not interested in flying fixed wing, so I haven't gone out of my way to get any time in them so far.

See, for me, it just seems right to stop, then land, not the other way around.
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Old 16th Apr 2005, 03:45
  #183 (permalink)  
 
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Hornet Boy and other RAAF Aspirants

Most interested in you young ones progressing into the RAAF. I joined the RAAF as a trainee pilot as you want to be and then phased out into retirement after a long career which gave me the opportunity for a far wider flying experience than most. Too early for any opportunity for space but this was well compensated for by being actively engaged in the development and testing of high performance aircraft and RAAF aircraft acquisitions.

Part of a fascinating and satisfying career was as a flying instructor and then Central Flying School for the training of flying instructors and the maintenance of flying standards.

Having been on the receiving end of would be RAAF and RAN pilots and having been most dis-satisfied with some of those selected for training by the recruiters I am convinced that the selection process could have done considerably better at the source to reduce the wastage during training and the aggro for those who are found to be inadequate.

Other things being acceptable a would be RAAF pilot must have an acceptable level of manipulative co-ordination. I didn't realise I had my fair share of that attribute until my late teens when I took to doing some motor cycle racing. Fortunately for me I was an engineering under-graduate at the time of enlistment and I was 'snapped up'.

My recruiters had their sights on academics, attitudes and suitable physicals with little or zero attention to co-ordination. Consequently we ended up with a fellow on course who couldn't swing his arms in concert with his legs when walking. He didn't last long when flying training commenced.

More often than not, those having an inherent high level of manipulative co-ordination gravitate to involvement with machinery requiring manipulative skills. An aircraft would appear to have the ultimate requirement.

So, Hornet Boy and others, how do you rate your own relative co-ordination and how did the current recruiters determine your specifics in this area.? Do they know how to do it yet? Be critical of their system - they may be listening and improve their methods..

Meanwhile stay well clear of drugs, body piercing, tatts, smoking and the dole if you want to be the one to be considered most favourably. Nurture your communicative skills and become computer literate.
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Old 16th Apr 2005, 06:48
  #184 (permalink)  
 
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Milt: thats one thing i was always thinking about, i know to control an aircraft is a highly co-ordinated act, and it's something that is hard to accuratly test. The physcomotor tests DFR do test this ability a bit, but not to much i think.

Suppose I should be alright, seeing that i was competitive motor cycle trials rider and can Flair-tend behind a bar. Mow i just ahve to pass Pilot Spec testing next yr.
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Old 16th Apr 2005, 11:05
  #185 (permalink)  
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G'day Milt,

What was involved in the testing when you went through? It's not my place to make a conclusive judgement, because no matter what it's got to be a difficult job assessing every applicable aspect of every candidate to ensure they have what it takes for every phase of training and further service. For example, someone mentioned to me that while FSP can determine how well you learn basic aircraft manoeuvres, many people get to instrument flying and just can't handle it. But really, what more can you do about that, short of spending another few thousand $$'s and a lot more time getting EVERY candidate into real IF at maximum workload?

...At this point the best they can do is assess your motivation toward overcoming any obstacle put in your path. I'll second what Coran said about flying hours showing motivation. It really is something the OSB is looking for. The guys with minimal to no hours, especially the older ones, said they had a good grilling about it at the Board. But if you have a good reason for it (eg. sick and dying mother to take care of, 3rd world poverty, etc), you may be alright.

Regarding coordination specifically, there was only one coordination test I did at the Recruiting Centre. This is the one we're not allowed to talk about, but I think I can say it wasn't particularly comprehensive. (Although sufficiently confusing!) I've heard they may have introduced more coordination tests now. Anyone care to comment?

Milt, was the Flight Screening Program up and running when you went through? By that stage they're taking a pretty close look at us. I mean if you get through 10 flights and 2 sim rides without the ex-fighter/airline/etc BAe instructors not noticing your lack in coordination....then good job! Also what I appreciated was something called the "round table", where the instructors and Board members would meet to discuss the flying of the candidate. Who knows what sorts of jokes fly around the round table, but it's good to know that there's communication all round, as there can always be a degree of subjectiveness in the scoring of individual instructors.

Unfortunately I don't think I can give my actual results without having to explain how we were scored, and then the ADFPSA may be a tad displeased with me having disclosed that information. But I can say that the instructors were reasonably pleased with my "hands and feet", and bar some hard landings in the past , coordination has never been an issue with me.

While I'm not the biggest fan of the initial stages of recruiting, I must say that by the time you reach the FSP/OSB, the ADFPSA are putting a lot of effort into assessing you for the job. They keep mentioning a little something called "reasonable risk to the taxpayer" throughout. So they really seem to have their mind on the goal. And I have heard that the pass/fail rate on Pilots course is improving.

But if I may say one more thing about the process. I think it's quite a pity that a shortlist must be made for FSP/OSB beginning day one of assessment. It's pass/fail for every single test. At FSP/OSB, they make it clear that they are assessing the entire package of the candidate. Meaning if you're not the best flyer (but still not too hopeless), you may make up for it in other areas. And if you're a top gun, you'd have to be - I quote - "bl**dy brainless" not to be recommended by the Board. If you've read my posts from the start, you'll see that I've had to overcome some obstacles in my recruitment process, meaning I've tripped up on the many steps, and been prematurely told I was unsuitable. Fortunately for me there were always 2nd chances and I had the grace of time to re-try as I went through university.

Others haven't had 2nd chances. While the ADFPSA may have assessed their entire package to be a reasonable balance, the initial stages of recruiting haven't looked at them in that way, and scrapped them all too soon. I know it's hard, and expensive, to look at each new candidate as closely as they do in FSP, but I think that if they had that reasonable outlook, we would find more of the right people in FSP, hence saving money at that stage. Not saying the wrong people get to FSP, but I AM saying that a lot of people with great potential, and perhaps greater motivation, get passed up too soon, while sometimes someone who's simply got the ticks in the boxes finds himself in a CT-4.
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Old 16th Apr 2005, 12:27
  #186 (permalink)  
 
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Fellas.
If you get through the assesment day, and are reconmmended, is it automatic to get to Flight Screening? How long does it take to find out if and when it will happen?
Don
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Old 16th Apr 2005, 23:54
  #187 (permalink)  
 
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Don, it is not automatic that you'll go to flight screening. If you are successful through assessment day and get recommended then your dossier gets sent to PSA with everyone else who's recommended around the country. PSA give your dossier a score and put it on a pile. When it comes time to select the 7 or so lucky ones for the next FSP they go through the pile and select those that they consider to be most competitive.

My dossier has been down at Tamworth for about 8 months before I got the call to attend. Your dossier will stay for a maximum of 12 months, if you don't receive a call you're deemed uncompetitive and will have to reapply and go through assessment day again. There are some people who have waited out the 12 months before getting a call, there are others that don't have to wait very long.

Coran
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Old 17th Apr 2005, 01:54
  #188 (permalink)  
 
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Thanks for that Coran
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Old 17th Apr 2005, 09:11
  #189 (permalink)  
 
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Great post HB!

The last few paragraphs totally explains how i feel after just failing spec testing. The drive and detmermination that i feel inside of me can easily make up the very small shortfall that was found in insturment reading (of all things to fail on )

While understanding the need to cut the wannabes from the real stuff early on in the application process, having the spec testing as the 2nd step doesn't really assess the drive and motivation of the applicant. Maybe it would be more applicable to pay attention to such indicators earlier on rather than concentrate on pass/fail critera to wean the wannabes out. Perhaps hve the assessment day before the spec testing?

Random thoughts flying about in my head in the spare months that i have. None of this matters so it's hurry up and wait (to kill the testing next time)
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Old 18th Apr 2005, 07:08
  #190 (permalink)  
 
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Hornetboy and reacher

I feel I have opened up a can of worms when it comes to pondering how to determine levels of human dexterity and co-ordination of brain function with muscular control as related to pilot aspirants.

Having had experience with a deficient RAAF assessment system 40 odd years ago I had hoped that reasonably effective methods would have long since been developed if not by the RAAF then by other air forces, all of which will be continuing to seek the optimum quality of their aircrews.

My own recruitment in 1948 was very superficial with emphasis on medical, academics and some elementary aptitude testing leaving pilot potential to be investigated during the first 10 hours of elementary flight training. That 10 hours produced a very rough assessment of those who may make an acceptable pilot with the remainder diverted to be trained as other aircrew. Subsequent wastage became increasingly significant and costly.

Incidently it took me several early flying hours to become somewat familiar with the control of an aircraft rudder as they all operate in the reverse human instictive sense. Blame this on the Wright Bros who didn't want to cross over their rudder control cables.

Recruiters of aircrew are apparently not yet equipped with a satisfactory means for assessment of the relative intrinsic manipulative skill of us humans with any high level of confidence; and this is after I have spent half a lifetime in trying to ensure that many of the aircraft you may handle can be flown safely by the least capable in the system.

Experience indicates that the more intense the resolve of a would be pilot becomes then it is a fair bet that that person is being driven by an innate recognition of his/her own capabilities in expertly and precisely co-ordinating multiple muscular activities.

Must go and discuss with the RAAF Recruiters.
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Old 18th Apr 2005, 08:13
  #191 (permalink)  
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Reacher,

Cheers mate. What I was thinking was perhaps letting everyone complete the initial testing/interviews before getting someone(s) to consider the balance and make the judgement of whether they are suited to continue. Or even sending everyone's results to the *possibly enlarged* ADFPSA for that judgement.

Even medically, if someone's eyesight is slightly below criteria, if it can be corrected to 6/6 and that person shows great potential, why not give him a go? (I know, I'm a dreamer, but within reasonable grounds of course.) It seems to be just that Manpower has had to play a bit of elimination in a numbers game to get us down to size for the more expensive testing.

ANYWAY, back on topic...

Milt,

What you're saying is that it's possible that the more motivated a person is towards flying, the more capable/coordinated he/she is likely to be for the role? Kind of like our natural attraction to certain members of the opposite sex is possibly due to subconscious recognition of their reproductive abilities? (too many big words)

What changes would you propose to RAAF Recruiting?
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Old 18th Apr 2005, 10:03
  #192 (permalink)  
 
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Hornetboy and reacher

Just had a review of this thread from my perspective of one who did it all in the RAAF including some selection boards.

Some time ago there were some references on this thread to a rapidly diminishing level of literacy and how this may be viewed by the recruiters.
Believe me it will have some significance. If the present rate of decline is accepted by the recruiters communication on the flight decks will eventually have to be by a series of grunts. Whenever I see "i" used for "I" I know that person is too lazy to use the shift key and I wouldn't want that person on my flight crew or even in my Squadron. And when I see Australia typed with a small a I think I don't want to know you. It does matter. These are little windows into your literacy and your potential. Some of you expressing yourselves in this slovenly manner are not fit for acceptance by Australia's military elite even though generally you are innocent victims of school teachers who seem to have mostly gone feral.

All aspirants consider - you are trying to be the cream of the crop - not the dumbest.

Hornetboy - your decode of my attempt to define aptitude is spot on. One can sense it in children and wise parents are able to influence them into occupations which appear to be most suitable.

Too early yet for me to propose any changes to the RAAF recruiting assessment system. I don't know enough of the methods being used but intend to soon correct that situation.
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Old 18th Apr 2005, 12:17
  #193 (permalink)  

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For aptitude testing, ADF Recruiting uses a version of the WOMBAT system from Aero Innovations - http://www.aero.ca/e_main.html - which provides a very accurate measure of the applicant's aptitude in certain tasks.

Milt, you mention "pondering how to determine levels of human dexterity and co-ordination of brain function with muscular control as related to pilot aspirants" - ponder no more, this test does it all. That and the other batteries of tests given pilot applicants on the "Spec Testing" day give recruiters a very solid picture of the overall suitability of the applicant to perform the job.

Years of using these tests have given them the confidence to apply certain cutoff points with the scores.

These days, I believe much less emphasis is placed on academic achievement, however the testing will quickly determine if the applicant lacks basic mathematics skills essential in the cockpit.

This testing does not necessarily mean the applicant wouldn't be suited to a civilian flying career. The Defence Force is looking for a higher level of capacity for training, for learning and applying new material quickly, etc. I am told by those who have been through the system how easy it is to be scrubbed by failing one flight test. Tough, yes, but they aren't interested in babysitting people who might get it right with lots of practise - they're interested in the ones who will get it right quickly.

And they have the luxury to be choosy. There are still thousands of initial applicants who dream of being pilots. No shortage there. The hard part is holding on to the good ones. This is why if you are in the Defence Force as an aviator for longer than 10 years, you get almost an extra $30,000 per year just because you CAN fly. This is how a Major can be earning over $100,000 pa before he gets out of bed. If a helicopter pilot leaves the Defence Force he'd be lucky to be on 80% of that if he found a job at all.

See the bottom of page 8 of this thread for a bit more of a description of the overall process.
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Old 18th Apr 2005, 12:58
  #194 (permalink)  
 
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wishtobflying

Thanks a bunch for the reference to page 8. I had missed it in my review of the thread.

Now I have renewed confidence in the recruiters' assessment methods which in my day as a trainee and later as a flying instructor were almost non existent.

Having had a very active flying career covering 90 + types from Tiger Moths to F-111s, a fair share of being shot at and being able to shoot back, more than a fair share of flight testing on all types and now retired, I am unable to turn off my continuing concern for the upholding of aircrew and aircraft quality in Australia's military.
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Old 4th May 2005, 12:41
  #195 (permalink)  
 
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PSA, Tamworth, what really happens?

I am attending flight screening in Tamworth in a couple of weeks.

I am interested in what actually happens in the two week stay.

The people i've talked to have been fairly tight lipped and don't like to disclose what the testing guidlines are and what determines a pass. I've even had trouble decerning the nature of the assesments, why keep me for two weeks when you only perform 10 hours flying?

Any enlightenment would be greatly appreciated. Any comments on what to wear would also be welcome (formal, semi-formal, casual ect).

Cheers, Peach
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Old 4th May 2005, 14:05
  #196 (permalink)  
 
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Be yourself (but slightly better behaved).

It's better to overdress than it is to underdress.

Listen lots, don't brag about your supposed experience.

Be willing to learn, take time to study whatever notes they provide, show improvement daily.

If you don't understand something, just ask. If they don't tell you, give it a go.

Have fun !!
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Old 6th May 2005, 03:09
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Peachface,
Flight screening does involve a lot of study. The best way to fail is to treat it like a holiday. Your comment of "why keep me for two weeks when you only perform 10 hours flying?" has me a tad concerned.

The flying you do is not teaching you to fly, it is assessing your aptitude and learning rate for military flying. To enable you to pass there is a lot of info that they expect you to know, which they provide you with on day 1. If you don't know it, you won't pass. Simple.

Trust me, the two weeks will go very quickly when you study, fly, study, fly, study, etc. Oh and eat and sleep.

Even if you are already an aerobatic wizz, they will show you plenty of things you have never seen before. Add to that the fact that you fly two aircraft in those two weeks and i am sure you will not have that much spare time on your hands.

Cheers.
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Old 7th May 2005, 06:17
  #198 (permalink)  
 
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I've talked to a few people concerning the testing at Tamworth and they told me to study up on the UN, Australia's relations and policies with other countries and to practise counting backwards from 100 by 3s. Does anyone have any other suggested topics to study, and how throughly must i be versed in the above areas?
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Old 7th May 2005, 09:22
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Thanks mate, very well done, you've just succeeded in getting the OSB at Tamworth to change every question on their sheet!

I believe the saying is ... "All bets are off".
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Old 7th May 2005, 18:17
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There is no secret, just be yourself. If you try to 'be' what you think the RAAF is looking for you will disappoint and be disappointed. (or not appointed to be more correct) However the ability to count backwards from 100 by 7 could come in handy.

What to wear? Take an educated guess, its hard to be overdressed, v. bad to be underdressed. Finally, its best to remain clothed at all times, even after 67 pints of lager.
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