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Re-introduction of Commissioning opportunities for NCA

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Re-introduction of Commissioning opportunities for NCA

Old 18th Mar 2009, 09:20
  #21 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Gnd View Post
5 SO2s in a flight is very expensive and it does happen. I do think this may be more appropriate to the RW fraternity; in the short term anyway.
Round the buoy again? In the mid-60s a V-bomber sqn with 55 aircrew had one wg cdr and one sqn ldr. Senior flt lt covered the QFI/IRE, plotter, radar, AEO Ldrs and a Training Officer. Many of these were Cranwell officers and destined for the stars. The rest of the billets were filled with 38/16 men.

Then came Hodgekinson and the creation of an additional 300 overborne sqn ldrs from which to increase the pool for wg cdrs. Unfortunately the sqn ldrs were not happy being sqn ldr gash-shag and wanted a role in life.

The same V-bomber sqn that previously had an SO/SO2 gained two SO2 flt cdrs, an AEO ldr, Nav Ldr, Pilot Ldr, and Training Officer. Overnight the SO2 role was diluted to just 20% and the SO3 billets abolished. Even Spec Aircrew sqn ldrs bumped career flt lt from useful employment.

Just out of interest - how would a junior Flt Lt do when confronted with a stroppy Wng Comd 200 miles around the other side of the world - pull the Aircraft Captain card like any Army WO maybe or get help from the MALM?
It has been done. If done properly it can be the wg cdr that trips on his knickers.

So, what has rank inflation actually achieved? It achieved a big put lift in retention pay but also led to major redundancy packages within a year or so. Promote, see how they manage, then promote further or make redundant.
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Old 18th Mar 2009, 09:30
  #22 (permalink)  
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All good stuff and accurate but my point is - do not have as many SO2 posts and the ones you have, are meaningful.

Things have moved on from the V force and I, with no great opinion as I know many who hover in the useless SO2 post bracket, just think that the cost of too many higher ranks will be frowned upon in the corridors of civilian power.

I do think the FRI was divisive and would have been better spent on the 16k pa end of the scale or on JR accom - but I will never be in a position to sort that out.
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Old 18th Mar 2009, 09:48
  #23 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Gnd View Post
All good stuff and accurate but my point is - do not have as many SO2 posts and the ones you have, are meaningful.

Things have moved on from the V force and I, with no great opinion as I know many who hover in the useless SO2 post bracket, just think that the cost of too many higher ranks will be frowned upon in the corridors of civilian power.
Gnd, quite. I was just citing the V-force as the point at which it changed and the effect of the change. Other than that things really have not moved on.

Where a leader was a 2nd or 3rd tourist in role an SO2 is as likely to be parachuted in to the job and other than inate ability is no more role experienced as your 1st tourist in role but by virtue of rank is 'the expert'.

The pool is certainly bigger but also shallower. As you as, far more SO2 slots, many of which are not meaningful. OTOH I have seen far more SO3 at Air than used to be the case; SO3 used to be a rarity.
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Old 18th Mar 2009, 10:11
  #24 (permalink)  
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True and the dilution of experience, in my opinion, is critical at the moment. This would account for the SO3 at Air.
This further strengthens the possibility of NCA being commissioned; this feeds experience in very fast albeit you would need to be on the ‘NCOs can’t command’ side of the fence or –
You accept that the Officer cadre is allowed to mature, in peace, using the SNCO to do the soldier ant task. This has its benefits allowing the experience to grow (Officer) as well as stay on the front line (SNCO) while allowing the luxury of maturing the competent SO3/2 who then can go into Air and Command.
I am still convinced that we can see the pitfalls easily but once you get into politics Mil or Civil – a lobotomy dulls the optical nerves – that can’t see beyond the end of their noses (unfair to tar all but you get the point). I have often wondered how a young blade can be fantastic then when they reach SO1 morph into ‘le Grand Idiot’ – bizarre – an NCO wouldn’t do that, they either are or are not idiots from day dot and remain so!!!
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Old 18th Mar 2009, 12:02
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Sorry for dragging this back to the NCO pilot argument, but Here's my viewpiont:

Anyone who has the necessary qualities to be a pilot in the military also has the necessary qualities to be commisioned. So why hold someone down at the rank of Sgt? The guys who flew in WWII as NCO pilots were similarly worthy of commisioning but were held down at NCO rank becuase of fears about watering down the "offficer class" with the influx of people from all backgrounds that was necessary to keep pace with the demand for aircrew. Thankfully those attitudes are a thing of the past.

To have Plt Off as the minimum rank for a pilot is no more absurd than having Sgt as the minimum rank for Air Eng, ALM or any of the other NCA trades.

I work alongside many NCO aircrew who I would be far happier training up to be pilots than some of the guys the training system throws at us. They are in many cases more reliable, harder working, cleverer, and more fun to have a beer with. I would however, want them to recieve the same pay and conditions as all the other Sqn pilots though, so they would have to be commisioned first.

The biggest question I really cannot get my head around is why on earth someone would want to be an NCO pilot rather than a commisioned pilot?

If it is because they will be cheaper to employ and this is a magnanimous gesture to save the treasury money, then good on ya. That is however a viewpoint not often expressed on PPRuNe.

If it is because you believe that officers work so much harder when not flying, what with all that officering to be getting on with, then you are sadly mistaken. The guys I work alongside have just as many ACRs to write (more actually) or struggle under reams of secondary duties in order to chase that next elusive promotion.

If it is because you believe that all officers are toffs and you would rather not have to mix with that type, then you are probably not one of the clever reliable, sociable, leaders that I mentioned in a previous paragraph and therefore probably shouldn't apply in any case.

If it is because you believe that all pilots get treated as officers first and therefore suffer frequent "staff tours" at the expense of their profesional experience then you are once again, well off the mark. I have enjoyed 15 years continuous flying. The only sacrifice?.... no promotion to Sqn Ldr (they do get staff tours!!)


I really can't see why anyone would want to be an NCO pilot rather than an officer pilot, anymore than someone would want to be an SAC loadie rather than a Sgt loadie. Please explain.

Come on, get a commision and become a pilot, ITS ACE.

Arty Out

Last edited by Arty Fufkin; 18th Mar 2009 at 12:18.
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Old 18th Mar 2009, 12:55
  #26 (permalink)  
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Every point well made and correct - it is not the 'Pilots' it will be the NAO or some such other faceless tyrant.

The Army has LE Officers (Very expencive!!! eg PAS L30+ ) to fill Command/Officer posts. The NCOs are flyers and I would love you to find one who felt it was required to be an Officer; there are the odd few - normally to extent their career.

(before we get into the grunt argument - I for one wouldn't be able to do what an Army Sgt does in his AH overseas so would never try to use a rude and wrong argument to prove a point) It's about the people and the faceless few.
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Old 18th Mar 2009, 13:21
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Arty,

Top post and in total agreement with your thoughts. I don't think anyone here is advocating NCO pilots, certainly not me for sure, it's was simply the airing of the notion that to bean counters it may seem a logical move to make.

The main reason the thread got off track was the oft trotted out tripe that a Sgt could not possibly have what it takes be a Typhoon pilot, but if you put the same Sgt through IOT then somehow he suddenly may well have what it takes to be a Typhoon pilot, it's utter tosh and always has been
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Old 18th Mar 2009, 17:18
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Chugalug2 -
'Captain' Jack's turn of phrase ... ahhh, yes!!! Dishforth Mess bridge school was not for untutored ears. Much consternation when Auntie Betty introduced FEMALE AQM's!! Considerable efforts were made to moderate the comments but all came to nought with " Dash it, partner, you've trumped my ng ace"!!
Great days and, of course, even more notable than JH was Johnny Loveridge holder of TWO current Transport Command A categories and training Captain on Bevs AND Hastings. The rush to make multi engine captains all 'shinies' had the two of them sent to Jurby. There was not the slightest possibility that their sojourn there could have 'improved' either one.
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Old 18th Mar 2009, 18:15
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I think a big part of the answer to 'why would you want to be a Sgt pilot...' is the result of the commissioning process as observed by said NCOs.

Every NCO knows x people who were damn good at the job, excellent at running their wet/dry team and so forth, who got knocked back while some complete weasel who couldn't be trusted to read the FRCs unsupervised seemed to absolutely waltz it. I realise that the process isn't actually trying to locate Dan Dare/Biggles - but the amount of times Frank Spencer makes it tends to disillusion at times.

So if you don't have much faith in the commissioning process but want to be a pilot, then NCO pilots looks to be a good move....to an NCO. That NCO would almost certainly prefer a commission, but the pilot slot is the main draw.

It might also help retention on the frontline - NCOs eager for frontline flying for as long as possible, without the distraction of wondering whether the career would be better served by becoming a tea boy at MOD.

For the more dismissive on here - try checking the educational qualifications of your NCOs, when it comes to learning how to fly was the Modern Studies graduate up front really a better bet than the Maths graduate in the back?
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Old 18th Mar 2009, 18:40
  #30 (permalink)  
 
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Davejb,

Might just me being a slow pilot with minimal qualififcations, but I still don't get the attraction to NCO pilot. The commisioning / OASC process is certainly imperfect, but it would remain so when selecting NCO pilots as well. We all have wondered at the stupid decisions made by commisioning and promotion boards from time to time, but are you telling me that is why someone wouldn't want to be a commmisioned pilot? Incase they fail selection? As I said before, the necessary qualities seen by a board to offer someone a job as captain of one of HMs aircraft, are well in excess of those required to offer someone employment as OC chips or some other bastion of bluntness. I can't ever see a selection board say " Yes, I'd like that chap to be in charge of X million pounds worth of jet or a crew of 20 and 250 passengers, I just have doubts as to whether or not he is officer material!!"

As previously stated, the MOD teaboy thing is a fallacy, provided you actualy want to remain flying and don't want to climb the greasy pole to Sqn Ldr and above.

Also, I would agree wholeheartedly that many NCOs have better academic qualifications that many officers. That is exactly my point. Dont consider a commision as a prerequisite for a pilot slot, see it as an added bonus, a welcome pressie for being picked to do a rather cool job!!


As for navigators.......bust them all down to corporal I say. Useless B**gers!


Arty F

Last edited by Arty Fufkin; 18th Mar 2009 at 18:48. Reason: forgot to have a dig at blunties
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Old 18th Mar 2009, 19:21
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Arty F

Your premise that if someone has the smarts to be a pilot he has the smarts to be an officer is wrong.
I know several NCA that, having displayed the aptitude for pilot training at OASC on initial application, were knocked back on officer qualities (usually because they were deemed to be a little immature).
There are several NCO pilots from the AAC who failed on officer qualities when trying to transfer (no offence chaps).
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Old 18th Mar 2009, 19:33
  #32 (permalink)  
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Whoa Arty - who is better to a board and which board would that be ? Maybe the Flt lt who hauls Doggy doo and 250 plus grumpy pax to an unscheduled tech stop or the A cat QHI Sgt that is mission Commanding an AH in dire conditions abroad?

He chooses to, and has worked hard to, be a SNCO with the kudos and privileges that entails. There is more than one benefit to being a SNCO in HMF and many of them similar to the Officers. Commissioned NCOs (ex NCA) are very similar and I know many an MALM that would happily remain WOs but would prefer to be front end, and could easily be.
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Old 18th Mar 2009, 19:40
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And how long would it be before SNCO pilots look at the Officer pay scales and wonder why they are not getting the same basic or flying pay?

Lowering or capping(PAS) Officer Aircrew wages would have a knock on to recruitment and retention

Why go through all that flying training for 75% of the wages and 25% of the flying pay - just accept that you are better off being an officer - if you didn't make the grade at OASC that's the selection process!

Commissioning of NCA has been re-established to back fill various gapped or empty SO2/SO3 posts around the bazaars.

With the demise of C130K, VC10 and Tristar plus the possible cancellation of MRA4 and A400M the question is do we need NCA at all???

Surely SH crewman could just be airman much along the lines of various other air forces/armies - after all they fulfill much the same job as a Lynx door-gunner
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Old 18th Mar 2009, 19:48
  #34 (permalink)  
 
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Gnd,

Are you really 43 or are you using your dad's computer?

SJ Wort,

There is a difference between passing an aptitude test for a job and passing the interview or selection proceedure. You could probably pick 20 people off the street and 10 of them would pass pilot aptitude tests. Not all of them would be suitable to be employed as a pilot. This whole hang up on "officer" qualities is clouding the issue. They are the same qualities looked for by any employer recruiting for pilots. The only difference is this: In the airforce, if you display those qualities but can't find your ar*ehole with both hands, you can still be commisioned into a ground branch (or as a nav)

Cheers
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Old 18th Mar 2009, 20:17
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Truckie, doing a bit of fishing are we?

"Surely SH crewman could just be airman much along the lines of various other air forces/armies - after all they fulfill much the same job as a Lynx door-gunner"

Average banter at best, undermining your argument and making you look pretty ignorant at worst, old chap.
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Old 18th Mar 2009, 20:19
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and his location gives it all away...pension due in 2012 is it???
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Old 18th Mar 2009, 20:27
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and his location gives it all away...pension due in 2012 is it???
Nope - take over as SO1 (NCA) Manning.
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Old 18th Mar 2009, 20:30
  #38 (permalink)  
 
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This thread has drifted further and further away from the original post - not to say the points aren't valid, but...

Re-starting the commissioning of NCA is a really good way of keeping the more talented and enthusiastic guys in the branch/specialisation they're in now. I've seen many many NCA commission into ground trades over the past few years, the vast majority of whom have been a real loss to the branch. They were generally the cream of the crop and highly motivated and obviously frustrated at being "capped" at NCO level. As a result, they decided to commission to regain a career path and were lost to other branches (in particular the Flt Ops branch, but that's a different thread altogether...)

With the new scheme, the same guys will still rise to the top, but now they have a career path within specialisation resulting in their expertise and experience being retained where it is needed the most - the frontline. The old scheme was flawed in that there was no coarse filter at sqn level which meant any numpty could enter the OASC lottery, strike it lucky and come back as the relevant crew position leader - irrespective of professional ability or reputation (all those who work with NCA branches will know examples), thus causing the old scheme to lose credibilty over time. If the new scheme is to work effectively, careful filtering needs to be done at sqn level to ensure only the best candidates succeed in order to maintain credibility. Competition will be fierce enough but it will ensure that the good guys are retained.

I think there is a need for commissioned rearcrew to help bat for their side at sqn exec level and higher too. With the best will in the world, few MACR will hold real sway execs (though there will always be execptions) - many senior offrs still look down their noses at our non-commissioned brethren...

So, with careful execution and selection, commissioning of NCA will a) retain experience and expertise at the frontline and stop the bleeding of talent (or brain drain, if you prefer) from the NCA branches, b) offer NCA quicker and more extensive career progression and c) offer better representation for the boys and girls on the shop floor at exec level and beyond (to my knowledge, there are no NCA branch, branch sponsors).

Of course, some NCA will continue to commission out of specialisation but I will stick my neck out and suggest that the majority of those will apply for other flying roles - ie in the front, whether that be pointy, shiny or rotary.

So that's my opinion - as you will notice, I think it's a positive thing. And for those wondering about my provenance, I was a crewman for 8 years before commissiong to the front end 9 years ago (because I had to, in order to get there...). I feel very strongly about about my old branch and believed the stopping of NCA commissioning was a mistake - I hope the new scheme is a success and wish all candidates the very best of luck.
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Old 18th Mar 2009, 20:47
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What hasn't been clarified is how they (Com' NCA/Offrs) will be employed on the Sqns.

One would hope that they are given the chance to use their previous experience effectively, and not become someone's whipping boy.

Thoughts????
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Old 18th Mar 2009, 20:53
  #40 (permalink)  
 
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OC HQ Flight with a "Secondary Duty" (and please don't take that the wrong way, NCA!) of rearcrew "leader" (with a deliberate small L...).

Just a thought...
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