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 ceased to be used for pilot selection in 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 have introduced a new computer based aviation aptitude testing system in to screen, , candidates interested in an Officer Aviation (OA) Career.
Unlike the FSP, which only assessed candidates for their potential to be trained as a pilot in the Australian Defence Force (ADF), the new aviation aptitude testing system is also 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 takes place at RAAF Base East Sale and is a part of a new screening program that is 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 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 runs for two days (plus travel) rather than the two weeks that was required to attend FSP, making it available to more candidates. The duration of the program makes it easier for students and people who have a job to attend.
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. ASP, candidates will be given a printout of their aviation aptitude results, a letter advising them that they have or have not met the required standing plus for those that have met the required standard at a high enough level will receive a letter of invitation to attend one or more Officer Selection Boards (OSB).
- 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.
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.
All pilot candidates for the 2019 ADFA intake, regardless of service, will still be selected using the ASP testing system.
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.
Officer Aviation Mission (OAM) Selection
The new aviation aptitude testing system is also able to simultaneously assess candidate’s potential to be trained in all of the ADF OA Job Types . All OAM candidates for the 2019 ADFA intake, will still be selected using the ASP 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.
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 has an educational component and is not just an assessment. The ASP runs for two days, and is located at RAAF Base East Sale. The ASP uses a computer based aviation aptitude testing system rather than assessing candidates in an aircraft. The number of people who can attend an ASP is 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 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 neither help nor hinder performance.
The ASP commenced in March 2018.