Could You Pass the Aviation Standard Test Battery?


By: John Miller

5 Min Quiz

Image: fotoVoyager/E+/gettyimages

About This Quiz

Deep down, you’ve always loved Kenny Loggins. But do you really have what it takes to hop into the cockpit of a Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor? Sure, you might get high scores on the hardest PC flight simulators, but that doesn’t mean you’re Top Gun material. To prove it, you’ll have to pass the United States Navy’s Aviation Standard Test Battery (ASTB). If you soar through the questions on this quiz, maybe you’ll be America’s number one fighter pilot!

The ASTB is nothing like the tests you’d take for medical school or even a bar exam. It’s a relatively short test that probes your knowledge of a variety of subjects, including math, reading comprehension, physics, military history, and more. Have you crammed hard enough to hit the afterburners in this exciting quiz? Don't think for a moment that mastering a flight simulator game will make it easy for you to ace this quiz. There's a lot more to flying successfully than wiggling a joystick or hitting keys!

Sure, taking tests isn’t nearly as exciting as landing a $22 million jet on the flight deck of the USS Enterprise. But you have to start somewhere. See if you can pass this ATSB quiz now!

What's the purpose of the Aviation Standard Test Battery?

The Aviation Standard Test Battery is a test that the Navy uses to identify flight office and pilot candidates. The men and women who want to be Navy pilots must pass this test.


What's the maximum number of times candidates may attempt to pass the ATSB?

You get three shots to pass the ATSB. And if you fail that third attempt, let's be honest, you probably shouldn't be flying jets that cost tens of millions of dollars, anyway.


On the Saffir-Simpson scale, what's the highest rating for a hurricane?

Category 5 hurricanes are the most powerful. They have sustained winds of more than 157 MPH, and yes, they'll make your jet nosedive into the sea.


In flight, what is "roll"?

Planes move in three dimensions, including pitch, yaw and roll. Roll is the rotation of the plane from tail to nose, and rolls will be necessary if you have Commie enemies tailing your F-22.


What's an example of a fixed-wing aircraft?

A B-29 is a fixed-wing aircraft. A helicopter, on the other hand, is a rotary-wing aircraft and also a handy way to chop vegetables for the mess hall.


About how long does it take to complete the Aviation Standard Test Battery?

In just 30 minutes you'll know whether you can be a Navy pilot! Just kidding, most candidates need about three hours for the exam.


What do Euler angles describe?

Pilots need intrinsic understandings of physics. Euler angles reference the orientation of bodies within certain coordinates. It's an essential part of flight physics.


Inertia is also called what?

When objects are in motion, they resist changes in their direction. They have inertia, or momentum. At Mach 4, your F-16 has a lot of momentum.


How are powered fixed-wing aircraft different from paragliders?

Powered fixed-wing aircraft are one of humankind's most revolutionary inventions. They use engines to provide thrust, which pushes the plane forward through the air.


What organization within the Navy handles criminal investigations?

The Judge Advocate General's Corps, or JAG, is the primary criminal justice agency in the Navy. JAG can investigate crimes and arrest people for wrongdoing.


How many different sections are there in the Aviation Standard Test Battery?

There are four scoring sections in the test. They score each candidate's aptitudes across a broad range of knowledge.


What's the purpose of flight control surfaces?

Flight control surfaces, like the elevator and ailerons, are the parts of the plane that the pilot uses to control flight mechanics. The rudder, for example, turns the plane.


What's the best example of potential energy?

Potential energy refers to the relationship between one object and other. The arrow and the bow have a complex physical relationship … and a lot of potential energy.


"Six degrees of freedom" refers to what?

Six degrees of freedom is a physics concept that relates the movement of a body through space. Pilots must have a firm grasp on the way planes move through three-dimensional space … or suffer the consequences.


What qualification does the PFAR section of the test review?

The PFAR is the Pilot Flight Aptitude Rating section of the test. You need a score of 5 or higher if you want to be a pilot.


What does "AOA" stand for?

AOA, or angle of attack, references a body's movement through fluid. In aviator terms, what you really want to know is the AOA of your aircraft's wings relative to the skies around you.


In flight, how does "pitch" affect a plane?

Pitch changes as the plane's nose goes up or down. Pitch the plane downward for too long and you can guess what happens.


Which Navy officer is the most powerful?

You're not shooting to become an Admiral, of course -- you want to be a Navy pilot. But if you shoot down enough enemy planes … maybe someday you, too, will have four stars on your uniform.


How many different versions of the ATSB are there?

There are currently three different forms of the test. Not coincidentally, that's also the maximum number of times you can take the test.


If you fail the ATSB, how long do you have to wait to try again?

Fail the ATSB and you have to wait 90 days for another attempt. After three failing scores, repeat after me: "Do you want fries with that?"


Which force helps aircraft get off of the ground?

Lift is the critical force that makes aircraft work. Lift is generated as wings move through the air around them.


You only have to take the ENTIRE ATSB if you want to do what?

Not every candidate takes the whole ATSB. Only pilot candidates have to do that. So if you want to fly, you'll have to put your nose in a lot of textbooks.


If a plane experiences a sudden reduction in lift, what happens?

A stall is when planes suddenly lose lift, perhaps to a too-steep climb. Stalls can result in tragic and explosive crashes.


Why are compact cars less likely to overturn during a fast turn than large trucks?

In a fast turn, smaller, more compact vehicles stay upright better than large trucks. It's because their center of gravity is so much lower than that of a large vehicle.


True or false, if you pass the ATSB but want to improve your score, can you try again?

True. You can try to improve your score if you want, but keep in mind that the Navy will only accept your most recent score … not your highest.


Which part of an aircraft controls "yaw"?

The rudder turns the aircraft side to side. That's yaw. Lose control of yaw and you'll spin into a dizzying display of devastation.


What happens during the Performance Based Measures Battery portion of the test?

This is the part of the test that might actually be fun. The Performance Based Measures Battery is essentially a flight simulator that tests your flying abilities.


"Airfoil" refers to which aspect of a plane?

The airfoil is the cross-section of a wing. Airfoils take many different shapes, some of which are more effective than others.


How is "planing lift" different than the lift that helps aircraft fly?

Lift helps planes fly, thanks to a fluid (or gas) moving past the wings. Planing lift occurs with objects like surfboards, in which only the bottom side of the object touches the fluid.


What sort of questions do you answer on the Biographical Inventory with Response Validation?

The Biographical Inventory with Response Validation is the quirky part of the test that asks probing questions about your life. The Navy says there are no "right" or "wrong" answers on this section, and that is a load of hooey.


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