Would you agree that for the last couple of months the words online, e-learning, e-training, distance support, etc., have become the cornerstone of living in quarantine? The basic outdoor activities have been limited up to several clicks and meetings via platforms enabling virtual communication.

But what about aviation? What about pilot training? What about pilots’ assessment? Is it over? Has the process been halted until aircraft are lifted from the ground?

Aviation is going through the unprecedented times, indeed. However, the industry is quickly adapting to new reality and new standards, where possible. For example, did you know that the planemaker Airbus has launched aircraft e-delivery process? Amazing transformations!

Meanwhile aviation education at a number of training centres has not been paused, especially in terms of theoretical preparation and assessment processes which are carried out online.

Online Pilot Assessment: What? How? Where?

For some training centres which adopted online assessment approaches prior to the crisis, it has already become a standard procedure.

The quarantine and global travel restrictions only contributed to online selection quicker becoming an effective and feasible service on the market. Not to omit the fact that it is also approved by regulatory bodies.

For example, BAA Training, one of the TOP 3 biggest independent training centres in Europe, has been holding candidates’ assessment online since 2019.

Now, in accordance with all the regulations and relevant approved processes, its team, led by Agne Novikiene, a Competence Centre Director, is further meeting new candidates and interacting with potential students in the virtual environment.

For the clear beginning, some of the most common questions & answers:

How Many Stages form the Online Assessment and How Long Does it Take to Complete the One?

The structure and duration of the online assessment are identical to the regular one carried out at a training centre. The whole assessment takes 4.5 hours and consists of the four following parts:

  • cut-e cognitive abilities
  • cut-e English
  • cut-e personal traits, competencies
  • interview with an assessment specialist.

What Does a Candidate Need to Have for the Online Assessment?

As the word ‘online’ suggests itself, first of all, a candidate needs a very good Internet connection and a computer to be able to connect, complete tests and contact with an assessment team representative.

Also one needs a camera, which should be active throughout the assessment (if a computer has an integrated camera – it would be perfectly enough).

Further keeping the topic of the key devices, a candidate needs a working computer mouse and headphones. Before the assessment, though, one will be provided with the full list of essential items.

How to Prepare for the Online Assessment?

The way of preparation for the online assessment is absolutely the same as for the regular assessment at the training centre. It is advisable to revise basics of maths, physics and English.

Also, a candidate can prepare by doing sample tests aimed at preparation for the assessment which are available on the Internet. A good preparation tool could be considered, for example, games simulating flights. These could help shape complex control or spacial orientation skills. Moreover, there are various applications which can help develop such abilities as logical thinking, etc.

Advantages of Online Assessment. What Are They?

Although the whole procedure is the same, tests are the same and methods are the same, there is one important aspect making online assessment a bit different from the one carried out at a training centre – a candidate can do this at any preferable location.

Particularly this difference provides a candidate with some substantial benefits. Benefits that could contribute to successful pass.

Favourable environment. One of the advantages is a well-known environment that could help maintain a lower stress level and help concentrate better.

Nevertheless, with an online assessment a candidate can stay at home, choose a quiet place, make sure that none disturbs in the upcoming five hours and possibly make a great start into the professional pilots’ world.

Decreased mental exhaustion of traveling. When a candidate is travelling to do an assessment and the journey to a training centre takes at least two or three days, one becomes tired, at any case. Especially when the time zones are quite different and the internal clock gets lost for a while.

“Throughout our experience in doing assessments, we have noticed that this feeling of travelling tiredness could negatively impact candidate’s readiness and tests’ results. Especially when there is no or very little rest between a journey and assessment time.

When one undergoes the assessment while staying at a place of living, there is a greater possibility to avoid this. Although a candidate has to pick from available assessment times and adjust to it, most probably, this will affect one less than traveling exhaustion”, Agne Novikiene shares her insights.

Less expenses. Online assessment is also a possibility to save on travelling and accommodation.

Most Challenging Aspects. What Are They?

Of course, in line with huge advantages, a candidate can be faced with some challenges. Technical challenges. The most important thing that both sides should have – very strong Internet connection.

Due to the fact that a lot of businesses have been currently transferred into the virtual world and a large part of the population is working remotely, our global connectivity can sometimes spring an unpleasant surprise.

Even though candidate’s connection is usually good, there is no guarantee that it will not become a bit poorer for a while. Especially considering the fact that during the whole process a camera must be active. The same applies to the other side – the assessment team.

“Technical issues are difficult to predict. But still it is not such a big deal that cannot be overcome. Challenges make us stronger while candidates can even derive an additional benefit by demonstrating their ability to appropriately react to such an issue. Quick yet calm and emotionless reaction is a very important skill every pilot should possess”, explains Agne Novikiene.

“If we ask a candidate to repeat the answer or question because of connection problems, it does not mean that a candidate said something wrong. It is a valuable ability to not get lost and stay confident with answers”.

Why Is It Worth Doing Online Assessment Now?

Many of candidates may wonder why it is worth doing it now, when the crisis is halfway and situation has little certainty.

First of all, now candidates can dedicate more time for preparation and increase their chances to successfully pass the selection. Usually candidates are busy with their works, education and personal plans so it is difficult to find enough time to sufficiently prepare and go through the assessment. Now, when the whole world has stopped for a while, they can effectively use this waiting time.

Finally, every crisis ends and this one will end, too. Aviation will set itself on the recovery path and begin getting back to normal, to ‘new normal’. The industry would be different after the crisis is weathered.

Therefore, after a candidate that successfully goes through the assessment now completes pilot training in approximately two years, it is highly possible that one will get professionally ready to enter a wholly new aviation already soaring to its new heights.