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RPAS Pilots Awarded Wings

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RPAS Pilots Awarded Wings

Old 5th Apr 2013, 12:50
  #81 (permalink)  
 
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Roland

There are plenty of pilot type badges out there that the RAF did not need to denigrate the current real* pilot flying badge in such a way.
I am assuming that you are using the common meaning of 'denigrate' (and yes, I did have to look it up!) which is to insult or defame.

Does the award of RPAS wings to some very hard-working and capable colleagues, or as I should say fellow aviators, really insult the holders of the traditional pilot flying badge?

I assume by your reaction that you are a 'real' pilot?
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Old 5th Apr 2013, 13:31
  #82 (permalink)  
 
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RPAS Pilots Awarded Wings

To the holders of a manned pilot badge who have a grievance about the RPAS badge....

Get over yourselves! The RPAS badge is clearly different and as somebody who knows one of the holders very well, I can assure you that the four of them are not trying to replicate what a Typhoon mate does.

They are very good at what they do, operate in extremely complicated and dynamic airspace whilst doing a bloody difficult job. They deserve recognition and to be frank, are offering as much, if not more, to the current conflict than most others.

Stop bitching about the badge and start supporting what they do.
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Old 5th Apr 2013, 13:39
  #83 (permalink)  
 
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I don't believe that these wings 'denigrate' the current real flying badge because they are not the same and in my opinion should not be considered so.

I don't know exactly what the RPAS course consists of, but my 'real' wings took 18 months to earn. I undertook an intense course of groundschool, GH, IF, low level, formation flying and also gained a massive rollocking (and a huge reality check) when I nearly flew myself into the side of a hill during the course. At the end of it, my colleagues and I believed that we had truly earned the RAF flying badge.

Good luck to these guys, I'm sure they are hard-working and will add to the team effort but would I let my wife and kids sit in the back of an aircraft that these 'pilots' are in charge of? No thanks.
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Old 5th Apr 2013, 17:46
  #84 (permalink)  
 
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Lockstock

It's been a while, but if I recall correctly the RPAS course was about 40hrs in Grob (including solo), about 90 hrs in the Tucano Sim and a live flight (and a mini IRT), thence to USA for their UAS Fundamentals Course (about another 60 hrs of sim RPAS flying) then a Predator or Reaper Formal Trg Unit (read OCU in UK terms) for a bunch of live flying and sim flying. Again, if I recall correctly they had slightly more hands-on time than a Multi-Eng RAF student pilot and more than a CPL frozen ATPL.

As I said before, de facto pilots...Piloting an aircraft through the sky under IFR with a fly-by-wire wireless cable about 8000nm long!!!

LJ

Last edited by Lima Juliet; 5th Apr 2013 at 17:47.
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Old 5th Apr 2013, 18:34
  #85 (permalink)  
Below the Glidepath - not correcting
 
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Some of these comments remind me of my Chipmunk instructor saying;

"I could teach a monkey to land this thing in a 3 point attitude succesfully given the time, but you've only got 5 hours or your gone - now buck up!".

My point being that learning to fly is a great achievement, but don't get so full of yourself that you forget the main constraint the military applied to you learning that skill was time and money. Good luck to all of these individuals with this new branch, until I read this thread I had no idea quite so many RAF pilots lived near Tolpuddle.
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Old 5th Apr 2013, 18:51
  #86 (permalink)  
 
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Pure Pursuit - I think we have all agreed these guys have been through a tough course and have a tough job. They have an important role in modern conflict and they ARE fully supported by all of us. Congratulations to them for 'making the grade' and I have no doubt whatsoever that they are top notch guys.

The point is however, to award these individuals the same badge (and I don't accept a different coloured laurel makes a difference) changes what the badge represents.

The badge has been established for many years now and in simple terms some of the things it does represent is an ability to preform IN THE AIR difficult and complex tasks whilst potentially being shot at, potentially being at low level, in formation, in bad weather, under high G-loading, under time pressure, under pressure to get to that task, under pressure to make captaincy decisions that if wrong could get you and your crew killed.. I think people around the air force in ground branches who enjoy taking the mickey out of aircrew and moaning about their flying pay probably don't have the faintest idea about the stresses of the airborne environment.

The legal point is interesting. I suspect this is the main reason..

We should remember it is soldiers on the ground in Afghanistan who are facing danger everyday and deserve most of our spare attention - worth remembering while we discuss a badge!!
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Old 5th Apr 2013, 19:34
  #87 (permalink)  
 
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Get over it.

Some time back (late 90s) I sufferd one of those intriguing courses that AWC held. It was called ABSC and, without doubt, was one of the best aviation related, European drinking tours I ever went on.

Cutting to the chase, we observed a number of agencies working hard at UCAVs etc and there was some mightily impressive stuff in the pipeline. If we are still spending big-bucks on new combat aircraft in 20-30 years, I predict we will not be wasting money and payload space for a seat and some rather high tech life support.

Whether we like it or not, the role of the steely eyed fighter pilot is diminishing.
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Old 5th Apr 2013, 20:14
  #88 (permalink)  
 
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Jacko 3

You have just blown a large hole in your size 10 boot. Flying pay is awarded as retention pay to put our pay on a par with civvy-flyers wages and not 'danger money'. Also, your long list of romanticised items of "being shot at", "under high G loading", "being at low level" and "in formation" does not apply to an awful lot of pilots in the RAF.

Plus, if you don't think taking shots inside 'Danger Close' parameters with a Hellfire or dropping a GBU-12 doesn't warrant stress, then you've probably never been anywhere near any platform doing it - manned or remotely-manned. Listening to mates on the ground screaming for CAS and having to make life or death decisions brings plenty of stress; get it wrong and you could still go to jail - manned or remotely-manned.

The introduction of this brevet is long overdue and BZ to those chaps that have earned it...

LJ

Last edited by Lima Juliet; 5th Apr 2013 at 20:15.
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Old 5th Apr 2013, 20:52
  #89 (permalink)  
 
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LJ

Thanks for the info - I guess things have changed since I got my wings after nearly 300 hours of 'live' flying. No simulators with enough fidelity then, so it all had do be done in the air - not a bad thing as I learned a lot of airmanship in those early days which I don't believe can be gained in the sim. That's another argument though...

Whatever, good luck to these guys, they have earned what they've got and without doubt have a difficult and demanding job.

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Old 5th Apr 2013, 20:57
  #90 (permalink)  
 
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Lockstock

Yes, hands-on time is a lot less these days for pilots - see http://www.raf.mod.uk/no22traininggr...6ece6be6fa.ppt

LJ
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Old 5th Apr 2013, 21:14
  #91 (permalink)  
 
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LJ, ref. weaponeering. Don't the drone drivers just pickle the weapons? I thought the rest was done by the sensor operators
BTW there are many other jobs in the mil that get as stressed (more often) and have as serious (if not more) consequences, I wouldn't get too excited about trying to sell that aspect as not many will buy it

All this excitement over badges They went on a course and passed it like individuals in many different jobs, well done to them for their achievements.

Was this a genuine course or did the RAF have an agenda for the RPAS pilot program? Were the candidates representative of the baseline abilities expected to be put through in the future, or were the dice loaded? Were they more capable, experienced, skilled, etc. and less likely to fail? Did the course have a pass fail criteria or were they given training until they passed?
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Old 5th Apr 2013, 21:41
  #92 (permalink)  
 
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IR

ref. weaponeering. Don't the drone drivers just pickle the weapons? I thought the rest was done by the sensor operators
A bit more than that. Firstly, as Captain of the aircraft the pilot is responsible for any weapon fired. Secondly, they have to position the aircraft to fire the weapon in parameters in accordance with either JTAC instructions or the SOPs. Then ensure that they don't knacker the sensor ops tracking through manoeuvre. That said, it's a 3 man aircraft (including the Mission Specialist) and they all work together to get the best out of it.

As for getting stressed, yup the Chief Clerk gets more stressed when the lorry load of paperclips is late for delivery - oh, and as for the SWO, those sideburns and neckshaves really put the pressue on them...
Of course, there are stressful jobs throughout the armed forces, operating RPAS is but one of many!

LJ
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Old 6th Apr 2013, 00:41
  #93 (permalink)  
 
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No award honours the man, the man honours the award.

If someone thinks an airborne-earned pair of wings is worth the same as video-game set, then they aren't worth talking to.
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Old 6th Apr 2013, 01:33
  #94 (permalink)  
 
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If someone thinks an airborne-earned pair of wings is worth the same as video-game set then they aren't worth talking to
Clearly I'm not worth talking to; I only have a single AE wing and therefore am only half the man you are. Still, I can take comfort from the fact that I am better than the blokes with the single RAF badge, because I've been in longer than them. Hang on though, clearly N badge holders are better than me because they're commissioned. Never mind, I know I'm better than the IA badge wearers because their course was not as long as mine (except for one I know who's actually better than me). Perhaps I'm better than an AT, because I'm aircrew? What's that you say, 25 years experience engineering beforehand? Then surely I'm better than an LM; after all, they were crap at morse? Apart from the winchmen with AFCs, and the SH door gunners and MERT crews, obviously. Still, none of this matters - having blue laurel leaves on your badge doesn't make you as competent as one who has brown leaves, clearly. Unless you last flew C-130, in which case you're not as good as a Tornado pilot (GR4, not F3).

Or could it be (sharp intake of breath), we are ALL worthy, in our own individual and collective way? Honour the man.
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Old 6th Apr 2013, 01:40
  #95 (permalink)  
 
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Clearly I'm not worth talking to; I only have a single AE wing
Quite the opposite - you got your flying badge airborne same as me.

It's the personal risk I'm on about.

Yes, we are all worthy.
Yes, we are all essential. What use is a two-winged fighter pilot if we need to find a submarine?
But, I think it's a mistake to make the badges so similar.

Last edited by Fox3WheresMyBanana; 6th Apr 2013 at 01:44.
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Old 6th Apr 2013, 09:48
  #96 (permalink)  
 
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In my opinion flying, like sex, requires the participant to be present at the time. If you have a satellite uplink between you and your aircraft you are not a pilot. If you have a satellite uplink between you and your girlfriend you are not ....... her.
Ergo, it is no more possible to earn your wings fling a RPAS than it is to lose your virginity on the Internet.

I suspect that all UAV pilots will end up wearing thick glasses.

Rgds.

Last edited by Arty Fufkin; 6th Apr 2013 at 09:56.
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Old 6th Apr 2013, 10:02
  #97 (permalink)  
 
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In my opinion flying, like sex, requires the participant to be present at the time. If you have a satellite uplink between you and your aircraft you are not piloting it. If you have a satellite uplink between you and your girlfriend you are not ....... her.

Arty - You might have to reword that when the first women receive their blue wings, and I also trust that you are not implying that the existing "blue wingers" are looking at the wrong screens .......

Jack
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Old 6th Apr 2013, 10:25
  #98 (permalink)  
 
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Having kept out of this til now (too busy winding up the RN and others on Rotary threads) I do not consider the very clever operator of a remotely piloted vehicle to be a pilot. He's highly trained, presumably highly skilled and very necessary BUT when HIS 'kite' prangs he can take off his headset, say 'oh bother', and go home for tea and biccies. He isn't a pilot and it is wrong to wear a pretend pilot's brevet. I thought it was an April fools wind up when I first read the thread - but then so much of todays......
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Old 6th Apr 2013, 12:42
  #99 (permalink)  
 
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Don't worry folks I have an idea, if you can't stand them being called pilots refer to them as 'Drone Drivers'.

It won't affect how they do their job or how much they get paid and will be a very reasonable introduction to the wonderful world of 'aircrew' banter.

Personally I gave up caring about badges after the Cub Scouts, it is what you do that counts. We seem to cope in No2 dress in the summer
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Old 6th Apr 2013, 12:49
  #100 (permalink)  
 
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Angel

We seem to cope in No2 dress in the summer
Summer! Where you been for the last 6 years?

Just a thought, I have a friend who 'drives' underwater RPV's. Is he a submariner?
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