Many Aspirants want to join the Defence forces as a pilot & make their dream come true of flying a fighter jet. One of the major task that they need to perform after clearing the 1st day of SSB is to crack PABT or CPSS test which is conducted by the Indian Air Force.
Today we are going to discuss the PABT test in detail. We would also be sharing some important tips to crack this test. We will discuss CPSS in an upcoming article.
What is the PABT Test in the Indian Armed Forces?
Pilot Aptitude Battery Test (PABT) is carried out for candidates aspiring to join the flying branch of the Indian Air Force, Navy, Army and Coast Guard.
The purpose of these tests is to assess the ability of a candidate to be trained as a pilot.
The CPSS (Computerised Pilot Selection System) is an upgraded version of the PABT test. Which we will cover in the next section.
Pilot Aptitude Battery Test
PABT consists of three tests:
1) Instrument Battery Test (INSB) (Paper-pencil test)
2) Sensory Motor Apparatus Test (SMA) (machine test) and
3) Control Velocity Test (CVT) (machine test)
These tests measure the individual's coordination & test of Psychomotor Skills. These tests are performed on a single day and administered once in a lifetime, and if you fail, you can not apply again for a flying branch.
Lets us discuss the Tests:
Instrument Battery Test (INSB):
This test mainly checks the ability of the candidate to read and interpret the dials of the instrument panel of an aircraft.
It consists of 2 parts:
Apparatus Reading Test:
In this test, the candidates will be shown six basic instruments in an aircraft by a test instructor.
The candidates are tested against the ability to read these instruments and based on that they need to provide a response.
Candidates should listen with a very receptive mind to the officer and make sincere efforts to understand every detail they receive as it would help them clear the test easily.
Lets look at the inside of a Cockpit first:
Test 1 consists of 15 questions to be answered in 12 minutes. The questions are of objective type. You must select one of five statements based on reading from 6 instruments
Air Speed Indicator: This instrument gives the aircraft's indicated airspeed in mph or knots or any unit indicated by the dial. Reading this dial is like that of a car or bike’s speedometer.
Attitude Indicator/Artificial Horizon: This instrument provides the aircraft's pitch (nose up or down) and roll/bank (wing tilt). If you keep the wings level on the instrument with the horizon line (the line dividing the blue colour that denotes the sky and the dark colour denotes the ground), your aircraft will be parallel to the ground.
Altimeter: This tool indicates the aircraft's altitude(height) from sea level. This analogue gauge contains one small hand that gives thousands of feet of reading and another big hand that gives hundreds of feet of reading. The combination of reading from both of these hands gives the altitude. It is Just like clock reading time.
Turn Coordinator: This instrument indicates whether the correct amount of rudder is being applied in a turn. In fact, the turn coordinator is two tools in one. In the middle of the instrument, the aircraft replica rolls proportionally to the aircraft's roll rate.
Heading Indicator/Compass: This instrument gives the direction in which the aircraft is headed in magnetic degrees.
Vertical Speed indicator: This instrument indicates the rate at which aircraft is gaining or losing altitude. The Units mentioned in the indicator will be in feet per minute. The region where the arrows are shown is the normal rate of ascending or descending, and range above and below those arrows depict a faster rate of ascending or descending.
Here is an example of how to read the instrument in the cockpit:
Test 2: Aircraft Heading & Position Identification Test
Test 2 consists of 2 Instruments (Compass and Attitude indicator) and image of an aircraft. The question is of objective type. It consists of a total of 60 questions & time limit is 20 min.
The Test Officer explains about compass:
- North(0 degree), NE(45 degree), E(90 degree), SE(135 degree), S(180 degree), SW(225 degree), W(270 degree), NW(315 degree) etc.
He then describes the movement adopted by aircraft as shown in the image:
- Descending (moving down), Climbing up (elevating),
- Top, Belly, Wings, Tail, Nose (painted white), Black dot (tail)
After explaining, the test Officer will show you the Various positions that the plane is travelling in (the different directions mentioned earlier), based on that you need to choose the correct answer.
Some Points to be Remembered are:
- When you see the nose of the plane then, the plane is coming towards you and then the plane is expected to move towards south direction.
- When you see the black dot of the plane then, the plane is going away from you and then the plane is expected to move towards north direction.
- When you see the plane moving in a direction such that the nose of the plane is to your right and tail of the plane is to your left, then the direction is taken as moving towards east direction.
- When you see the plane moving in a direction such that the nose of the plane is to your left and tail of the plane to your right, then the direction is taken as moving towards west direction.
After Identifying the direction, one has to check whether the plane is ascending or descending:
For East to West movement:
- If the nose of the plane is at a lower horizontal level than the tail of the plane, then the plane is surely descending.
- If the nose of the plane is at a higher horizontal level than the tail of the plane than the plane is surely ascending.
For North to South movement:
North (When you see the black dot(tail)):
- When you see the belly of the plane, then it is losing height or descending.
- When you see the entire top portion of the plane, then it is gaining height or ascending.
South (When you see the nose of the plane):
- When you see the belly of the plane, then it is gaining height.
- When you see the top of the plane, then its losing height.
The same information can be used to identify the movement in NW, NE, SW, SE directions.
Below is a sample diagram depicting the movement of the plane:
After clearing the written test, candidates are evaluated for Machine Testing.
This test consists of 2 tests:
Sensory Motor Apparatus Test (SMA)
This test evaluates a candidate's reflexive ability to respond to external stimulus.
In this test, candidates ' locomotive and sensory abilities are examined. Each of the two constituent tests is aimed at finding the person's eye-ear-hand-feet coordination.
The candidate is given 3 chances to get good scores in each test. Of all three, the best score is counted. The time limit of each test is 90 seconds.
A light spot (ball) is to be kept in the centre of 2 concentrate squares in this test. The light spot moves across the screen randomly.
The longer it is possible for the candidate to keep the point in the centre, the more marks he gets. There are also two lights, yellow and red, that intermittently appear in the top left and top right corners of the screen.
we are provided with the following devices which are used to control the spot:
- a) A Joystick: This joystick controls the movement of the ball (spot) in up and down direction. Moving the stick backwards moves the ball in an upward direction and moving it in forwards moves it towards the bottom of the screen.
- b) Foot pedals: The movement of the pedals moves the ball towards the right or left direction.
- c) Light lever: A lever is provided which when moved in forwarding direction puts off the red light and when moved in backward direction puts off yellow light.
- d) Beep button: An intermittent beep is heard which is put off by pressing a button placed on the top of the stick
Below is a sample window for this test:
One thing to note is that the control pedal and stick are too old, and these controls do not respond quickly, and if you have to move the dot up, you have to move the stick all the way upwards, that is, it only responds to the extreme end. The same also applies to the rudder.
Control Velocity Test (CVT)
Another test consists of a lot of dots coming from the top of the screen and going down.
In this test, it is necessary to superimpose a light spot (red) on a series of yellow dots running from top to bottom on the screen. Whenever a successful superposition occurs, the headphone has a small blip.
The more you manage to overlay the red ball on the yellow balls, the more points you get. In this test, you'll get three attempts of 60 sec each.
As I said before the controls lag, you'll miss more dots if you go for sharp corners.
Below is a sample window of the test:
To summarize these tests, it is intended to determine whether the candidate is mentally alert and has a presence of mind and self-confidence, adequate control over his nerves and, in particular, whether the candidate will be able to balance & control the flight and will not break down under stressful circumstances.
It is advised that candidates are not afraid of this test. Any average boy who has spent time in video games can easily pass the set of machine tests.
I couldn't find anything good when I was searching for hints on PABT on the web. So I decided to post this after my test is done, hopefully, this will help others not to freak out before the PABT test, at least you'll know what is the PABT test. Hopefully, this will help you clear your doubts.
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