Airline Rejects 25% Of New Pilots On Psychological Grounds

The Germanwings tragedy left a lot of people in shock. While we know accidents happen, we naturally assume that pilots are going to be the ones trying to save the plane, and not the ones trying to crash it.

My personal (completely uneducated) opinion is:

  • If someone wants to pull something off, they’ll find a way to do it. In other words, while always requiring two people in the cockpit isn’t a bad idea, I’m not convinced that would actually prevent something similar from happening in the future.
  • There’s only so much that can be outwardly detected. Perhaps I’m being naive here, but I have a hard time imagining there are any sort of tests which could be performed on the hundreds of thousands of “active” pilots to truly tell whether they’re mentally “fit” to fly.
  • All this doesn’t mean we can’t put extra checks in place. My point is that nothing will with 100% certainty prevent something similar in the future, but at the same time that doesn’t mean we can’t do our best to try.

All this brings us to the rather shocking news reported by Air Transport World today. During Air India’s most recent intake of new pilots, over a quarter were rejected over concerns raised by the psychologists:

Indian flag carrier Air India has rejected some 25% of its most recent intake of new pilots following psychological reports on their mental stability.

The airline advertised some 197 vacancies for pilots, but only 160 were called in for interviews. However, for the first time, the final selection interview included personal analysis by psychology experts from the Indian Air Force.

As a result, only 78 of the potential employees were approved for employment. The remaining 42 were “rejected on concerns raised by [the] psychologists,” an Air India spokesperson said.

Air India is the first airline to have publicly acknowledged the need for stricter psychological profiling on potential aircrew. “If 25% of [potential pilots] have been red flagged by psychologists, it is a serious concern and should be looked into seriously,” Indian Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) spokesperson Mohan Ranganathan said.

Wow! It’s a bit ironic that the airline rejecting people on psychological grounds is the same one which won’t terminate a pilot who repeatedly shows up to work drunk.

But if 25% of new hires were rejected on psychological grounds, you can’t help but wonder what would happen if existing pilots underwent the same screening.

What do you make of this revelation from Air India?

Comments

  1. India is plagued with Islamic terrorism. Thius the need for caution when hiring pilots.
    For both political and union reasons once hired no one can be fired

  2. @Marcus

    So are you saying that airlines from countries that are predominantly Islamic are the only ones facing terrorism? And just for reference, India is more than 75% Hindu, without anything near a Muslim majority.

  3. @betterbub, I am Indian. Yes India is predominantly Hindu and I made no claims regarding Islamic countries.

    India is plagued by Islamic terrorism and groups such as SIMI are indoctrinating Indians

    Just like western countries are having difficulties with native born citizens joining ISIS India has a similar problem in spades. Except they are focussed domestically

  4. @Marcus . What are you talking about? These are psychological tests and it started after the Germanwings incident. Nothing related to terrorism. Even the world’s greatest terrorist can be psychologically stable (just that they have some sort of false strayed belief in their head). Are you implying that the Germanwings pilot is a terrorist? So the reason Air India conduct these test is just to filter out the terrorists. Unstable or prone-to-drunk pilots that may crash the plane would not be filtered in the test. herrrmmm….interesting. Air India of course >_<

  5. Something I have to repeat to myself everyday: don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good (or if I’m feeling sassy: better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without).

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