An Idiots guide to Flying Aptitude Tests required


Lantern Swinger
I know this sound a dumb question but can anyone explain the purpose of the Flying Aptitude Tests?

I always assumed that the candidate sat the tests and were told that they had the mental ability for fixed or rotary wing pilot / observer / airtraffic control but if a candidate doesn't sit the tests how do they/RN know?

Everything on the net with regards the tests seem to be geared to the RAF !

FATs are the same for both services. The purpose of the tests are to see if they have ability/aptitude to cope. If a candidate doesn't take the test they will never know!


Lantern Swinger
Sorry have a zillion things running through my head so probably didn't make myself clear.

On the application form a candidate has to state that they want to enter the Fleet Air Arm but not necessarily to become a pilot / observer etc although I guess conversations with the AFCO would give them a good idea.

But until the candidate does the tests (both normal and the flying aptitude ones) how does the RN know what positions the candidate has the ability to become?

I'm thinking here of the implications of intake to BRNC.


War Hero
We only send those who state they wish to become Pilot/Observer/ATCO on Flying Aptitude Test.

The only other Officers joining the Fleet Air Arm have an Engineering degree.


Lantern Swinger
So if a candidate expresses an interest in becoming a pilot then the process is followed as if they have the ability to be a pilot as there aren't any cadet pilots being sent to BRNC this year then the process could be stalled even though the flying aptitude tests may indicate they have only the ability to be an observer ....or are the levels required for an observer and a pilot the same .....or does an observer require more ability than a pilot.

Sorry for the ramblings where's that bottle of red gone???
Oh purleaseee, don't tell me another of your offspring aspires to a career in the RN?
I bet the staff of your local AFCO have a Wanted type picture of you in the Mess Room with 'Serial Nutter' at the top.
If you're enquiring on behalf of another why not simply tell them to go to the horses mouth, as it were and get the facts first hand, or are you setting up in competition to those who actually know what they're talking about?


Lantern Swinger
Ah NZ .....nice to see you're stalking me.....must mean you care.

Can't wait to see which one of the other admirers posts something [strike]useless[/strike] useful
Ah NZ .....nice to see you're stalking me.....must mean you care.
Stalking but not in a good way.
I see in your thread title that you're honest enough about your mental abilities so I'll give you credit for that.
Is this person who you're asking questions for another shortsighted bedwetting asthmatic son? I'm sure he'll be found to be as spesh as 'Junior.'

Can't wait to see which one of the other admirers posts something [strike]useless[/strike] useful
Admirers? I think you should put down the cask of Vino Collapso from Aldi and step away from the computer you drunken hag.
Dear God, woman; what part of this are you having difficulty with?

FATS is done before AIB. How does that tie in with your theories?

PS, strikethrough doesn't appear to work on this site, but I note that it does on Mumsnet. Why don't you sod off over there instead, where you could chat with Riven about the difficulties involved with bringing up children.
Okay, I'll try to muddle through your red wine haze 8O

You want to be a pilot, so you apply through your AFCO. Following the AFCO's assessment of your qualifications and suitability, you are sent to do the aptitude tests. It may be the case that you have already passed the same aptitude tests, for instance, when applying for flying scholarships through the Air Training Corps etc, in which case you will not need to resit them if they were successfully completed in the recent past. After passing the aptitude tests you will proceed to the AIB, the general medical and then, specifically, the aircrew medical. Assuming you leap through all those hoops then you are now in a position where their Admiralships will decide what they want to offer to whom, based on the needs of the Service and the grade of success at each stage of the selection process. It is then up to you to decide if you'd like to accept their offer.

Some candidates will not score so well on the hand-eye type tests but will do well in the maths and these are likely to be offered Observer (assuming they have sufficient pilot applicants and a dearth of zeros). Pilots will have to do well in both categories. I do not know how they judge air traffic controllers or fighter controllers.

At the end of the day, a LOT of observers originally applied for pilot but were not offered the position. When I joined the RN was desperate for boys to sit in the back of Sea Kings and the left seat of Lynx and many of my mates through BRNC had passed for pilot and observer but they were not offered pilot because the RN's needs came first. I assume those that were offered pilot were deemed more suitable by virtue of their scores in the FATs and, less so, the AIB.

What will happen now, if the RN don't want pilots? Well, they may well offer an alternative choice, such as '0' or ATC. They may advise waiting until a pilot slot comes up. They might mutter about becoming a fishead and transferring pilot at a later date (if you believe that you don't deserve to be a pilot). Of course, they may even suggest the RAF :sad3:

Okay, that's answered the question so, pray tell, why the interest in the way the RN is going to conduct its aircrew selection in the near future?


War Hero
In basic terms, the sections FATs will indicate which trade the candidate is better suited, however the job offer, if AIB is also passed, is merit based. You can score high enough to pass the threshold for pilot but not high enough to be selected. If you apply for observer, get top marks for pilot, then you join as an observer or ATC or wait for a pilot vacancy (FATs don't time-expire like what AIB does) as suggested above by Pontius.

Air Traffic Control Oficers have wider acceptable medical parameters than aircrew, so a person who wants to be aircrew, passes FATs with good grades but doesn't meet the stringent medical standards, may sometimes opt for ATCO.

The fast jet/rotary wing thingy is not assessed until after joining the service, until then you a 'just' a pilot/aerial bus-driver. (In high society, this is two or three grades of social standing below stoker :toothy3:).
Pilot - mainly hand eye co-ordination
Obs - mainly mental manipulation of figures and topography (i.e. I need to be on the ship in 10 minutes time, it's going N at 25 kts, I'm 30nm to its SE, what course does the stick monkey need to steer?)
ATC - moving dots around a screen to stop them colliding into one another.

A person may have the aptitude in 1, 2 or all 3 areas.
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