China / Government

Air force plans to modify pilot selection process

By ZHAO LEI (China Daily) Updated: 2014-11-17 07:52

The People's Liberation Army air force will upgrade its pilot selection procedure, adding individual psychological tests and flight simulation to the country's strictest recruitment process, air force officials said.

"Compared with the current psychological tests that assess up to 40 candidates each time by projecting questions on the screen, the new platform can examine individual applicants through the tablet computer," Lieutenant Colonel Xiao Dong, deputy head of the PLA air force's pilot recruitment bureau, said at a news conference in Zhuhai, Guangdong province.

"The new method can avoid mutual distraction observed in the group tests and make the result more accurate and equitable," he added.

In addition, candidates will face a new test that simulates real flight, Xiao said. The test will start next year at the air force's Shenyang pilot selection center in Liaoning province.

Currently, applicants for pilot training at the PLA Air Force Aviation University are required to undergo a physical checkup, psychological assessment, background clearance and tests that assess their knowledge of a wide range of subjects, such as Chinese, mathematics and physics.

Wang Ya'nan, deputy editor-in-chief of Aerospace Knowledge magazine, said the improvement to the pilot selection process indicates the PLA air force is putting more emphasis on pilots' psychological quality and quick reaction capability.

"Today's air operations often take place within less than one minute, requiring pilots to make a decision and take appropriate action in a very short time," he said. "Therefore a pilot must be very good in responding to contingencies and have outstanding psychological qualities."

PLA air force spokesman Colonel Shen Jinke said at the news conference that the air force will deepen the reform on its pilot selection process. He added that the move aims to attract more talented people to serve in the air force, which plans to own an integrated air and space capability and balanced strength in both defensive and offensive operations as President Xi Jinping has requested.

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