Pilot Interview Example Questions
A comprehensive database of example competency and technical airline pilot interview questions designed to help you prepare for your airline interview.
Pilot Interview Example Questions
Join the hundreds of pilots that have downloaded the FlightDeckFriend.com interview question database to help prepare for an upcoming airline assessment. The database consists of over 350 example questions (with suggested answers) that are regularly asked at flight crew interviews.
Our database has been created by pilot recruiters, technical pilot instructors and management pilots to ensure it is representative of airline interviews questions asked across the globe.
With intense competition for each position which has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s vital that you thoroughly prepare for your airline interview in order to place yourself ahead of the competition. Our interview question database is a fantastic tool to help you prepare for your upcoming airline assessment, regardless of your experience level. You can study it in your own time, on any device. We firmly believe that if you can answer the questions in our database, you’ll be thoroughly prepared for your interview!
Please note, we have a separate database for Cadet Pilots looking to prepare for an airline mentored scheme or a Flight Training Organisation. Details of this can be found here.
Over 350 Questions
Our pilot interview question bank consists of over 175 personal and competency based example interview questions (typically referred to as HR “give us an example of…” questions) and over 175 technical questions. We update the database on a regular basis based on feedback from pilots attending assessments and new questions that we come across. The database has been built by current airline pilots, with the questions answered from a currently pilots perspective.
Whilst you are able instantly download the database in PDF format, the question bank is also located in our exclusive ‘members only’ area online, which allows you to access it on the move and at any time of day or night. If you are on a budget, you can select our standard package which contains over 350 example interview questions without answers. Our enhanced package (recommended) comes with both questions and example answers to the Competency and Technical questions. The database has been compiled by current airline Captains and First Officers who have extensive airline selection experience.
Here’s a small selection of the type of pilot interview questions that are included in our Airline Interview Question Database – both Competency (HR) based and Technical Questions:
- Tell me about the typical day of a pilot?
- What makes a good first officer?
- What challenges does the company face over the next 10 years?
- Tell us about a time you’ve fallen short at something?
- Explain Dutch Roll?
- How do you calculate the required sweep of the wings?
All of these questions come with appropriate answers.
Advanced Package – WITH suggested answers to 350+ Competency and Technical Example Interview Questions
£29.99 – Instant PDF Download
What’s included in our advanced package?
- Reviewed February 2021
- Instant PDF download
- 350+ interview questions and answers
- 107 page document consisting of over 30,500 words
ADAPT Online Pilot Aptitude Testing
Partnered with FlightDeckFriend.com
Tips for your Pilot Interview
A detailed look into what to expect and how to prepare for your interview
Be prepared with our airline pilot and flight school interview guide. This page contains advice and tuition on how to prepare and conduct yourself.
If you’ve got to the interview, half the job is done. Now you need to confirm to the recruiters that you are the right person for the job. Airline interviews usually comprise of two parts, a competency assessment and a technical assessment. The technical part of the interview is self explanatory, you could be asked a range of subjects across the theoretical ATPL spectrum ranging from performance of flight to meteorology.
The section that people most commonly struggle with is the competency based interview. Part of this is through a lack of understanding as to why this part of the interview is conducted. Many airline interviews are now a “tick box” exercise. This basically means that the assessor has a number of boxes to tick to show you have demonstrated the required competencies – if you tick all the boxes you get the job and if you fail to show you have the required attributes the assessor can’t progress your application. Your job is to make sure that every box gets ticked.
So what are the recruiters looking for? The airline industry has developed considerably over the last few decades, as has the role of the pilots. It’s a given that the pilots can fly an ILS approach, instead much of the emphasis is now placed on the flight crew’s soft skills. On a daily basis the pilots are required to manage a multitude of situations that can be influenced by a vast range of factors ranging from, technical issues, weather, passengers, air traffic control, language barriers, other crew members. All of this of course whilst operating and managing a highly complex multi million pound aircraft with potentially hundreds of people on board. When managing such situations, you are expected to do so in a commercially expeditious manner, i.e. you put the interest of the customers and company first.
They’re looking for you to demonstrate that you have all the non-technical (soft skills) required to be successful in the role (regardless for how long you’ve been a pilot). Here are the top fifteen attributes that you need to demonstrate:
- Problem Solving
- Situational Awareness
- Team Work
- Business Orientated
- Customer Minded
- Adverse to risk
- Motivated / Passionate
The way an assessor will usually try to get you to demonstrate you have the above competencies is through example based questions such as “Give an example of when you shown initiative?”. You should ensure you are thoroughly prepared for the interview by already having examples of such questions to hand. See our “Airline Pilot Interview Questions” section for a comprehensive list of over 300 typical interview questions.
Naturally, the more flying experience you have, the more aviation based examples you can give, but this doesn’t have to be the case. The most important thing is you demonstrate the competency.
First impressions count. People will form an opinion of you within the first few seconds of meeting you. You want your impression to be a good one as this can have a real impact on how the remainder of the interview goes. You want the recruiter to be thinking that you “look the part” before the interview even begins. To ensure you start on the right foot, ensure you are well dressed in a plain suit, neutral tie and polished shoes. You should carry your documents in a smart briefcase. Ensure your nails are trimmed, hair freshly cut and you’re cleanly shaved. Greet everyone you meet throughout the day with a polite welcome, such as “good morning” and with a warm smile. Offer a firm (but not overly strong) handshake if appropriate. It doesn’t matter if it’s the receptionist or the CEO, you should greet everyone in the same curious manner. Anyone and everyone might have some input into the recruitment process.
Top tip: Think about your body language. You need to come across as open and receptive. Don’t sit with your arms crossed or behind your back – this can come across as defensive or too relaxed. When invited to take a seat, sit upright with your hands on your lap. Ensure you make eye contact with whoever you are addressing.
Top tip: If the assessor keeps asking very similar questions (or the same question in a different way) it’s because they are trying to help! They’re trying to get you to demonstrate a competency that you need to pass the interview. If they’re asking it in a different way, try thinking about which of the above competencies they are trying extract and adjust your answer appropriately.
If you can’t think of an answer…
There will almost always be an occasion when you get a question you weren’t expecting or hadn’t thought about. If you can’t think of a specific example ask if you can come back to that question at the end of the interview. Remember – if you don’t answer the question, the assessor can’t say that you demonstrated the required competencies and therefore you won’t get the job. If at the end of the interview you still can’t think of an appropriate example, say what you would do. For example, if the question is “Given an example of when you’ve resolved conflict between team members at work…” and you can’t think of an example, you could say something along the lines of; “I’d listen to how the conflict came about, taking into consideration the views of the parties involved. I’d try to provide mediation between the two parties in order to resolve the conflict using my verbal communication skills if appropriate. If I felt someone was being unreasonable, I would point this out to them, whilst explaining why I believe this to be the case and the standards that are expected of the team. If the conflict couldn’t be resolved this way, I would follow the company’s internal procedures.
Top tip: Be confident. The role of a pilot requires a certain level of confidence due to the nature of the job. Demonstrate your confidence through your first interactions with people as described above.
Practice, Practice Practice…
Rehearse your answers to the common interview questions. It doesn’t need to be a rigid script, but have a good idea of the points you want to get across and the examples you can use to demonstrate you have all of the above competencies.
Top tip: Remember, whilst you may be attending an interview for a position as a First Officer, you are really being interviewed for the role of future Captain. You should consider this when answering questions. Airline’s want to employ future Captains, not career First Officers.
Know the airline…
Know the airline you are applying or. For example you should be able to tell the recruiter the following:
- Aircraft types (engines, passenger configuration, MTOW, VMO, Max Ceiling)
- Fleet size
- Product (Configuration First / Business / Economy)
- History (when was the airline formed)
- Key people (CEO, CFO, Director of Flight Operations, Chief Pilot)
- Financial and Performance Overview (Profit, revenue, passengers carried, year on year growth)
- Recent company news (e.g opening a new route or ordering a new aircraft)
- The airline’s biggest competitors
- The industry threats (oil price, competition, market saturation, global epidemics (Ebola/SARs).
Top tip: Be up-to-date with world events. If you don’t do so already, watch the news or read the newspaper every day before going to the interview. It will help to ensure you are up to date with current affairs, some of which may be relevant to the airline industry.
Top tip: If they ask a technical question which you don’t know the answer for, be honest and say “I don’t know”. There is nothing worse than listening to someone “blag” their way through a question which they don’t actually know the answer to. It’s better to be honest and say something like “i’m sorry, I don’t know the answer to that question, but I would know where to find it”. If you think you roughly know the answer but are not 100% sure, you could add a disclaimer at the start of the answer. For example, saying something like “I’m not 100% sure, but my best educated guess is…”. This way you’ve covered yourself if the answer is wrong, but you’ve shown that you can think logically to derive the correct answer when given the opportunity.
What should I wear?
At the interview, you should to make sure you do not stand out in a negative by differing from what is perceived as “normal”. As potential flight deck crew, the recruiters are looking for candidates who are well balanced individuals who do not have extreme or unusual traits. It is important to project this in your attire. The industry standard dress code for an interview is a suit and tie. We would recommend the following:
- A smart black suit (or similar shades) with the trousers matching the jacket
- Ironed white shirt
- Conservative tie with a Windsor knot (potentially tactfully matching the airlines colour(s)
- Highly polished black shoes
- A black belt to match the colour of the suit
- Cleanly shaved or very neatly trimmed facial hair
- A smart conservative watch
- A conservative hair cut, trimmed within the last few days
- A smart case or folder to carry your documents and licences
What should I not wear or have on display?
- A suit which is not black or a dark shade of blue/grey
- A brightly coloured or outlandish tie
- Messy facial and neck hair / stubble
- Cover any visible tattoos
- Males should remove any piercings
When should I arrive?
If possible, we would recommend locating the venue for the interview the day before so you are clear on the route and parking facilities available. This will help reduce the stress levels on the day of the interview. If you are travelling a long way to attend the selection, it is a good idea to stay in a hotel the night before to ensure you are well rested.
Take into account traffic congestion when planning your journey, particularly if you are travelling to a major airport or city centre. Whilst we would suggest arriving to the local area well ahead of the selection start time to ensure you are not late, arriving at the actual venue around 10 minutes early demonstrates good time management. If you arrive to the area well ahead of the scheduled start time, use the time to relax with a coffee or review your notes in a suitable nearby venue.
How should I prepare for the interview?
- Prior preparation is key to a successful selection day. Find out what the day consists of and plan accordingly. Create a revision time table to cover all aspects of the selection, focusing on areas you have identified as weak.
- The airline will expect you to be fully knowledgeable about the airlines current affairs, history, key personnel, fleet, routes, finances and future plans. This information is usually freely available on the company’s website. Knowing all this information will show you have done a great deal of research, showing the interviewers that you serious about the position.
- Keep up to date with the latest industry news and technological developments.
- Study the question bank available on this website. Have good answers to anticipated interview questions, well rehearsed, relevant and thought out examples for the common “give an example of when…” questions.
- Ask a friend to conduct some practice interviews with you. This will give you an opportunity to become comfortable with rehearsing answers and thinking about practical examples on the spot.
- Practice for the various tests which may be used on the day. For example, technical, maths, verbal reasoning and aptitude testing. Some airlines may use all or none of the above. Whilst most airlines will inform you of what to expect on the day, flightdeckfriend.com can provide such information for a significant number if airlines if requested.
How should I conduct myself at the selection venue?
Whilst there are myths about you being under constant surveillance when you enter the venue, this is very unlikely to be the case. It is however good practice to assume everyone you meet is part of the team of people who will decide whether you are suitable for the job. Therefore conduct yourself with a professional and courteous manner at all times, right from introducing yourself to the receptionist to meeting the interview panel.
How should I greet the selection panel?
You should introduce yourself using your first name, with a firm handshake and ensure you make eye contact with the person you are speaking to. Greet them with a smile and enthusiastic tone.
Should I ever lie in an answer to a question?
The simple answer is no. If you lie or make up an example to a question, you can very easily get caught out. You may end up contradicting yourself in later questions, or if they bring you back to that example, as you may not remember how you answered a previous question. Although subtle, your body language and eye movement will probably change, indicating to the trained interviewer that you are not telling the truth. If you can not think of an answer to a question, apologize and request that you come back to that question later in the interview.
What should I take to the interview?
Airlines will tell you what you need to bring with you on the day. In case of a lack of guidance, as a minimum, we recommend you take the following even if they are not asked for.
- Flying Licence
- Class One Medical Certificate
- Confirmation of the interview (print the email or take the letter)
- Pens and paper pad
- Academic qualification certificates
- Airside ID (if applicable)
- Flight school final report (if applicable)
- Personal, academic and employment references
- Application summary, including answers to online questions (usually available if you have made an online application)
Numerical Reasoning Aptitude Tests For Pilots
Tips & Free Practice Tests
Practice your numercial reasoning skills for your upcoming airline or flight school assessment.
Whilst we provide a few free Numerical Reasoning practice aptitude tests, if you are looking for some more thorough preparation for your upcoming pilot assessment, with 12,000 Numerical Reasoning practice questions, we’d highly recommend you visit our JobPrep partners, who offer pilot specific packages.
- Numerical Reasoning tests are used by many airlines to help select their future flight crew. These tests are used to assess if the applicant can work quickly and accurately under time pressure. Keep in mind that in many tests that are used, you are not expected to complete all the questions so don’t worry if you only get half way through.
- Check how many questions there are vs how much time you have to give you an idea of how much time you would need to spend on each question if you were to complete the test. It will become clear quite quickly if you will be able to complete the test or not. Once you have passed your allotted time for a particular question, give strong consideration to moving on.
- Some questions will require more work and therefore time than others. If it’s clear that a question is going to be difficult, move to the next one. There is no point spending 2 minutes on a single question for 1 mark, when you could complete 4 questions in 30 seconds each for 4 marks.
- Don’t guess the answer. Some tests are negatively marked, and they will also assess your accuracy. Even if it’s not negatively marked, if you guess the answer as incorrect, your accuracy score will go down – they assessors don’t know you’ve guessed, you could tried to work it out and got the wrong answer. For example, if a test consists of 20 questions, and you answer all 20 questions but only get 10 correct, your accuracy score is 50%. If however you only answered 10 questions, but answered them all correctly, your accuracy score is 100%. The result isn’t always about your overall score – accuracy is often a factor.
- Some questions might give you more information than you need to calculate the answer. This is a deliberate strategy to see if you are capable of identifying and extracting the critical information you need to calculate the answer.
Free Numerical Reasoning Practice Tests…
Pilot Interview Preparation
Coaching & Tutoring
Ensure you are thoroughly prepared for your airline interview with our professional interview coaching service. We’ll take you through the commonly asked interview questions (both technical and competency based example questions) in a mock assessment that is followed up with coaching and tutoring to help improve your performance.
We look at everything from body language, to the use of key words and demonstrating essential competencies.
We can conduct the interview sessions via Skype or we can arrange a mutually agreed location. The practice interviews and the subsequent tutoring is carried out as a 2 on 1 session, ensuring that you get the full attention of both a professional airline pilot and Human Resources representative.
A typical session is three hours (although it can be tailored to your requirements). If you are practicing for a particular airline, we can tailor the interview for that specific airline.
Airline Pilot Aptitude Testing Preparation
What they consist of and how to improve your natural aptitude
Pilot ATPL Technical Tests
Free Interactive Tests
Brush up on your ATPL theory for your upcoming airline or flight school assessment.
Once you’ve completed the 14 ATPL theoretical examinations, it can be a challenge to retain all the information you’ve learnt. Many airlines assess the technical knowledge of prospective employees through conducting technical tests, either as a multiple choice examination, or through a technical interview.
At Flightdeckfriend.com we have a number of practice technical examinations to help you prepare for an upcoming assessment or interview. We have split the examinations into the different ATPL subject areas:
Airline Pilot Verbal Reasoning Tips & Example Aptitude Tests
Practice and enhance your verbal reasoning and English language skills for your upcoming flight crew or flight school selection.
Whilst we provide a free Verbal Reasoning practice aptitude test, if you are looking for some more thorough preparation for your upcoming pilot assessment, with over 2,000 Verbal Reasoning practice questions, we’d highly recommend you visit our JobPrep partners, who offer pilot specific packages.
Verbal Reasoning Practice Tests For Airline Pilots
A verbal reasoning test is designed to test your understanding and verbal comprehension skills. It is also, indirectly, a test of your English language skills as they can contain obscure words that many people whose first language is not English, would not be familiar with. Airlines frequently use verbal reasoning tests as part of their initial selection process. It is something you can practice in order to improve your performance.
A verbal reasoning test consists of a paragraph of text. You will be instructed to read the text followed by studying a series of statements. You must determine whether the statements are either true, false or you are unable to determine based on the information contained in the paragraph of text. The tests are typically completed under pressurised time constraints. It is common that you will not be able to answer the questions in the allotted time. Whilst the rules can vary from test to test, be careful when rushing through the paper in order to answer all of the questions, as they are often negatively marked. You are probably better to work quickly but accurately, rather than too fast and making mistakes, even if this means you will not be able to answer all of the questions.
You should not use any previous knowledge you have on any subject to answer the questions, you must only use the information contained in the text. For example, if in the paragraph of text is says that “the sky is green”, and the preceding statement says “the sky is blue”, you should confirm that the “the sky is blue” statement is false as it disagrees with what is stated in the text.
We would suggest you tackle the examination by reading the statement before you read the text. This will allow you to understand what information you are looking for and you can answer the question when you have ascertained the information. If you read the entire paragraph, you might spend unnecessary time reading all of the text, when you could have stopped after the first few sentences
Verbal Reasoning Free Practice Test
The text in the paragraph below is fictional. You should read the paragraph and then look at statements 1 – 7 below. You must determine, using purely the information contained within the text, whether each statement is either:
A) Definitely true
B) Definitely unture
C) Can’t Tell
Each answer should be marked with the answer A, B or C. You can find the answers, with an explanation to each one at the bottom of the page.
“Globe Airways, the world’s sixth largest carrier by fleet size, has recently announced that it will launch a service from London to Sydney in two months time. Its commercial department’s research has concluded that it will likely become profitable between in it’s second year of operation, when they anticipate carrying twice as many passengers than on it’s London to Singapore route. The London to Singapore route current currently carries 750,000 passengers a year. They anticipate a 64% load factor in year one, rising to 77% in year two. The route will be operated 6 days a week by a Boeing 747-400 aircraft with the possibility of transferring the service to the Airbus 380 should extra capacity be required.”
Globe Airways currently operates a London to Singapore route.
a – Definitely True. The text refers to the airline’s current London to Singapore route.
Globe Airways is the sixth biggest carrier in the world, based on the number of passengers it carries.
c – Can’t Tell. It says Globe Airways is the sixth biggest carrier in terms of fleet size which is not a reflection of passenger numbers.
Globe Airways anticipates carrying over one million passengers by year two on it’s London to Sydney route..
a – Definitely True. In year two, the airline says it will carry twice as many passengers as on it’s London to Singapore route, which currently carries 750,000 passengers. 2 x 750,000 equals 1.5 million, therefore it will carry more than 1 million passengers.
If Globe Air passengers wish to fly from London to Sydney at the moment, they must transfer at Singapore.
c – Can’t Tell. There is no reference to current arrangements for passengers wishing to travel to Singapore.
Globe Air will not operate the new London to Sydney route on Sundays and Tuesdays.
b – Definitely Untrue. It says the airline will fly the route six days a week. Therefore it can’t not fly on two days of the week.
Year three will see a load factor in excess of 80% on the London to Sydney route.
c – Can’t Tell. There is a reference to load factors in year one and two but not year three.
Globe Airways commercial department looked at the viability of the London to Sydney route before launching it.
a – Definitely True. The commercial department is stated to have researched the route before hand. This implies they looked at the commercial viability.
Cadet Pilot Interview Questions
For MPL/Cadet & Flight School Applicants
If you are an experienced or low hour pilot looking for interview questions, we have a specific database for you here.
Updated November 2020
Our Cadet Pilot Interview Question Database has helped hundreds of aspiring pilots successfully pass flight training school and mentored airline pilot cadet program interviews. With intense competition for places on airline pilot cadet programs, it’s essential that you are thoroughly prepared for your selection day. You need to put in hours of work before hand, to ensure that you stand out from the rest.
Once of the most important areas that is assessed is the competency based interview. You can expect a multitude of HR/Competency questions as well as a basic level of technical questioning. If you’ve not had the opportunity to practice these questions before hand, it can be very difficult to think of an answer on the spot and under pressure.
Our Cadet Pilot Interview Question Bank has been built using questions from cadet programs and integrated flight training organisations across the globe. It consists of over 350 questions including both competency and technical based.
This database contains questions often asked in the selection process for integrated flight training courses such as:
- L3 Aviation Academy
- CAE Oxford Aviation
- Airways Aviation
The interview questions are also representative of those used at MPL & mentored cadet pilot program interviews at airlines such as:
- easyJet MPL
- Monarch Integrated Program
- Flybe Cadet Program
- Aer Lingus MPL Program
- BA FPP
- Wizz Air Cadet Program
- Air Asia Cadet Program
- Cathay Pacific Second Officer Program
- Thomson Airways
- Thomas Cook Integrated Course
- Emirates Cadet Program
- Qatar Airways Cadet Program
- Virgin Atlantic MPL Program
Examples of the types of interview questions are as follows (HR/Competency & Technical):
- Give an example of when you have demonstrated strong leadership skills?
- When have you worked well within a team?
- How do you deal with conflict?
- Tell us about a time when you’ve under achieved?
- How does an aircraft fly?
- How many planes do easyJet have?
- How do jet engines work?
- What engines do we have on our B737 fleet?
ENHANCED PACKAGE – WITH SUGGESTED ANSWERS TO 350+ COMPETENCY AND TECHNICAL QUESTIONS
What’s included in our enhanced package?
- Updated September 2019
- Instant PDF download
- 350+ interview questions and answers
- 6 months online access to a number of example practice interviews
- 100 page document consisting of over 31,500 words
Once payment has been completed, you will be able to instantly download the question database in PDF format. Please sign up for your online account and then allow upto 24 hours for us to authorise access.
Airline Interview Guides / Briefings
Be as prepared as possible for your airline selection
Once you have secured an interview with an airline, the hardest part is done. By this point, the employer feels that you have the right attributes for the role and is simply looking for you to confirm this. With positions for flight deck crew at high profile airlines still receiving hundreds of applications for every position, it is essential to take full advantage of an interview opportunity through thorough preparation.
At FlightDeckFriend.com we offer a number of interview briefing packages for specific airlines. Each individual package is unique, varying with the specific airlines selection process. The airline briefing packs have had input from pilots who have attended and passed selection for that specific airline. These packages are based on information from either candidates that have been through the selection process or pilots within the company.
All briefing packages can be immediately downloaded in PDF formats once payment has been made. Payment is made via Sellfy through PayPal to ensure consumer protection. Should you wish to make a query please email us at [email protected].