IATA’s Guidance Material and Best Practices for Pilot Aptitude Testing (2010) is an excellent summary document that describes the standard approach to developing a pilot selection system. Pilots and Human Resource personnel who have limited formal exposure to selection system development will find this a useful document. However, it does have three major limitations. First, Guidance Material and Best Practices for Pilot Aptitude Testing was meant for an international audience. For this reason, it cannot address the development and use of a pilot selection system within the legal context of a specific country. Air carriers incorporated in countries with extensive legal issues surrounding selection and hiring, such as the United States and South Africa, will need to consult other sources. Second, the document does not describe any of the statistical methods needed to validate individual tests or the selection system as a whole. Validation is necessary to ensure that the selection system is working as expected, i.e. it is identifying the best candidates. It also ensures that the costs of developing and running the system can be justified. Much information is available on validation strategies for selection systems, including several recent books. Third, the underlying science is never really explained. The most significant lack concerns models of human abilities and skills. These models help identify the skill and abilities that should be assessed in a pilot selection system.
Damos Aviation Services, Inc. offers a 2-day course on pilot selection that can fill in the gaps of this IATA report. Please see the Pilot Selection Course under the “Short Courses and Workshops” menu.
Guidance Material and Best Practices for Pilot Aptitude Testing is available for free from IATA. It may be download from this page: http://www.iata.org/publications/Pages/pilot-testing.aspx