Aviation Screening Program

Due to the introduction of the Pilatus PC21 aircraft into the Pilot Training System (PTS), and the withdrawal of the PC9 and CT4 aircraft, the Flight Screening Program (FSP) at Tamworth will cease to be used for pilot selection from January 2018. It is not viable (safe, fair or practical) to conduct airborne screening events in a sophisticated, high-performance, ejection seat equipped aircraft like the PC21, therefore the RAAF will be introducing a new computer based aviation aptitude testing system in 2018 to screen, on behalf of all three Services, candidates interested in an Officer Aviation (OA) Career.  

Unlike the FSP, which only assesses candidates for their potential to be trained as a pilot in the Australian Defence Force (ADF), the new aviation aptitude testing system will also be able to simultaneously assess candidate’s potential to be trained in all of the ADF OA Job Types (except Navy AvWO).  For more information on the Navy and Army Aviation Careers go to Defence Jobs.

The aviation aptitude testing will take place at RAAF Base East Sale and will be part of a new screening program that will be called the Aviation Screening Program (ASP).  The organisation that is responsible for conducting the ASP at East Sale is called the Aviation Candidate Management Centre (ACMC).

East Sale was chosen for the location of the ASP because East Sale will become the centre for OA training for the ADF when pilot training moves there in 2019. All the aviation training schools at East Sale will be known collectively as the Air Academy (AirA).  Every OA student, regardless which Service they join, will conduct at least some of their OA Initial Employment training (IET) at the AirA. 

The ASP is more than just testing; it also has an educational component, where candidates will have the opportunity to learn about all the ADF OA jobs types, not just pilot and not just Air Force. Because the AirA will have instructors from all the different OA job types and from across the three Services, it is the perfect location for candidates to improve their knowledge of the OA jobs within the ADF. Candidates will also stay in the same accommodation type and eat in the same Mess as the AirA students at East Sale so they will get a real feel for what it will be like to be on course.

The ASP will only run for two days (plus travel) rather than the two weeks that is currently required to attend FSP, making it more available to candidates.  Not only will the duration of the program make it easier for students and people who have a job to attend, but also the number of candidates that can be screened will be much greater than the current capacity of the FSP.

The ASP is a new screening process for a new aviation training system at the AirA at RAAF Base East Sale and is therefore not just a replacement of the FSP.  Aside from the duration of the ASP, there are other differences when compared to FSP:  

  • Results. At FSP, candidates are not given a score on how they performed in the technical assessment (i.e. scores from the CT4 sorties) whereas with the ASP, candidates will be given a printout of their aviation aptitude results.
  • Reattempts. Because the aviation aptitude testing is assessing cogitative ability rather than being a work sample, candidates who are not selected will be able to make another attempt after only 12 months, rather than the current three year wait after attempting a FSP.

Separate OSB

At FSP, after completing the CT4 Flights, all candidates participate in a tri-service Officer Selection Board (OSB) regardless of how they performed in the flights.  In the new selection process the ASP and the OSB will be two separate events.  Only those candidates who achieve the required results during the ASP will be invited to complete an OSB. 

Service OSBs

Each Service will conduct their own OSBs. Candidates are invited to attend an OSB.Where that OSB takes place will be up to each Service. 

Pilot Selection

The date of the introduction of ASP aligns with the relocation of the Pilot training school from Tamworth to RAAF Base East Sale and the introduction of the PC21 into flying training. RAAF and Navy pilot students will start training on the PC21 in Jan 2019 and Army students will follow in Jan 2020.  All pilot candidates for the 2018 ADFA intake, regardless of service, will still be selected using the current FSP.  Additionally, students for the last RAAF pilot course on the CT4, which starts in mid-2018, will also still be selected using the FSP.  Due to the differing length of Initial Officer Training (IOT), recruiting for the last few CT4 courses at Tamworth for Army and Navy has already closed. Therefore from March 2018, the ASP will be used to screen all ADF Officer Aviation candidates (except AvWO).   

Because the ASP is not a replacement for the FSP, attendance of a FSP is not a barrier to attend an ASP, even if not recommended at FSP.

Air Combat Officer (ACO) and Joint Battlefield Airspace Controller Selection (JBAC)

The current selection process for ACO and JBAC will remain in place until February 2018. From March 2018 all candidates will be screened using the aviation aptitude testing system. 

Previous Flying Experience

Unlike the FSP, previous flying experience has no effect on ASP results; therefore all candidates will complete exactly the same ASP regardless of previous flying experience. 

Military aviation is distinct in many ways from civilian aviation. Consequently, the RAAF OA courses have a different training philosophy to many civilian flying schools. Students are expected to progress at a rate which will confirm their suitability for subsequent operational conversions.

Previous flying experience (eg, light aircraft, glider, ultra-light or helicopter) is considered an indication of aviation motivation but does not necessarily confer any advantage on a RAAF OA course. Indeed, some applicants have found it difficult to adapt to military techniques as a result of their previous experience. Others have found their previous experience helpful.

 While the RAAF neither encourages nor discourages potential applicants to consider flying lessons prior to appointment, candidates will not undergo any of their assessment in actual aircraft.  Therefore candidates who were assessed as suitable at the ASP, particularly those wanting to become pilots, should consider an air experience flight (in a light aircraft, glider, ultralight or helicopter) to confirm their motivation for an aviation career. (It would be a shame to go through the whole selection process, undergo officer training and then find out while undergoing Initial Employment Training that you don’t like being in an aircraft.) Having some actual aviation experience may also assist you in explaining to the ROSB why you want an Officer Aviation career.

Summary

The Aviation Screening Program (ASP) is a new program and not just a replacement of the Flight Screening Program (FSP). All candidates who have a preference for an Officer Aviation career in the ADF will attend ASP, regardless of Service and regardless of job type preference (except AvWO). The ASP will have an educational component and won’t just be assessment. The ASP will run for two days, not two weeks, and will be located at RAAF Base East Sale. The ASP will use a computer based aviation aptitude testing system rather than assessing candidates in an aircraft. The number of people who can attend an ASP will be much greater than that of the FSP.  Aviation aptitude testing results are provided immediately after completion of activities. Candidates who are not selected will be able to attend another ASP after 12 months. In this case candidates will need to reapply to Defence Force Recruiting (DFR). OSBs will be conducted separately from ASP and ASP results will determine if who is invited to attend an OSB. Each Service will conduct their own OSBs. Having attended a FSP is not a barrier to attend an ASP and the waiting period after attempting a FSP does not apply. The computer-based aviation aptitude testing is unaffected by previous flying experience, therefore will help or hinder performance. 

The ASP will commence in March 2018.