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Joing The RAF - Odds Of Flying A AC Not A Desk?  
User currently offlineJamesbuk From United Kingdom, joined May 2005, 3968 posts, RR: 4
Posted (7 years 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 4526 times:

Hi guys and girls,

Well Im training for my PPL and I've always wanted to go into commercial aircraft, but someone recently got me into the whole fighter jet scene and im quite interested in joining the RAF. What i dont want to happen is to join the RAF and then get stuck behind a desk. I want to fly planes I dont care if its a harrier jumpjet or a a refueler plane. So if i join up how likely am i to become a pilot for them? Is there a certain time i have to stay with them? and if i leave is it still possible to get a job commercially?

I asked here because it would be less biased than the RAF website (even though i have looked) and I know you guys know your stuff  Smile

Rgds --James--


You cant have your cake and eat it... What the hells the point in having it then!!!
10 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineJamesbuk From United Kingdom, joined May 2005, 3968 posts, RR: 4
Reply 1, posted (7 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 4442 times:

Guys ive been looking on the RAF website, and basically they dont say anything about chances. If I said i wanted to join the RAF. Do i get to select what career in the RAF and also is it a selection process?

rgds --James--



You cant have your cake and eat it... What the hells the point in having it then!!!
User currently offlineCF188A From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (7 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 4434 times:

Quoting Jamesbuk (Thread starter):
Hi guys and girls,

Well Im training for my PPL and I've always wanted to go into commercial aircraft, but someone recently got me into the whole fighter jet scene and im quite interested in joining the RAF. What i dont want to happen is to join the RAF and then get stuck behind a desk. I want to fly planes I dont care if its a harrier jumpjet or a a refueler plane. So if i join up how likely am i to become a pilot for them? Is there a certain time i have to stay with them? and if i leave is it still possible to get a job commercially?

I asked here because it would be less biased than the RAF website (even though i have looked) and I know you guys know your stuff

Rgds --James--

1) you are joining the armed forces for the wrong reason

2) do not walk into the recruiting center and say you want to fly fighters!

3) there is no surety ever ... that you will be signed on as a pilot. You can apply directly for a pilot, and if you pass all the testing etc, then cheers, you will be a pilot. However do not let the ego reign in that field, it will terminate you before you even get started.


User currently offlineJamesbuk From United Kingdom, joined May 2005, 3968 posts, RR: 4
Reply 3, posted (7 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 4380 times:

Quoting CF188A (Reply 2):
1) you are joining the armed forces for the wrong reason

Why? I said i want to go there not to get the license free, because im already prepared to pay for it all myself. Im not some cheapskate.

Quoting CF188A (Reply 2):
2) do not walk into the recruiting center and say you want to fly fighters!

So when i go to the recruiting centre they just put me where they want me and I get no say in it?


I say i want to fly any AC they have. Not just fighters they dont bother me if I fly them or not, i would just as happily fly anything else they've got.

Rgds --James--



You cant have your cake and eat it... What the hells the point in having it then!!!
User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12173 posts, RR: 51
Reply 4, posted (7 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 4373 times:

Quoting Jamesbuk (Reply 3):
Why? I said i want to go there not to get the license free, because im already prepared to pay for it all myself. Im not some cheapskate.

The military forces don't care about any cilivan ratings you may have. They do very different kinds of flying, so they will start you at step #1. The trick here is to completely accept what they tell you, and forget what you already know, or that will get you into trouble and you'll be washed out soon. They don't have the time to find out what you know or don't know.

Quoting Jamesbuk (Reply 3):
I say i want to fly any AC they have. Not just fighters they dont bother me if I fly them or not, i would just as happily fly anything else they've got.

As I said, you start at step #1. At some point early, the RAF will determine what types you COULD be best at flying, and they will branch you out from there. Expect about two to two and a half years of training before you show up at your first squadron. Then since you are the FNG, expect more intense training with them, up to 6 months before you are fully qualified. The RAF will want X number of years of commitment from you to get a return on their investment.


User currently offlineP3Orion From United States of America, joined May 2006, 544 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (7 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 4354 times:

Quoting CF188A (Reply 2):
1) you are joining the armed forces for the wrong reason



Quoting Jamesbuk (Reply 3):
Why? I said i want to go there not to get the license free, because im already prepared to pay for it all myself. Im not some cheapskate.

You should join the armed forces out of a sense of honor and duty; not to just fly.



"Did he say strap in or strap on?"
User currently offlineTupolevTu154 From Germany, joined Aug 2004, 2185 posts, RR: 28
Reply 6, posted (7 years 7 months 2 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 4232 times:

Quoting Jamesbuk (Reply 3):
So when i go to the recruiting centre they just put me where they want me and I get no say in it?

There are RAF Careers offices (Not requitment offices as such). I've got an appointment with the one in Brighton soon. If you go there, they will give you tons of information and they can answer any qustions you may have. That is the best way to go.

If you join as an Officer (Higher entry requirements), you're quite likely to fly. You'll be given your preliminary flight training and your instructors will branch you off into either fast jets, as KC135 said, large aircraft or choppers. From then on you'll continue your training. Fast jets (Hawk) and choppers (Griffin) through RAF Valley, and large jets through RAF Cranwell (I think?)(King Air).

Please don't take this as gospel. This is all I've been told from speaking to RAF officers and servicemen/women and visiting various RAF Bases.

Let us know how it goes!

Tom Big grin



Atheists - Winning since 33 A.D.
User currently offlineBongodog1964 From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2006, 3659 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (7 years 7 months 2 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 4228 times:

I believe that the following applies

In order to become aircrew you need to firstly apply for aircrew.

If you get past the initial interview you are called to the aircrew selection centre; before the cutbacks this was at Biggin Hill; I'm not sure where it is now.

Over a period of days they carry out many physical and mental tests, to guage your aptitude, reactions, thought process, mentasl agility etc.

If you pass through this you are offered a place, and then proceed to officer training and then flying training.

I believe that at each stage of flying training you would be streamed; the best go to fast jets, those who are deemed acceptable but not quite the cream of the crop head for mutli engined or helicopters

I don't think there is any chance of being forced to accept a non flying position if you fail to make the grade.

One thing to bear in mind though, is that pilots particularly as their career develops; will rarely receive back to back flying postings; career steps behind a desk either at a RAF station or the MOD would be inevitable.


User currently offlineTupolevTu154 From Germany, joined Aug 2004, 2185 posts, RR: 28
Reply 8, posted (7 years 7 months 2 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 4216 times:

Quoting Bongodog1964 (Reply 7):
If you get past the initial interview you are called to the aircrew selection centre; before the cutbacks this was at Biggin Hill; I'm not sure where it is now.

This is carried out at RAF College Cranwell, I believe.

Tom Big grin



Atheists - Winning since 33 A.D.
User currently offlineFLVILLA From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2004, 394 posts, RR: 2
Reply 9, posted (7 years 7 months 2 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 4213 times:

I believe minimum service duty as a pilot in the RAF is now 12 years.


I hope in life i can work to live, not live to work
User currently offlineBilgeRat From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2006, 222 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (7 years 7 months 2 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 4147 times:

Back in 1998 when I was 17 years old I was entered for a flying scholarship with the RAF. I attended a one-on-one interview at my local careers office and was shortlisted to attend Officer and Aircrew Selection Centre (OASC) at RAF Cranwell, where flying scholarship candidates undertake a shortened version (including flying aptitude, interviews, and a full medical) of the full selection tests.

At the end of the third day I was told that although I more than met the requirements for aircrew, my legs were 14mm too long, and I was declared permanently unfit for aircrew duties. I was offered a chance to become an officer in any other branch of the RAF except for aircrew. Since being a pilot was the only thing I was interested in, I declined. Of the 34 people who attended OASC with me, only two passed the tests for aircrew.

You will be asked at various stages of the selection and interview process what type of flying you wish to do, and what aircraft. The choices in the RAF are: fast jet (i.e. Tornado, Harrier, Jaguar, Typhoon), multi-engine (Hercules, Nimrod, Sentry, VC10, Globemaster, Tristar), or rotary wing (Puma, Merlin, Sea King, Chinook). I believe candidates are placed into different streams early on in their training, and the decision is made based on your flying strengths and weaknesses, and also on the requirements of the service.

As for the training, well from what I remember for the fast jet stream....

Upon successful completion of the tests at OASC you would attend RAF College Cranwell for 6 months or so, where you will undergo your officer training. Once that is completed you will begin your pilot training. If you already have a PPL you are allowed to skip the elementary training (currently on Grob Tutors, undertaken by all trainee pilots in the UK Military) and progress straight onto basic training. I believe basic training for fast jet pilots in on the Shorts Tucano. Once this is completed you progress to fast jet training on the BAe Hawk. Upon completion of this training, you progress to weapons and tactical training, again on the BAe Hawk. Once that is done you "get your wings" and will be appointed to an OCU for the type you will eventually fly e.g. Harrier, Tornado, etc. Once you have completed the training at the OCU you would be assigned to an operational squadron.

To cut a long story short I ended up becoming a marine engineering officer in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Service. I just spent some time on RFA Gold Rover in the South Atlantic. When we were in the Falklands I would quite often take the opportunity to travel up to the Joint Officer's Mess at Mount Pleasant because the food up there was much better than what we had on the ship. The Mess was used by all three services, and I came across the RAF Tornado F.3 aircrews who are stationed at Mount Pleasant. Seldom have I met such a collection of egotistical tossers. Ever heard the joke "How do you know a pilot just walked into the bar? He'll tell you." Well, I now fully appreciate where that joke come from.

So, to answer your question....

The chances of actually becoming a pilot in the RAF. Slim. Very slim. They have no shortage of candidates, and they can afford to be very fussy. However, if you make it through, then great, you've achieved a dream. The only advice I will give about joining the military is make sure you pick a trade that has skills that are easily transferrable to a civilian job. The time will come when you want to leave, and if you don't have any skills or experience that will be of benefit to you in civvie street then your time in the military will be of very little value.

As for the "honor and duty" stuff, well... it's a load of rubbish. I can tell you that when I was rocking and rolling in heavy seas in the South Atlatic I wasn't thinking about honour and duty. It's all about doing something worthwhile with your life, so when you're an old man you can say "I've been there and done that." It will make you a more rounded individual, you'll see life and its trials and tribulations in a different light, and best of all you'll find good mates and good times.

Good luck!


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