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Thread: Useful resource: paper on history of aptitude testing in the RAF

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Default Useful resource: paper on history of aptitude testing in the RAF

    I just found this very useful paper :

    M. Bailey
    Directorate of Recruiting and Selection (Royal Air Force) RAF Cranwell,

    As his references are mainly unpublished MoD papers, this saves a lot of research time for anyone interested inhow people got reccommended for commissions and aircrew training.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Reading, Berkshire, UK
    Thanked 14 Times in 14 Posts


    Absolutely fascinating!
    Those of us with "Airfield Driving Permits" had to go (I think annually - but it may have been more often) to have our colour-blindness tested. This was done using the Ishihara coloured circles - with figures (of other colurs) embedded in them. You would go to Sick Quarters. The Cpl Medic would get the book, and - without either of us looking at the page(s) - would say something like "OK, I've started at the front and turned over two pages". You would then have to say "Pink 43 on a blue background" - or whatever. The Medic would say "No, green 8 on a pink background" - or whatever. We would then look to see who was right. This went on until we reached the end of the book. If I got more right than the Medic then I got my coffee for free. If the Medic got more right than me then I had to make a "contribution" to the SSQ Coffee Swindle.
    I went to OASC at Biggin Hill sometime in the 60's. They had some of these devices where you had to determine whether two vectors would intercept (I was going for a Commission in Air Tragic). But I still got the impression that the face-to-face interviews where you were asked by this hairy old GD Wg Cdr which sports you had (or did) played, which newspaper you read, what you thought of the political situation in Milesawayistan, counted as least as important as being able to determine whether two a/c would collide - or not!
    Later in life I was a member of interview boards for initial entry into the Met Office for Asst Scientific Officers. Sometimes, you would have a feeling in your water that this candidate - who had just answered all the questions correctly - would not be the sort of bloke(ess) to be on an operational airfield with when the weather was closing in and the electrical power had just failed! On the other hand there were those who had not, perhaps, given the standard correct answer to the routine questions. You (and colleagues on the board) would get the distinct impression that this bloke(ess), whilst a bit hesitant in front of the board, would be a good bloke(ess) to have around when the situation above was occurring.
    I still think that Personnel Selection is not a science (however much the technocrats may protest!). It is an art!
    Peter Davies
    PS I was offered a Commission in ATC - but turned it down!
    Last edited by Resmoroh; 30th May 2011 at 13:52.
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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