First European ATCO Selection Test used outside Europe for the first time
Dubai Air Navigation Services (DANS), the air navigation services provider for Dubai & the Northern Emirates, announced the implementation of the “First European Air Traffic Controller Selection Tool” (FEAST) as its official ATCO selection tool.
FEAST builds on years of observation of air traffic control tasks and of the skills needed to perform well as an air traffic controller. The aim of FEAST is to be a credible selection tool which maximises the success rates of candidates with the highest potential. This is crucially important given the investment needed to train new controllers, which takes two years and costs organisations a minimum of 100,000 € per year and per student.
FEAST was first launched in 2004 and has been continuously improved since then, taking into account the feedback from an increasing number of organisations across the years. The tool is today used by 47 different user organisations worldwide. We have recently changed EUROCONTROL policy to allow non-European organisations to use the service: the Agency is delighted to welcome DANS as the first non-European user.
FEAST is composed of different modules which assess various aspects of ATCO skills and competencies. 60,000 candidates have already been tested using FEAST, with an average of 800 candidates taking the test every month.
In the first phase of the selection process, specific cognitive abilities are tested. The second phase is composed of two work-sample tests, one based on Air Traffic Control tasks and another requiring candidates to work with flight strips in a simplified airspace. Candidates have to multi-task, process and plan different types of information under time pressure.
Finally, motivation and behavioural factors are assessed with the FEAST Personality Questionnaire (FPQ). This questionnaire was developed on the basis of US and European research. The norms are based on a European sample. The use of the FPQ outside Europe is possible, although cultural differences may need to be considered.
These modules can be used separately, or also be combined with other existing tests. Seeing such an international community use FEAST is crucial for knowledge-sharing and for improving selection and training methods; this will ultimately ensure greater consistency in the quality of air traffic controllers across air traffic control centres.
FEAST Service Manager, Marc Damitz.