Military AircrewA forum for the professionals who fly the non-civilian hardware, and the backroom boys and girls without whom nothing would leave the ground. Army, Navy and Airforces of the World, all equally welcome here.
No justifiable reason in this day and age. Some will say it is due to the need to grow the command structure through the stars, but that can still be achieved by talent spotting in the early stages. You don't need to be an officer to be a pilot, the AAC have proved that and they will stay longer in the job too.
I was led to believe that it arose in the early days of the Great White Detergent. They could bomb the USSR into oblivion, but hadn't the range to get back. Seemed like a good idea to have all the aircrew POWs as officers. Could be wrong, but it's as good an idea as any, and I doubt there is any official record (at least none that are available).
I would be genuinely interested to hear how much experience the average NCO has starting Pilot's Course - and thus how much he/ she has cost prior to even seeing an aeroplane, and how many years on average the RN/RAF get from its pilots from the start of JEFTS groundschool compared to the AAC. Does anyone know?
I started my APC as a Lance Corporal having spent four years as an Aircrewman (Observer), prior to which I'd had four years as a Groundcrewman. On graduating I received a promotion to Corporal, and about two years later achieved the dizzy heights of Sergeant and Aircraft Commander, having been TQ'd and Lynx Converted on the way.
Cheap as chips, and achieved the aim.
Last edited by diginagain; 29th Oct 2012 at 09:57.
My father was a Master Pilot and actively flying aeroplanes such as Hunters in 2TAF and finally on the NBS at Lyndholme until retiring from the R.A.F. in 1968. His only ground tour was on 106SM squadron, Bardney. He then went on to fly with S.O.A.F. until about 1972 and I used to meet up with him in Masirah when we passed through on the Nimrod with 203sqn. He's still alive today.
Shoot me down in flames, but...... I have a couple of theories without having the actual facts at my fingertips.
All regular RAF pilots used to be officers before WW2 (unless training when they were officer cadets), but the rapid expansion of the RAF combined with the attrition rate of pilots during the war meant that NCOs were cheaper and quicker to produce. Once WW2 over there was an experiment with new RAF aircrew ranks for NCOs but this was not successful and ranks reverted - it is possible that the demise of the NCO pilot was around the time that this happened (1950).
I believe that during WW2, nations such as RAAF trained their bomber pilots while NCOs, but then gave them a commission before starting Ops tour.
As an afterthought, it is also possible that many NCO pilots were originally RAF VR and not regular pilots, but I stand to be corrected.