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The crash in the Alps has initiated discussion on the manner of training and selection of commercial pilots, particularly with regard to psychological screening. Lufthansa, the parent company of Germanwings, has a rigorous programme in place for its trainee pilots.
Anyone wanting to serve with Lufthansa as a pilot goes through a rigorous selection and training programme.
According to Germany's Bild newspaper, trainees have to absorb large sums of basic theoretical knowledge and also take intensive tests.
Candidates have to pass a test from the German Aerospace Center. The test is divided into two rounds, with the first one focusing on professional basics.
Candidates need to answer questions on a computer on Mathematics, Physics and English. It's a test of their capabilities to think logically, memorise, concentrate, as well as respond. An additional psychological quiz tests if they are sincere and confident. The test has a pass rate of only 30 percent.
The second round of tests focuses on entry qualifications. Candidates have to pass interviews, scene simulations, etc. It's a test of their ability to conduct teamwork, resist pressure, maintain self-discipline, sense of responsibility and so on.
The last step to becoming a Lufthansa pilot involves an individual interview designed to screen out those with psychological weaknesses. This has a pass rate of only 7 percent.
However, there are a number of loopholes in the entire testing mechanism.
Dr. Raephael Diepgen from Ruhr University, Bochum, says some training programs can be individually tailored according to the individual. On payment, some programmes can be customised in order that the trainee can pass.
There is also criticism of the lack of attention paid to pilots' psychological health during the course of employment.