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From 14th February 2021 EASA’s regulations come into force regarding psychological assessment of pilots.

This is compliance with EASA directive EDD 2018//012R (relating to CAT.GEN.MPA.175 Endangering Safety)


Put simply:


AOC’s must ensure that pilots have undergone a psychological assessment before they commence line flying in order to:


1)  Identify psychological attributes and suitability of the flight crew in respect to the work environment; and
2)  Reduce the likelihood of negative interference with the safe operation of the aircraft.

This should be undertaken at least within the past 24 months before commencing line flying unless it is deemed that a previous assessment is still adequate for the risk mitigation required by ORO.GEN.200(a)(3).

A psychological assessment performed by one AOC may subsequently be accepted by a different AOC, provided that the latter is satisfied that the assessment has been performed in accordance with AMC1 CAT.GEN.MPA.175(b). 


The regulation requires a psychological assessment process overseen by a qualified psychologist (or someone under their


How do the regulations apply to smaller operations?


For non-complex AOC holders (workforce of 20 or fewer full time equivalents):


The psychological assessment can be replaced by an internal assessment of the psychological attributes and suitability of the flight crew.  


The internal assessment for non-complex operators should as far as possible apply the same principles as the psychological assessment for complex operators.


CAP recommends the following psychological assessment format for small, non-complex operators e.g. Biz Av AOC’s:


• A Personality Assessment (administered online) 

• A Cognitive ability test

• A measure or Career Expectations and Cultural fit (administered online)

• Career Events Questionnaire 

• Psychologist: Video interview

What is required?


From 14th February 2021


  • not a clinical assessment of mental health

  • not about psychological fitness, mental health or predisposition to mental health disorders or suicidal thinking/action. 


Instead it will be an airline’s responsibility to assess the personality of candidate pilots and determine their potential fit to the airline and the flying role in question. 


It needs to be defined by a job analysis that will identify the safety crucial dimensions of the pilot’s role and tailored to the particular operational environment of the airline.  


Assessment will need to examine a pilot’s cognitive abilities, personality traits and the social competences required for effective Crew Resource Management (CRM). 


  • The assessment needs to examine factors identified as interfering with the safe operation of the aircraft (e.g. lack of assertiveness, authoritative behaviour, poor decision making and lack of situational awareness) 

  • It will examine characteristics of the person, the job and the operation 

  • And it will measure a person’s signature strengths, development areas, performance and career potential


For this, CAP recommends a combination of psychometric assessment (Personality and Cognitive testing) and interview.

The psychological assessment is not a ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ exercise. It will provide additional data upon which the AOC can base their selection decision.

This is not new…

Commercial aviation will now use recruitment best practices long established in every other industry, to assess high risk, high value employees and find the best fit for the job.  In the business world, the cost of a poor executive recruitment choice is estimated to be 18 times the recruit’s salary.  


What could the cost be to your operation of a poor hire?


What is the value of psychological assessment to an AOC?


It’s not just about compliance with regulation.


Psychological assessment can:


  • Improve and inform decisions when selecting pilots

  • Provide multiple objective data points upon which to select

  • Assess cognitive ability, personality and fit with the organizational culture

  • Mitigate risk and cost of poor selection decisions

  • Highlight no-tech training needs 

  • Identify leadership potential in junior pilot recruits

CAP Psychological Assessment


CAP provides valuable and cost efficient insights for interview panels to make better-informed employment decisions, reduce the risk of excluding good candidates, and the cost of recruiting weaker or poor-fit pilots.

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