Pilot Aptitude Battery Test (PABT) - IAF PABT Test

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PABT AFCAT | Pilot Aptitude Battery Test (PABT)

All candidates aspiring to become a pilot are put through a battery of tests to check if they have an aptitude to be a pilot. This is a mandatory test for all candidates wanting to be a pilot irrespective of their choice of service. PABT as only the air force has this facility. For any questions in mind feel free to ask below in comments.

PABT Test:


Earlier, candidates were not put through any such tests. However, during World War II the NATO forces realized that not all pilots were successful on the job and that there were many accidents and crashes. Resultant research suggested that to be a successful military pilot the person should have certain innate attributes like agility, good reflexes, judgment, presence of mind and nerve to withstand severe mental and physical strains. This resultant in the development of PABT.

Also Read: AFCAT Syllabus, Paper Pattern and Eligiblity Criteria

 It is believed that if a candidate does not have the aptitude naturally he cannot be trained on these and hence, a candidate who fails in these tests once is permanently be trained on these and hence, a candidate who fails in these tests once is permanently rejected to be a pilot and no second chance is given to him/her. It is in the interest of both the candidate and the service not to take chances with such a high risk profession. Hence, across the country there is no coaching available for this test.

Also Read: Clear AFCAT exams in First Attempt

Even through one cannot be trained for PABT, it could be of some use to know the procedure and the various tests that are done so that the candidate is prepared mentally to approach the test. PABT includes the following tests:-

Written test based on instrument reading.
Light control test based on sensory motor apparatuses.
Drum test to check control of velocity.

Instrument Reading Test

Aircraft have instrument which indicate various parameters which the pilot is required to monitor. This is to see if the candidate can read the instrument and make mental calculations. Each instrument used in the test is described briefly in the subsequent paragraphs.

Magnetic compass (Gyroscope) this gauge indicates the direction of the fight. It has a suspended needle which always points towards the true north and with respect to the true north one can read the direction in which the aircraft is flying.

Air speed indicator this instrument provides the speed of the air which is a vital parameter for flying operation. This instrument provides the indicated air speed that is required to be corrected for certain instrument and positional errors to arrive at true air speed in kilometers or miles.

Altimeter this instrument provides the height at which the aircraft is flying. It is measured in feet or yard. This instrument has three needles like a wrist watch. On this, the smallest needle indicates height in multiples of 100 feet.

Artificial Horizon this instrument provides a reference in terms of horizon for indicating climb, descent, right turn and left turn of the aircraft.

Turn Indicator this instrument indicates the turn on either side of the aircraft. In turning left, the black ball remain in the middle and the white needle moves right the needle shifts to the left.

Climb and descent indicator this instrument indicates the position of the aircraft in terms of climbing, the needles moves upwards and when the aircraft is on descent, the needles moves down.
Light control test

In this test, the candidate is made to sit in front of a CRT monitor. The chartered path of the fight is defined in that and the candidate is asked to fly along the chartered path by keeping the light which represents the aircraft on the monitor. On the chartered path. The instrument will simulate real time situation of loosing height, tilting etc and the candidate is expected to control using joystick, foot pedals and lift lever which are similar to actual controls available onboard an aircraft.

Drum Test

This is another test to check the control/motor skills of the candidate. In this, there is a drum of about eight feet length and one feet diameter. There are lines marked on the surface of the drum with some holes on each line. The candidate is given a knob to control which is very sensitive. The drum is rotated and the candidate is expected to align the knob with the lines on the drum as it rotates since, the knob is very sensitive, it is not so easy to do that. This aptitude is required to maintain the fight under normal and turbulent weather conditions when the wind velocity disturbs the flight trajectory and even causes the fight to loose height suddenly.

While the above tests have been described to some extend, it is not possible to explain the entire thing as it is very unconventional and unfamiliar. Further, there is no way that a candidate can practice and improve his performance and hence it suffices to know the broad details of this test.

Also Read: Complete SSB Preparation 

This was all about PABT Test. Hope you came to know about the various indicators used in this test. Keep following us for more details on AFCAT exams and also tips to clear PABT test. 

Good luck!!!!

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