PABT - Pilot Aptitude Battery Test by IAF

Hi friends, if you have desire to become an Air warrior for our Air Force, then this post is specially for you.  Here I have given the details about this PABT.

What are PABT?

The PABT  is conducted by the Air Force to choose candidates who want to join as pilot (Air Warrior) in Air Force Flying Branch. 
PABT are the combination of written and machine tests.   This type of PABT is followed throughout the world by all nations to choose pilot or air warriors for their nation.  The way of this varies for various nations.

 For our country, this PABT is designed by our scientists of DRDO – Defense Research and Development Organization to deploy at AFSB’s (Air Force Selection Board) in Varanasi, Mysore and Dehradun.

What is the aim of PABT?
 This is specially designed by DRDO scientists mainly, is to find the candidate’s ability, presence of mind, control of his limbs and nerves, fast response, judging power. 
i.e.   Its overall aim is to find our attitude and mind set potential by nature to become a pilot.

 Why they are conducting this PABT especially for Pilot branch?
The above qualities are very much necessary for a candidate before training at Air Force Academies to mould them as a successful pilot during. 

Why it is allowed to attend this only once in the life time?
The candidates are allowed to attend the PABT only once in their life time.
Since as per the results of various wars, it is said that a person who don’t have their natural attitude, personality and ability to become a pilot cannot be trained well as a successful pilot.  So only the candidates are allowed only once, to show their skill to become pilot.

Ok let we go to the assessment part,

During the assessment, The Air Force Officer explains to the candidate about the procedure, rules, how to handle and read those machines.   He explains very slowly and ensures that every candidate has understood about the procedure.  Also he asks the candidates two to three times to clear their doubts before allowing them to the assessment part.  Also we are given little practice from the officers about handling of these instruments before the assessment.
NOTE: - At this time we should clear our doubts and observe keenly about every instrument and its procedures.

 It is said by the experienced candidates who cleared the PABT as, “if we observe the explanation of the officer clearly, then we can easily clear the PABT”

Ok, let we come to the real scenario,

The PABT is divided into three major parts,
i)                    Written Assessment or Instrument Reading
ii)                  The Light Control Test (LCT) or Sensory Motor Apparatus
iii)                Drum Test(DT) or Control of Velocity Test(CVT)

Comparison of Real life scenario with PABT :-

Car Driving Vs PABT – Here, I want to compare the four wheeler (car) driving with PABT .  If we want to learn a four wheeler first, we are given training to read the speedometer readings, fuel meter readings and engine heat readings.  Since these are all the basics to know the status of the car while driving.
Like this we should be familiar with the instrument reading while operating a plane.  So there is a assessment called as Instrument Reading at PABT. 

Also, after finishing this basic instrument reading at car, we start to drive the car. At this time we tend to learn the gear operations how to handle the clutch, the brake, and  the accelerator of the car.  For this we are making lot of practice to drive it correctly in road.

For this in PABT, we are assessed on how we are controlling the instruments by checking our attitude for flying.  To evaluate this attitude and controlling ability, the candidates are ordered to undergo the LCT and DT.
Friends, I hope that you all understood well about the motive of PABT. 

Ok here we see in detail about every assessment in PABT,

Instrument Reading:-
This is a written type.  The aim of this assessment is to find the ability of the candidate to read different instruments in short span of time.  The images of different instruments with different readings are given in a paper.  The number of questions given here are 60 and time given to answer all these are only 20 minutes. 

The instrument images given are of nearly six types such as follows:-
i)                    Magnetic Compass
ii)                  Artificial Horizon
iii)                Altimeter
iv)                Turn and back indicator
v)                  Climb and Descent indicator
vi)                Air Speed Indicator

Let we see in detail about each instruments,

Magnetic Compass:- 
     The magnetic compass is used to find the direction at which we are.   We may see these types of instruments in our school, college physics labs.  This is used in most of the vehicles such as trains, four wheelers, air planes and ships.  So this is important instrument to measure the directions. 
In real the compass needle usually points towards the north and south direction.  But in images i.e. the questions given In question paper, they show the images at different directions, it may of north, south, east, west,  north east,  south east,  north west and south west.  So be clear in choosing your answer. 

Artificial Horizon:-
     The Artificial Horizon is an instrument which is used to find the altitude of the plane at both right and left wings of it.   i.e.  By using this instrument we can check our plane whether it is flying parallel to the base line (horizontal line) or sliding towards one end (left or right).
It is measured from 0 to 90 degree left and 0 to 90 degree to the right.  Just imagine the protractor which we used for our mathematical geometry in our school days.

     The altimeter is used to find the altitude of the plane at which it is flying.  It is usually measured from sea level.  There are three needles in this.  The smaller one indicates the height in 10000 of feet, middle needle indicates the height in 1000 of feet and the larger one indicates the height in 100 of feet.  The height is measured in feet, meters or yards.  All these needles move in clock wise direction.

Turn and Back Indicator:-
     This instrument is used to find, where the aircraft is turning.  The below image describes about the instrument view.  Note there is one white ended needle; we have to note this only.  i.e.  If the plane moves left means, this white ended needle will move to right and if the plane moves to right means, this white ended needle will move to left.

Climb and Descent Indicator:-
     This instrument is used to find the flying position of the Air Craft.  i.e. If the plane goes up while taking off from the run way means, the needle goes up in the meter and it goes down if the air craft is going to land on run way. 

Air Speed Indicator:-
     The air speed indicator is used to find the speed of the air craft.  Usually the speed is measured in kilometers or miles per hour.  This speed is called as  I.A.S  - Indicator Air Speed.  The needle in this instrument moves in clock wise direction.  Refer the given image below to get an idea.  (It is similar to the speedometer of a vehicle.)

Ok, now let we move to the Machine assessments.
These are designed to find the aptitude of the candidate to handle the flight instruments and to become a pilot.
Here two machine assessments are conducted,
i)                    Light Control Test(LCT) and
ii)                  The Drum Test(DT).

The aim of this is to find the reflexes, mental alertness capabilities of a candidate.   It is used to find our co-operation between our hands, legs and mind.  Here a seat is given to the candidate and a screen is before them.  There are two light spots in colors red and yellow which are flashed off and on the screen.
The candidates are given clear explanation and practice demo for this by the officers.  Also we are given one time practice before attending this assessment. 

The instruments given to them to do this machine assessments are:-
a)      A hand operated stick – This controls the movement of the spot of light on the screen in up and down movements.
b)      Foot pedals – There are two foot pedals at left and right.  The left foot pedals moves the movement of light to left and the right foot pedal moves the movement of light to the right side.
c)      Light Lever – The lever is provided which is to be handled by hand is used to on and off the light.  I.e.  When it is move forward, it puts off red light and when it is moved backward it puts off yellow light. 

NOTE: - Three chances are given for this and the best performance of them is taken for consideration of their aptitude level.

The DT or CVT:-
This is used to find our capacity to control the velocity.  Here, there is a screen in which sequence of yellow dots or spots are coming from up to down. A knob is given to us which is very sensitive and this knob has to control over the red spot or dot on the screen.  Here our duty is to catch the yellow dots or light spots with our red dot or light spot using the control of the knob.  We get more points if we catch more yellow light spots.
 The following image shows about a sample of the screen,

If you play video games and computer games, then it will be some what easy for us to tackle this.  If we are free by mind with full self confidence and hear the instructions of the Officers before PABT, then we can easily clear this PABT 

Here I gave and share my knowledge about PABT upto my extent, all the best friends.  Be an Air Warrior.


  1. Thank u so much. it was highly informational.........

  2. it was good enough info for all those who are unaware of it. :) but anyhow this is a great stuff

  3. thank u sir .......

    iys enough for me thanks

    ajay singh solanki

  4. It is just fantastic................. thank u:)

    Arpita Gupta

  5. this was very helping thanks...

  6. suffering from myopia -1.5 .... m i eligigle for airforce ???? plz guide sir

  7. it will be fun.....thanx

  8. thats awesome.........thanks a ton

  9. Thank u so's very informative

  10. @jerin joy and rahul.. welcome dears..

  11. @Vignesh what if we clear the PABT but are not able to join NDA for some reasons(such as not being able to submit 12th class certificate on time )..Then will we be allowed to join Air Force as an Air Warrior in our next Attempt ???

  12. @Akash, yes you have to again appear for SSB and same procedure only. No problem with your previous attempts. March ahead.

  13. This is the right answer i want..

  14. it is very good information . it will help a lot for appearing PABT test

  15. hello,
    I have a confusion regarding PABT, as we all know dat one can appear fr PABT once in a lifetime.. bt there is no PABT for CPL holders entry in Indian Coast Guard. Now if one has failed PABT earlier but den have done CPL,can he/she apply fr CPL entry as there wont b any second PABT.. dat means there will be no violation of rule regarding PABT. I want to know if it is possible.. thanks

    1. @Suchi, refer the advertisement, Uptp my knowledge, If one failed in PABT he/she is not eligible for flying branch. What ever the mode of entry may be brother. :) . If any correction means tel me suchi..:)

  16. yes what u r saying is right but in IAF thr is a common entry for pilots while in Indian coast guard, pilot branch n CPL holders branch r considered as two different branches, CPL holders entry is for short service appointment in ICG.. n they have mentioned the PABT restriction for pilot branch only.. i know i am being too optimistic.. but is the website if u wish to see the advertisement.. sory fr d trouble n thanks :)

  17. what a service you ar doing brother thank you for this

  18. brother, ples tel me that what type of reason should i give to postpond ssb.i have got ssb letter of nda, this is my last chance so i want to prepare well for this

  19. Please suggest some video games that would help

  20. I am suffering frm myopia 1.75 nd i am going on to 11th class.wuld i be eligible to appear nd pass for airforce till i pass 12th.
    Pls guide sir..
    Siddhant 8953883443

  21. Is that the same procedure for girls also?And candidates of engineering can apply for this exam?

  22. hand of 4 u bro plz can u tell what type of video game shoul i play to make the good grade in this

    i used to play simulaters is it good or .....

  23. ya it is good. brother. I told about video game just for idea only. COol and do well.

  24. thanksssss
    thank you so much
    it is much needed information for me

  25. Sir am a bit relieved after looking at ur explaination
    :) thank you very much

    But can I get a review of how the pictures will be in the written test.

  26. can i join iaf as pilot after my mechanical through CDSE?

    1. yes vivek, along wit this you have clear PABT

  27. I am final yr student of BE(IT.)sir i want to join IAF please guide me about the technical interview.what kind of preparations should i start

    1. technical study basic electronics and physics brother. i mean real time application of basic engineering.

  28. where and how can i get this test done?

    1. you can get this test done only after clear the selection process for pilot entry.

  29. if some one get backlogs during engineering but furhter clearls it. So can he also apply for ssb.will there be any problem for such candidates

    1. yes can apply though check for individual notification.

  30. thanx for ur information,
    then how navy pilots are recruited?
    or they recruited from IAF?

  31. guys someone get me on this if u have the details !! ...if a person has not attempted PABT test earlier and doesn have any chest and batch number then is he been screwed before attending the AFCAT ?? I could not find the answer on yahoo answers ...plz leave the comment below ...what to fill in application form part 3 other details section for the PABT category when a person has not attempted PABT ?

    1. i am suffering with the same prolem,did u get any answers,plz reply fast

  32. where do i apply for the pabt test

    1. pabt is conducted only if we clear the AFSB for pilot entry

  33. sir I wear spects.. but its within the range of exemption... is there any chance that I can make through this test

  34. guys someone get me on this if u have the details !! ...if a person has not attempted PABT test earlier and doesn have any chest and batch number then is he been screwed before attending the AFCAT ?? I could not find the answer on yahoo answers ...plz leave the comment below ...what to fill in application form part 3 other details section for the PABT category when a person has not attempted PABT ?


  36. thank you very much for the information you shared with us....

  37. true guding awesome

  38. This comment has been removed by the author.

  39. thanks dude........
    this will be very helpful.....

  40. thank u its the most helpful information i got so far

  41. hi..
    is der any books to study for PABT??? n after hw much span dis exam has to be given after clearing da AFCAT?
    like approx hw much tym is der to study?

  42. Sir,
    can one go for PABT afeter CDS??

    I've done 12th with science and graduation with commerce.
    kindly guide me.

  43. normally what is the time difference between PSB(preliminary test) and FSB (final selection) for Indian coastguard service.
    i have PSB test on 7th January,then what will be expected date of my final selection if i clear PSB. please reply....

  44. Hello vignesh.. thanks for ur valuable effort.. keep it up...

    If we didnt clear PABT then can we go with our other preferences on the same ssb process or we should come by nxt chance???? .. mail me at

  45. Extremely informative,thankyou. A doubt please... In light control test,what do we have to do with the 2 lights. I mean for what do we have to use the given machines to do with the lights. Please do answer. Waiting curiously.....

  46. Extremely informative,thankyou. A doubt please... In light control test,what do we have to do with the 2 lights. I mean for what do we have to use the given machines to do with the lights. Please do answer. Waiting curiously.....

  47. i m in 11th class in up board . sir cant we get any demo in vidio if yess then plssssss give it to us & thxx for guiding us it ll help students like me who r having a passion in their eyes to become an IAF officer :D

  48. Is it the same procedure for girls?

  49. I hope this article will help me better,
    Thank you.

  50. does playing flight stimulator games help in improving the ability to fly aircraft.

  51. if i makeIAF 1st option cdse then when to appear for PABT?

  52. Its an awesome blog , thanks for the help.

  53. Better if you provide any kind of games to make a practice of it.

  54. You can download the game at the given link.