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SIA Cadet Pilot Interview Questions

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Updated: December 2023

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Many are familiar with the term 'Ten Year Series', especially to those who went through the Singapore education system. These series are a compilation of questions from major examinations papers in Singapore over the past decade to be used in preparation for the annual examinations. Such books have been used extensively to great effect by both students and teachers alike, with students typically using these series to grasp an understanding of what questions are typically asked and the concepts that are required.

Similarly, many candidates of the Singapore Airlines Ab-Initio Cadet Pilot Programme have been on the lookout for a similar 'Ten Year Series' to prepare for their upcoming interview. As a one-stop helpdesk for aspiring pilots, Pilot Kaki has obtained and compiled questions across various sources into a question bank for reference by potential candidates, and which will be updated on a timely basis. Due to sensitivity issues, we would like to re-iterate that this guide is not an official material by SIA and that only external sources like online discussion forums, along with contributions and inputs from information volunteers were used.

 

As with all interview guides, it should be noted that the following questions are based on samples from both Preliminary and Final Interviews and are non-exhaustive. They may not accurately represent how the interview will be carried out and users should exercise discretion when utilising the Question Bank as part of their preparation.

Should there be any errors or anything to add, please kindly contact the administrators via:

 

Finally, Pilot Kaki would like to sincerely convey our deepest appreciation and thanks to all who have made this guide possible.

Question Categories

Although there is no exhaustive list to the types of questions which a candidate may encounter during an SIA Cadet Pilot interview, it can generally be surmised that similar questions are asked at both Preliminary and Final Interviews and they broadly revolve around the same themes. To allow for ease of reference, Pilot Kaki has categorised the questions into the following ten categories:

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The progress of the interview will typically follow the flow of the aforementioned categories, albeit with minor changes here and there. The interviewers will start with Introductory questions for obvious reasons, with the subsequent types of question along with the number of questions asked differing depending on the candidate's background and experience. However, the selected questions asked during the entire duration of the interview will usually cover across the entire range of categories.

To effectively prepare for the interviews, candidates should browse through all relevant questions across all categories to familiarise themselves.

Question Categories

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Introduction
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  1. Tell me more about yourself.

  2. What are your previous work experiences (if any)?

  3. What do you do during your recreational or free time?

  4. Why do you want to be a pilot?

  5. What do you like about being a pilot?

  6. Why do you want to join Singapore Airlines? (Why not join Scoot or other airlines?)

  7. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

  8. (Immediately upon entering the interview room) Close your eyes. Briefly describe the layout of this room, along with the items and their colour.

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  1. When / How did your interest in aviation or flying start?

  2. Did you apply for Singapore Youth Flying Club? Why or why not?

  3. Did you apply for the Air Force? Why or why not?

  4. Why did you choose to be a commercial pilot over an Air Force pilot?

  5. What have you done so far and in the past to pursue your interest in aviation or flying?

  6. Which area or part of being a pilot is attractive to you?

  7. As you already have a family, how will you be able to manage financially with the lower pay during training?

  8. Will your spouse accept the fact that you will often be apart and traveling often thereafter?

  9. Why are you seeking a change in job?

  10. Why are you deciding to apply for this job before starting / completing your degree?

  11. You have worked very hard to reach your position in your current job. Why do you want to throw it all away?

  12. If you were interested in aviation from a young age, why did you not pursue flying or something aviation-related?

  13. What was the pivotal moment that made you realise that you want to be a pilot?

  14. You have never flown a plane before. What makes you sure that it is your dream job and that you will enjoy it?

  15. Have you been researching or reading up on aviation? What are your sources?

  16. You mentioned wanting to be an instructor pilot in the future due to your interest in teaching. Why not be a teacher or educator where teaching becomes your primary role?

  17. You have never experienced flight training, which is where individuals eventually realise that they get airsick each time they fly. Should this happen to you, will you continue with flight training or what will you do?

  18. If you are interested in flying or being a pilot, why did you not try flight simulation games?

  19. Have you watched Sully? Describe the film. What did you learn from it?

Interest-Related
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  1. Tell me about a time when you:

    • Worked closely with someone you disliked. What did you do and what was the outcome?

    • Had to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to get a job done.

    • Had a disagreement with someone. How did you resolve it?

  2. Give an example and outcome of a situation where you:

    • Had to make a decision quickly

    • Worked under pressure

    • Demonstrated strong leadership skills

    • Demonstrated good teamwork

    • Had to deal with a conflict / dispute

  3. What was your biggest challenge in National Service?

  4. What qualities / traits / personalities are required to be a good pilot? Which of them do you have?

  5. Should pilots think and execute actions in a methodological and sequential approach, or should they behave more dynamically on their feet and be more adaptable? 

  6. What are your greatest strengths?

  7. What is your greatest weakness?

  8. What is your greatest fear?

  9. How do you typically cope with stress? What do you usually feel stress about?

  10. How do you think others around you will describe you? Why?

  11. Do you have someone whom you view as a role model? What characteristics does he/she have?

  12. What is your proudest accomplishment to date and why?

  13. What is your most disappointing moment to date and how did you overcome it?

  14. Share with us a situation where you under-achieved.

  15. Describe the type of environment which you work best in.

  16. Can you provide examples and show that you can adapt to a wide variety of people,  situations, and environments?

  17. How well do you communicate in both oral settings and in writing?

  18. What will you do if your Captain does something that you disagree with? How will you handle it?

  19. Your aircraft is encountering a problem and as a junior First Officer, you observe that the senior Captain flying with you has his own way of doing things. Will you follow or what will you do?

  20. What is your favourite colour?

  21. How comfortable are you interacting and working with strangers or people whom you have just met for the first time?

  22. Do you prefer working with people or with equipment and machineries?

  23. How important are the airline’s interests compared to your personal interests? Which will you prioritise if they are conflicted?

Personality

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  1. How does an aircraft fly?

  2. What are the principles of flight / 4 forces of flight?

  3. What is lift? What is the formula of lift? How is lift generated? 

  4. What are the primary flight controls of an aircraft?

  5. How do the ailerons of an aircraft work?

  6. Describe in detail how an aircraft:

    • Turn / Bank

    • Climb / Descend

  7. Why does an aircraft not spin when you roll the aircraft?

  8. Explain what is fly-by-wire.

  9. Describe the general layout of an aircraft cockpit and some of its functions.

  10. Name the common instruments found in the cockpit.

  11. What is a HUD? Can pilots land without a HUD?

  12. Name one instrument to look at when the aircraft is:

    • Flying straight and level

    • Climbing / Descending

    • Turning

  13. Illustrate and describe how a turbofan engine works.

  14. What is a high-bypass engine?

  15. What are the differences between a turbofan, turbojet and turboprop?

  16. What are the differences between jet engines and propeller engines?

  17. What is bleed air and what is it used for?

  18. During cruise at cruising altitude for a commercial aircraft, give the:

    • Approximate altitude it is flying at

    • Cabin altitude

    • Atmospheric temperature outside the aircraft

  19. What do the runway numbers describe and mean?

  20. What is Changi Airport’s runway orientation?

  21. What are the two devices used to manoeuvre the plane on the ground?

  22. What are V-speeds? Describe the common V-speeds:

    • V1

    • VR

    • V2

    • Vref

  23. Why do pilots take their hand off the thrust lever / throttle at V1?

  24. State the typical take-off, cruising and landing speeds of a commercial aircraft.

  25. What is Mach 1? How fast is Mach 1 in km/hr or kts?

  26. What is the purpose of wingtip devices?

  27. Name the different types of:

    • Drag

    • Wings

    • Wingtip devices

    • Flaps

    • Slats

  28. What are flaps and how do they work?

  29. Describe the pitot-statis system found in commercial aircrafts.

  30. What are the various crosswind techniques in landing an aircraft?

  31. Name some examples of:

    • Twin-engine aircrafts

    • 3-engine aircrafts

    • 4-engine aircrafts

  32. What is your favourite aircraft? Tell me some details about it and why it is your favourite. What is so special about it?

  33. What are the main differences between an Airbus and Boeing aircraft?

  34. What are two differences between the cockpit of an Airbus and Boeing aircraft?

  35. Describe how you will control or what you will input on an Airbus or Boeing to make them:

    • Turn / Bank

    • Climb / Descend

  36. Why are the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 more efficient than older aircrafts?

  37. What are the main differences between the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787?

  38. How do the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 differ in terms of engines?

  39. Why does the Boeing 777X have foldable wingtips?

  40. What are bleedless engines and how do they work?

  41. Which aircrafts have serrated engine nacelles / engine chevrons? Why are they designed this way?

  42. How can you differentiate and tell different commercial aircrafts apart both interior and exterior?

  43. How much fuel is used from Singapore (to destination)?

  44. What are the types of extra fuel carried on board?

  45. What is the difference between MAYDAY and PAN PAN?

  46. What does MAYDAY FUEL or MINIMUM FUEL mean? What are their procedures like?

  47. What are the effects of decompression? What should you do when faced with it?

  48. What should you do when an aircraft engine is on fire? Should the engine still be on fire after attempting to extinguish it, what should you do next?

  49. Where are fire extinguishers typically located in an aircraft?

  50. Describe how waypoints are determined and obtained.

  51. How do pilots know the location of their aircraft?

  52. Should an aircraft lose its GPS capabilities, how do pilots then fly the aircraft?

  53. Explain what is a stall and how it occurs.

  54. What is a stick shaker?

  55. Give an example of a Standard Instrument Departure (SID) / Standard Terminal Arrival (STAR) of Singapore Changi.

  56.  What is an Instrument Landing System (ILS)?

  57. Explain the purpose of a transponder and squawking ident.

  58. Explain what is Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) and how it works.

  59. What is turbulence? What creates it? How do we avoid or minimise it?

  60. What are the factors behind some landings being smooth, with other landings being more rough?

  61. What are the various types of Air Traffic Controller (ATC) frequencies at airports?

Aviation

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  1. What are the roles and responsibilities of a Captain and First Officer?

  2. What are the differences between Pilot Flying (PF) and Pilot Monitoring (PM)?

  3. Share with me what pilots do before and during every flight.

  4. What is the Swiss Cheese Model, and why is it that important in aviation?

  5. Why are budget airlines performing well in recent times?

  6. Name three trends in the aviation industry. How will this affect the industry over time and also SQ?

  7. Do you think SQ is adapting well to the current competitive climate? What are some adaptations SQ has adopted towards such challenges?

  8. What is ETOPS and how does it affect flying today?

  9. The number of operating flight crew in an airplane has been decreasing over the past decades. Why is this so?

  10. What are your thoughts on single-pilot operations? Do you think it is viable?

  11. What is fuel hedging and why have airlines globally performed fuel hedging?

  12. Have you talked to any pilots in the industry about the lifestyle of a pilot? What have you learnt?

Industry
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  1. Have you read of any recent aviation incidents? Elaborate and describe how and why it happened.

  2. Tell me of a recent incident involving a Singapore Airlines aircraft.

  3. Share with me any recent or past news of a Singapore Airlines aircraft experiencing rapid decompression.

  4. Has Singapore Airlines experienced any fatal accidents in its history? Share more about the accident.

  5. What is Crew Resource Management (CRM)? Share an aircraft accident that was the result of a lack of CRM.

  6. How will you handle a critical situation in flight with your fellow pilot?

  7. If you are in the marketing team of an airline, how will you convince your customers that it is safe to fly on the Boeing 737 MAX?

Aviation Incident / Accident
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  1. Briefly share about the history of Singapore Airlines.

  2. When did SQ begin operations?

  3. How many planes does SQ have? Can you name the specific types?

  4. Share a few characteristics of any SQ aircraft.

  5. If you are able to choose, what aircraft type would you like to fly initially?

  6. What do you know about SQ?

  7. What are the core values of SQ?

  8. What are the latest news and developments for SQ?

  9. What is SQ’s current stock price?

  10. What are the existing challenges which SQ are facing? How do we solve these challenges?

  11. What do you think of the future of SQ? How can it continue to compete effectively in the aviation industry?

  12. Who is in the top management of SQ?

    • CEO

    • SVP

  13. You mentioned that you admire the lifestyle of an SQ pilot. Would you then fly for Scoot?

  14. What are the differences between SQ and Scoot pilots?

  15. Did you apply for the Scoot cadet pilot programme? If given an offer by both SQ and Scoot, which will you choose?

SIA

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  1. How many campuses does SFC have?

  2. What is the total number of subjects covered during ground school in SFC? Name some of the modules covered.

  3. What aircraft will you learn to fly at SFC? Can you name some of its features and attributes?

  4. How long is the entire programme at SFC?

  5. What do you think training is like as a cadet with SFC?

  6. What are the processes like should you manage to get into the programme at SFC?

  7. How much do you think it costs to train a pilot?

SFC
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  1. Conversion Questions - Give the conversion rate between:

    • Feet and Metres

    • Kilometers and Nautical miles (or Kilometer/Hour and Knots)

    • Litres and US gallons

  2. Speed Mathematical Questions - What is the:​

    • Value of 100 ÷ 3600​

    • Distance covered in one second when travelling at 1,000 km/hr

    • Time taken to descend from FL360 to 9,000 ft if your rate of descent is 3,000 ft/min

  3. Combination Questions - An extension of Conversion and Speed Mathematical questions from above:

    • Given that an aircraft has travelled at 900 km/hr for 7 hours, how far in nautical miles has it flown?

    • Given that an aircraft has covered 7,000 km over 8 hours, what is the aircraft speed in knots?

  4. Guesstimation Questions:

    • What is the volume of this interview room?​

    • How many planes are currently flying in the skies right now?

  5. Mathematical Formula Questions - How do you calculate:

    • Area of a square / rectangle / circle

    • Volume of a cylinder

    • Speed / Velocity

  6. What is the difference between speed and velocity?

  7. What is the capital of (country)?

  8. What is the time zone of (destination)?

  9. What is the current time now in (destination)?

  10. Name several cities / states / provinces of (country).

  11. What is Daylight Saving Time?

  12. What is the International Date Line?

  13. What is Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)?

  14. Explain the reason behind my landing:

    • Earlier than I departed when flying Eastwards from Singapore towards the USA

    • Two days later than I departed when flying Westwards from USA towards Singapore

  15. What is the distance from Singapore to (destination)?

  16. How long does it take to fly from Singapore to (destination)?

  17. When traveling from Singapore to (destination), which countries or water bodies will you overfly?

  18. Describe the flight path of the aircraft which you took in your most recent flight.

  19. When departing from Singapore to (destination), which direction does the aircraft fly to?

  20. What is great-circle distance?

  21. What are the existing geographical or political issues and current affairs of certain countries which may affect or be of concern to aviation?

  22. What are some of the challenges you may face should you fly to (destination) during this time of the year?

  23. How does temperature change with height? At what rate does it change?

  24. What is the most dangerous cloud to fly through?

  25. What are the effects on countries which are located on the boundaries of tectonic plates?

  26. What are the threats of volcanic eruptions?

  27. What are the potential challenges faced when flying over mountainous terrain?

  28. Describe how does GPS work.

Geography / General Knowledge
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  1. There are other candidates out there which are as good as, if not better and more suited for the job. What makes you different? Why should we hire you?

  2. There are other candidates out there who are younger and have a longer career runway as a pilot. Why should we hire you?

  3. There are other candidates out there who are older and have more experience and resilience in work and adversities to cope as a pilot. Why should we hire you?

  4. What will you do if you’re not selected for the job? How will you continue to pursue your passion in aviation or flying?

  5. You did not perform well academically and your grades or GPA were not satisfactory. Why was this so? What has changed such that you can perform during ground school?

  6. You did not study Physics at school. Why did you not choose to study it? Do you think you can still handle and adapt to flight school?

  7. You failed the Air Grading / Basic Wing Course in the RSAF. Why was this so? What makes you think you can still make it as an airline pilot?

  8. You previously applied for the SIA / Scoot Cadet Pilot Programme but failed to get an offer. Why do you think you did not make the cut? What makes you think this time will be any different?

  9. As you mentioned that you wanted to be a pilot and fly quite badly, why are you so selective and not apply for both the SIA / Scoot Cadet Pilot Programme?

  10. You already currently have a good job outside, and being a pilot may not suit you. Why do you want to throw it all away?

  11. You do not appear to have done much to get into or pursue your interest in aviation. Why should we offer you this opportunity?

  12. Someone truly passionate and interested in aviation would have dabbled with flight simulation games more consistently. Why did you play with them just a couple of times?

  13. You do not have a driving licence. Why did you not attempt to obtain one? What makes you think you have the abilities to fly then?

Rejection

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