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Getting The Chop

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Getting The Chop

Old 27th Jul 2018, 09:48
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Originally Posted by TBM-Legend View Post
One day the four companies of his Class intake were called to parade [about 150 studs] and after a brief introduction, the officer in charge ordered A and B companies left turn and return to your pilot training. B and C companies right turn and prepare to depart for Aerial Gunnery School!.
It looks as if he might still have had a choice if he had been in B Company......

Jack
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Old 27th Jul 2018, 10:20
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It looks as if he might still have had a choice if he had been in B Company......
...unfortunately for him not in B but C company. I have his flight school book with picture of them all including Ed..
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Old 27th Jul 2018, 11:24
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DOF

Could you have meant as a RO on Javelins.

ACW
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Old 27th Jul 2018, 14:30
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Originally Posted by ACW418 View Post
DOF

Could you have meant as a RO on Javelins.

ACW
I am afraid I don't know. I was told by someone else that that is what became of him. I was a long time ago and I could be wrong but somehow I don't think so.
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Old 27th Jul 2018, 15:34
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Originally Posted by ACW418 View Post
DOF

Could you have meant as a RO on Javelins.

ACW
Originally Posted by Fixed Cross in 2013
Forgive an old "RO" from entering the Javelin exchange but the correct designation was "Radio Observer". Not many were actually trained-perhaps 100?.

After 6 months of basic Nav training at one of the Nav schools the RO progressed to radar intercept training either at North Luffenham or Leeming. Chasing blips up and down scopes sitting sideways in a smelly old Brigand (in total darkness) was not an easy game and many fell by the wayside. However, many of those "chopped" returned to Nav school and emerged later with a Navs brevet and a commission. The advantages of this procedure were not lost on other ROs and some were suspected of not exactly doing their best to succeed.

Subsequently after a tour in the back seat most ROs followed back through Nav training. The odd very lucky individual got into the front seat (yes, I was one of them) and somewhat late in career found our way into the Hunter force.
Certainly possible for an RO to end up as an AEO I would have thought
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Old 27th Jul 2018, 15:51
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Perhaps the originator of this Thread meant Radar/Radio Observer who I seem to recall wore a badge with 'RO' on it?

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Old 27th Jul 2018, 16:53
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As I was post-NS, I can’t answer DOF’s question. But when I was chopped from RN Flying Grading I was eventually (after a PQ!!) offered Ship-Driving, which I declined. My subsequent 29 years in RAF ATC was OK, though!
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Old 27th Jul 2018, 17:11
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Originally Posted by Old-Duffer View Post
Perhaps the originator of this Thread meant Radar/Radio Observer who I seem to recall wore a badge with 'RO' on it?

Old Duffer
Hi Old Duffer. What I originally said that a chap on a pilots course got chopped and latter I heard he had emerged as an AEO on Javelins not an RO.

At the time(1957 at Turnhill) there was a complication known as National Service and a common threat held over our heads was, if you got chopped off the course you would still be required to complete two years service. Further more as you were actually only an AC2 General Duties and just an "acting Pilot Officer" you reverted to the rank of AC2 and you could then find yourself washing dishes in the Airman's Mess. I am not aware of this happening to anyone and most that got chopped handed in their kit and were accompanied to the main gate where there F1250 was taken from them and they again became a civilian. I am aware of a few that did stay in and chose a different trade. I have put this paragraph in as I have had a couple of PM's asking for clarification.

Last edited by DODGYOLDFART; 27th Jul 2018 at 17:13. Reason: Finger trouble
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Old 27th Jul 2018, 17:51
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I worked with a couple of ex-Javelin ROs in NATS - Bob Houghton ( now deceased ) and John MacDermott, who I believe is also deceased. At LHR we also had 2 ex-Javelin navs, Derek Harriss ( not misspelt! ) and Terry Quantrill.
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Old 27th Jul 2018, 17:54
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Originally Posted by Hubstrasse View Post
Throughout flying training I had a few 'chop rides', Then as an examiner - instructor in later life had to end the careers of a few aspiring aircrew. If they asked, over a beer (or two- remember those days) I would explain, additionally to the debrief, that it was preferable to chop now than attend a funeral later. Most understood and agreed their time had come to gracefully select another path.
Yes, your view is fair Hub. However, there is often (always?) a tremendous mix of pressures upon trainee Mil aircrew that effect their performance in training. In a career of mostly Mil aviation, I have seen trainees go from bottom of the pile to the top and be very successful, buffoons promoted to get them out of flying, and also top tyro's go from the top to...dead, killed by their own errors. Certainly, the RAF of the 60's onwards was able to chose it's trainees with the basic abilities and potential. I am sure that many of the high percentage "chopped" in training were just victims of the system. Certainly, many were unlucky to go through during periods of low demand!

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Old 27th Jul 2018, 18:51
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Surprised BEagle hasn't expressed a view on this topic yet.
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Old 27th Jul 2018, 20:08
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Originally Posted by Mogwi View Post
I was chopped as an RN midshipman pilot on Wessex HAS 3 but eventually "made it" as the last RAF pilot to shoot down an enemy aircraft (in a Sea Harrier). Not sure what that proves, except never give up!!
Mogwi, I for one would love to hear how you managed that. I had a chum who did it the reverse way to you, a few years after you I am guessing.
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Old 27th Jul 2018, 21:03
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t7a wrote:
Surprised BEagle hasn't expressed a view on this topic yet.
A typical 237 OCU staff comment....
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Old 27th Jul 2018, 23:22
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My father instructed as a Sgt Pilot at Middleton St George in the early fifties and in later life, told me he had 'chopped' guys for their own longevity. When it came to my turn to 'chop' people, his advice was if it was justified to just step forward and do it. I recall one chap who came over to our table and the Sailors (Mariners?) restaurant in HKG and told me it was the best thing that ever happened to him and I took a big load off his shoulders.
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Old 28th Jul 2018, 01:46
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I was an instructor at a basic FTS in the midlands, when Air Marshal Sir Patrick Dunn was C-in-C. The new doctrine was that the Command was chopping too many students and effectively that there were no bad students just bad instructors.

The school had rather a family atmosphere and (I think) a low chop rate. For all that, there was one student whom we all wanted to chop. The student in question was a bit of a BS merchant, did not seem to be listening to instruction (we most of us flew with him) and failed the odd check ride. He seemed to have natural ability. He was at least once trailled by an instructor because we suspected he was wasting or misusing his solo sorties. My own view was he was actually something of a psychopath. The nub of the problem was one of Personal Qualities. We agreed that we could not see him as a responsible aircraft captain; we saw him as bound to be the death of someone in due course and we feared that someone might not even be him.

With the doctrine at the time, we could not chop him from training. The school closed and I was posted. It would take some research for me to put a name on him now. At the time I had an interesting overseas tour to go to, so I made no attempt to learn if our forebodings were justified.

Sir Patrick Dunn refused his next posting as an overseas C-in-C and took early retirement. As far as we were concerned, being miles below his pay grade, we thought him twice a failure.
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Old 28th Jul 2018, 03:27
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All the Instructors I know, both Military and Civilian including myself never really sweated the guys we chopped, but everyone had a story of the guy they should not have passed.....
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Old 28th Jul 2018, 05:53
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Jenkins.

Had lunch with "Sooty's" owner recently at the pub in Manaccan. Life was more fun in those days.
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Old 28th Jul 2018, 07:24
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Originally Posted by Big Pistons Forever View Post
All the Instructors I know, both Military and Civilian including myself never really sweated the guys we chopped, but everyone had a story of the guy they should not have passed.....
whom

In training in the 60s a good number of my nav course were chopped pilots, several didn't make it through nav training. Later, as an instructor 70% of my nav course were chopped pilots. All scraped through the basics but in the end only 10% graduated.

The difficult thing is we would have chopped most of them on day 1. One we would have chopped graduated but never made it to a front line sqn; one we would have passed failed. Using just intuition alone would have saved them a lot of stress. One went Provost and another Engineer. An Army psychologist had observed years before that experienced instructors could assess potential failures early on. My daughter at OASC observed that there was more work rejecting a candidate than in passing them.
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Old 28th Jul 2018, 11:03
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When I was at nav school a stude on another course got chopped for fiddling his astro. Basically he got a gee fix which he plotted as a three line fix, then entered plausible astro figures which replaced the garbage he had obtained when shooting his own astro. He was chopped not only because of his ineptitude but because of his lack of integrity. What really annoyed me was that instead of being out on his ear he was offered RAF Regiment. I was still wearing my Regiment flashes as I went through the course and I took great exception to the idea that somehow or other a Regiment officer didn't need the same level of integrity as a navigator. I brought this up with my course commander and asked if anything could be done, but was basically told to wind my neck in.

No idea what happened to him in the Regiment - I hope he didn't end up killing one of his own blokes because of some sin of omission which he had covered up.
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Old 28th Jul 2018, 14:13
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TTN, promotion and posting is always the easy option.

We had a nav chopped as well who went Regiment. He was found not guilty at his Court Martial in 1972.

He sought other employment not long afterwards.
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