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Aeromedical Psychology

Aeromedical psychology or Aviation Psychology focuses on the psychological assessment of aviation personnel. This includes the psychological assessment of pilots, cabin crew and air traffic controllers.

Aviation personnel work in a high-pressure environment where the consequences of human error and sub-optimal health can be dire. As such aircrew are held to high standards of physical and mental health.

The psychological assessment of pilots and aircrew aims to provide a comprehensive assessment making recommendations on flight safety. The aim of the assessment is to make recommendations in line with safety – the safety of the person being assessed, but also the safety of their crew and passengers. My assessment battery is roughly based on battery recommended by the FAA and includes computerised neurocognitive screening, a comprehensive paper and pencil neuropsychological battery as well as an assessment for the presence of psychiatric symptoms.

Frequently asked questions

No, medical aids do not cover aeromedical assessments. Please email may accounts manager, Elmarie Horn, for a quotation.

Integrating all the assessment findings is a comprehensive and nuances process. I am to give feedback and deliver the report within a month from the final assessment date. Please consider that my assessment slots are usually booked out quite far in advance when planning your aeromedical appointments.

The assessment is usually split over two consecutive days in order to facilitate optimal performance and minimise the effects of fatigue on test performance.

Firstly, the psychologist will interview you in order to get a picture of who you are and the reason for referral. The psychologist is likely to ask questions about your history, background, and the kind of symptoms you experience. In addition, the psychologist will interview a family member, close friend or colleague to get further collateral information on how you currently function.

The assessment will start with computerised neurocognitive screening. You may also complete questionnaires that may assist the clinician in understanding how your symptoms influence your mood, personality, and capacity to cope with day to day challenges.

This is followed by a paper-and-pencil neuropsychological assessment where you may be asked to answer verbal questions, read paragraphs, write, draw and copy tasks, perform calculations or put together designs.

The neuropsychological assessment may take between 2 and 6 hours, depending on the type of skills being investigated. In certain instances, the assessment may be scheduled over two days to allow for further investigation. Provision will be made for regular breaks in order to allow you to perform at your best, but please ask if you are in need of a break.

There is nothing you can study or practice to aid your performance on the tests.

The most important things you can do is to:

  • Get a good night’s rest.
  • Eat a fulfilling breakfast.
  • Make sure that you have sufficient time allocated to complete the assessment without distraction or external time pressure.
  • Pack lunch, snacks and water to sustain you through the day.
  • Prepare all relevant medical records or other important documents that you feel could aid the psychologist in fully understanding your situation.

After the assessment, the psychologist will score and interpret the results and integrate this with all the other information obtained. A follow-up session will then be scheduled for feedback. The aim of the feedback session is to assist you with a clear picture of your current strengths and limitations and the implications thereof for flight safety.

You will then be provided with a written report addressed to the CAA in pdf format via email.

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