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DGCA Medical Circular 01 of 2023: Psychological Assessment

How Symbiotics can help you become compliant

Pilot Health

What do the DGCA Medical Circular recommendations mean for Aviation Professionals?

The Government of India through the regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), has issued a medical circular effective from May 31st, 2023, for "mental health promotion of flight crew and Air Traffic Controllers (ATCOs)". The aim is for aviation organisations to be more aware of mental health issues within aviation and increasing mental health awareness in the form of early recognition, reporting and its management.

To help pilots and ATCOs to perform at their best, and to enable their respective aviation organisations to make better quality and cost-effective recruitment decisions, it is recommended that each organisation create their own customised 'Psychological Assessment' process, including peer support and pre-employment psychological assessments.

Symbiotics is well placed to support you in achieving compliance under the DGCA medical circular, having a long-established aviation pedigree, operating with a truly global range of clients, including those in India and supporting regulatory compliance across the world.

How can Symbiotics help you become compliant?

Symbiotics can work with Airlines, ATOs, and related aviation organisations to support their assessment activities and compliance with Section 4.3: Psychological Assessment of the medical circular. We've internally developed a solution with our in-house team of psychologists, that has been accepted and well-received by our Indian clients.

The pre-employment psychological assessment should be undertaken at least within 24 months prior to commencing line flying or ATCO duties. Our assessments are suitable for assessment of experienced pilots prior to line flying and can also be used as part of pre-training to understand the candidate's suitability for a career in aviation.

We offer a modular assessment approach, allowing you to use our solution wholly or in addition to your existing tests and assessment processes. For example, the following test battery provides assessment of the Key Skills, Abilities and Personality Traits aligned to the recommendations of the medical circular:

Personality Questionnaire
Our Personality Questionnaire (PQ) is widely used within the aviation sector within India. It identifies traits that are specific to this sector, such as Hazardous Attitudes, in addition to the general traits of the Five Factor Model (FFM) personality measures covering Openness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism.

Cognitive Reasoning
This expansive test includes a range of aptitude assessments designed to measure an individual's cognitive abilities in perceptual speed and accuracy, numerical reasoning, spatial reasoning, verbal reasoning, working memory and abstract reasoning.

Our Future Aptitude Selection Tool (FAST) is designed to assess a candidate's multitasking/timesharing, cognitive, situational awareness, and physical skills.

Control and Co-Ordination (Ball Game) Practice Test
A test of co-ordination is one of the best predictors of aptitude for the physical skills of flying. This test is designed to measure a candidate's control and co-ordination skills, as well as the capacity to adopt a performance improvement strategy. Our hand-eye co-ordination test using a PC joystick, has been enhanced to assess hand-foot-eye co-ordination through the addition of a PC foot pedal flight controller, thereby directly achieving the specific recommendations of the DGCA medical circular.

Crew Resource Management
This questionnaire is designed to identify a candidate's decision-making and communication skills in response to various situations. The assessment is applicable for experienced pilots.

APQ on a laptop screen
A candidate using Control and Co-Ordination with a joystick and foot pedal
A person logging into ADAPT on a touch screen

In addition to the above, we also offer a range of other pilot aptitude assessments including Maths, Physics, and Flight Test – all applicable for cadets, as well as assessments including our English Language Test designed to demonstrate a minimum ICAO level 4 proficiency of English language skill.

Compliant and effective reporting

Our assessment reports are available to include a declaration statement clarifying the involvement of our psychologists and their appropriate acquired knowledge in aviation in compliance with Section 4.3: Psychological Assessment.

Results per candidate assessment can be utilised for a range of purposes including broad initial screening consolidated within an Excel Matrix for an easy-to-read view, and detailed understanding of an individual using a comprehensive PDF report.

Who needs to conduct the Assessments?

To be compliant with the DGCA's medical circular, the assessment needs to be validated and either directly performed by, or overseen by, a clinical psychologist who has relevant knowledge of the aviation operating environment.

The psychological assessment services we provide, consisting of online testing and, where applicable, supporting services provided by our psychology team, are validated, and overseen by our registered senior psychologists who have appropriate knowledge in aviation.

As a UK-based organisation, our assessments and processes are overseen by Occupational and Aviation Psychologists, and have been well-received by our Indian clients as an acceptable solution to oversight requirements of the DGCA medical circular.

Our psychologists providing oversight are:

Principal Occupational Psychologist, Karen Moore

CPsychol, CSci, AFBPsS, MRAeS, EuroPsy, registered with the Health & Care Professions Council Registration Number PYL18529, and appearing on the BPS register as "Mrs K A Moore CPsychol CSci AFBPsS", with over 20 years' experience of delivering assessments to aviation.

To verify Karen's credentials:

Aviation Psychologist, Emma Akhurst

CPsychol, registered with the Health & Care Professions Council Registration Number Registration Number PYL042356, and appearing on the EAAP register as "Ms. Emma Akhurst", with 10 years' experience of delivering assessments to aviation.

To verify Emma's credentials:

Click here to find out more about Karen, Emma, and our in-house team of psychologists.

What is ADAPT?

ADAPT is our online assessment and reporting platform that delivers our psychometric and aptitude tests to candidates and provides oversight, reports, and management to clients.

Our online tests have been developed by our in-house psychology and development teams. We are highly versatile in what we can offer and are able to support you through the process of creating a bespoke assessment programme.

The DGCA also encourages that similar guidelines may be used for other safety-critical roles within the aviation industry, including cabin crew and maintenance engineers. The ADAPT assessments can be adopted accordingly to each of these roles.

Candidates undertake each test of the assessment one at a time and if required this can be over several sessions. Once the candidate has completed the assessment, ADAPT provides a comprehensive consolidated output report in English. Results are also available to download as a spreadsheet from ADAPT, to provide data summaries for all candidates.

Learn more about ADAPT

See our candidate video and client video of our ADAPT system to experience it for yourself.

Happy colleagues talking in an office
Happy colleagues talking in an office

Going beyond compliance to look at Mental Health: Introducing MindQ Assessment

Several airlines are choosing to incorporate MindQ into their organisation to regularly assess the mental wellbeing of their general pilot population. MindQ provides an airline with the ability to assess an individual's mental health at a given point in time to be able to monitor mental health risk associated with pilots.

MindQ, developed by MHS Assessments, is a clinically validated online mental health risk assessment to identify early issues in employee mental health, which can be delivered alongside other assessments within ADAPT.

The assessment covers life dissatisfaction (material, job, personal), stress coping risks, emotional distress (anxiety and depression) and substance abuse risk. The test identifies those areas that are having an impact on the individual and reducing their mental wellbeing.

Find out more about MindQ™.

What are the next steps?

If you are interested in learning more about Symbiotics assessments to help you meet the DGCA recommendations, including demo codes to have a look at our tests, we would be delighted to discuss your requirements with you.

Please contact us and one of our team will be in touch with you.