chapter  2
12 Pages

History of Pilot Selection

WithThomas R. Carretta, Raymond E. King

The history of pilot selection begins prior to World War I but quickly became focused on selection of military aviators. Research regarding the development of pilot selection methods began shortly before World War I and was accomplished by medical personnel, physiologists, and psychologists. According to P. M. Fitts, Germany developed special medical standards for pilots in 1910 followed by the United States in 1912. F. C. Dockeray and S. Isaacs noted that, prior to World War I, Italy was the first country with a pilot selection research program. The French and British efforts in pilot selection were less comprehensive. The British mostly were interested in studying the effects of altitude flying, simple motor coordination tests, and “staleness” in pilots, rather than in the examination of aptitude in pilot candidates. In Germany, a study by O. Selz concluded that airplane accidents were caused mostly by pilot mental and physical failures.