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Getting The Chop

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Getting The Chop

Old 28th Jul 2018, 17:27
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I cannot remember any of my pilot mates who were Court Marshalled.
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Old 28th Jul 2018, 18:45
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Originally Posted by Fareastdriver
I cannot remember any of my pilot mates who were Court Marshalled.
I know that quite a few of mine should have been!

OAP
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Old 28th Jul 2018, 19:32
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I have done a fair amount of pilot training both civil and military and I have had to give the dreaded interview to a goodly number of students. Practically without exception it has been greeted with a significant psychological expression of relief It'not what you do, its how you do it! I have no angry ex students.
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Old 28th Jul 2018, 19:42
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After going from PPL via EFTS (UAS Chipmunk) , when arriving at BFTS at the Towers the student gossip was. "The QFI's are O.K. but for one, who is a disaster". Well, of course you can guess which one I got.
His other student chopped himself after ten hours (subsequently he did the airsickness course and was reinstated).I carried on, confident that I could hack it regardless and then found that the only time I actually learned anything was in check rides. My instructor it transpired was leaving the Service anyway and was NFI - and was subsequently himself suspended from B.A. I later discovered. The fact that, being a "green shielder" I suddenly found myself embarrassingly outranking him didn't help matters! When I was chopped (after three chop rides in succession after 100 hours on the J.P.) the RAFC Commandant had me in for several interviews stating that that he was not happy. He also pointed out to me that the life of a below average pilot on a transport squadron was a pretty miserable existence. My loyalty to my erstwhile instructor and the training squadron made me keep my mouth shut, despite one other instructor (with whom I had flown) privately taking me aside and telling me to speak out as the situation was well known. In my final interview with the Commandant he pointed to his telephone . "One call from me and you are on the next course at Hamble-it's up to you". I chose to stay in the RAF (loyalty again) and went in to a Ground Branch that welcomed me with open arms.
All QFI's know the sob stories from chopped students who would never had made it and just won't accept the facts, often blaming the instructor(s), so I don't consider myself necessarily to be outside of that category. Luckily I went on later to do some interesting flying outside of the Service and had a satisfying career which took me around the world. Sometimes though I do wonder what might have been the outcome had that call been made......

(Chopped at Hamble, probably )

Last edited by Haraka; 29th Jul 2018 at 06:29.
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Old 29th Jul 2018, 02:39
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Tale from a mate on Vampires. Having troubles with instructor and in fear of getting chopped requested an interview with the boss. At end of interview boss instructed him to meet him on the flight line booted and spurred. Satisfactory ride with the boss and assigned a new instructor, went on to get the wings.
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Old 29th Jul 2018, 12:03
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I am reminded by TTN's post re a trainee nav being chopped because he fiddled his astros.

I was on the equippers course when we had a guy who was chopped for that sin and allowed to remuster in a ground branch. He proved an unpleasant individual who, whilst unable to do drill/AOCs parade was able to play cricket for the station. He was compelled to repeat the last module of our training course. He went on thereafter to enjoy some rather nice pieces of career planning and ended up fairly high up the food chain. In retirement, he had a "nice little earner" but was subsequently invited to do something else with his life, when questions were raised over some things he did, which eventually reached the national press.

Some of us, like TTN, took the view that his dishonesty rendered him unfit to hold Her Majesty's Writ!!!

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Old 29th Jul 2018, 12:41
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Sadly, it seems to be the bull **** artists and dodgy people that do well in certain walks of life...you only have to see what type of individuals seem to be minting money nowadays as CEO’s or social media “influencers” to wonder where it has all gone wrong.
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Old 29th Jul 2018, 12:59
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Apocryphal Old Story (or Softening the Blow):


QFI (Pole): "Vat is your name, Smithers ?"

Stood (puzzled): "Smithers, Sir".

QFI: "No, no, no, - vat is your ozzer name ?"

Stood: "Jonathan, Sir".

QFI: "What does your muzzer call you ?"

Stood: "Johnnie, Sir".

QFI (places comforting arm round Stood's shoulders): "Well, Johnnie - you're scrubbed !"

All right, you've heard it before, I suppose ....
 
Old 29th Jul 2018, 14:30
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No doubt the QFI had a name from the bottom of the eye chart, eh Danny? KZXYGKQZ or similar?

That's like the story about the Rockape corporal who was told to soften the way he passed on bad news to new recruits. Simply bawling out "Smith, SMITH - two paces forward, MARCH! Fall out, your mother's dead" was deemed rather harsh.

A few days later he had them on parade. "Those with mothers, two paces forward, MARCH! SMITH, where the 'ell do think you're going?"
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Old 29th Jul 2018, 15:01
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I have recently been reminded that at the time we went through the selection process at RAF Hornchurch in the mid '50's, we were selected as Pilot/Navigators. Some of us were questioned at some length as to how we would feel if we did not make it as pilots and became navigators given that we would be signing on for twelve years. Consequently at Ternhill several did drop out from pilot training and were transferred to Navigation but the details now escape me.
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Old 29th Jul 2018, 15:22
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Originally Posted by Mogwi
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!!

Absolutely, never, ever give up because flying is a very odd environment and a great leveller.

As a very green immature 18 year old,on my basic FTS course I was warned I was about to be chopped because my navigation was rubbish. Sod that , won the navigation trophy by a large margin!

Later as Valiant copilot, after the wings fell off , I was asked what posting I preferred, CFS said I.
Response from acting boss: You have neither the ability or personality for that, you will NEVER, EVER, be a QFI, so NO.

Fast forward 7 years, the then acting CO came up to the standards office for his FHT on his refresher course. He was just a mite surprised to find I was the senior standards QFI.

Later , as a training captain in my airline, flew with three of my former colleagues who had much better postings than me out of AFS, fIrst tourist Lightning’s etc but could not pass our command course.

So no, if your have your heart set on something, never , ever give up!
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Old 29th Jul 2018, 20:24
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Originally Posted by RetiredBA/BY


Absolutely, never, ever give up because flying is a very odd environment and a great leveller.

As a very green immature 18 year old,on my basic FTS course I was warned I was about to be chopped because my navigation was rubbish. Sod that , won the navigation trophy by a large margin!

Later as Valiant copilot, after the wings fell off , I was asked what posting I preferred, CFS said I.
Response from acting boss: You have neither the ability or personality for that, you will NEVER, EVER, be a QFI, so NO.

Fast forward 7 years, the then acting CO came up to the standards office for his FHT on his refresher course. He was just a mite surprised to find I was the senior standards QFI.

Later , as a training captain in my airline, flew with three of my former colleagues who had much better postings than me out of AFS, fIrst tourist Lightning’s etc but could not pass our command course.

So no, if your have your heart set on something, never , ever give up!
Hmmmmm…..wish I'd spoken to you before giving up after the second attempt at OASC!!!!! Ah well.
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Old 30th Jul 2018, 10:13
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Originally Posted by Mogwi
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!!



I think it absolutely proves the maxim of "never give up !" From chopped helo l pilot to top scoring fighter pilot in the most demanding of circumstances in the South Atlantic, is no mean feat, in fact a truly extraordinary story ! By the way, "Hostile Skies" is a truly brilliant read !

But I was recently reminded of facing the "Chop" in a different way.

With a number of family and friends we attended the RAF 100 celebration at the Royal Albert Hall, superbly done.

One "item" was to celebrate the excellence and heroism of RAF aeromedical teams.

A young Marine captain, who had been rescued under fire and later brought back to the UK, both by the RAF stood ramrod straight on stage despite the loss of both legs AND an arm, after an IED explosion and as well as expressing his sincerest thanks to the teams said " never let anyone tell you you can't do something and never, ever give up" . For his amazing courage and dignity he, and the RAF teams, aircrew and aeromedics, received a highly emotional standing ovation.

This young officer had very nearly got the "chop" in a big way and was a shining example to us all.

Whenever my young grandson , who was with us at the RAH, faces a tough time I will remind him of that young man and the brilliance of the RAF medics and aircrews who saved him, and emphasise "Never, ever, give up".
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Old 30th Jul 2018, 17:13
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A fine post, RetiredBA/BY!

On a more light-hearted note, a mate of mine was once marched in for a chop interview with the Boss during his Hunter AFT course at Valley (he was too tall for the Gnat).

This came as something of a shock, as Bloggs had done very well at RAFC on the JP - and IIRC, had also been a Sword of Honour winner. His Hunter QFIs had heaped praise on his T7 flights and he was soon solo on the GT6. When the Boss asked him for his response, he said "Well, it's rather a surprise, Sir - I thought I was doing OK". "Well, young man, we have very high standards and I'm afraid...."
At which point the phone rang. "I told you I wasn't to be disturb...What? WHAT?? Bugger....!"
He turned to my chum and announced "Seems I've been talking to the wrong chap. Please delete all after Good Morning with my apologies - you are indeed doing exceptionally well!"
"Thank you, Sir. Is there anyone you would like me to send in?"
"Err, no - I'll sort it out myself"

The laughter from the QFIs office at the Boss's misident was loud and clear "Silly bugger should know his students better" was one of the more polite comments.

Chum was posted to Harriers from Brawdy - but resigned his commission and emigrated.
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Old 31st Jul 2018, 02:01
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Must be something about the Harrier. One guy I flew with was chopped from one of the BFTS courses (can't remember where) and became an Air Traffic Controller. Got back into another FTS somehow (probably by smooth talking without moving his lips) and ended up as a very respectable Harrier pilot - if there is such a thing! Well done mate! (Bona mate, actually).
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Old 31st Jul 2018, 07:05
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On never give up. I don't know the story, but on a cruise ship as had a disabled passenger He too had no legs, one arm, missing fingers and no nose. One day he and his assistant missed the tour coach. As we were leaving he appeared and ran for the coach. I guess was mid 40s. He only used a wheelchair to give his legs a rest.

I have a friend, ex-SF, who can barely walk and needs a wheel chair from car to restaurant but insists on walking to the table. Sadly he is getting weaker but will not give up.
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Old 31st Jul 2018, 11:15
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"Never give up" is good for how to approach your life generally but perhaps less helpful so when it comes to life-critical things like flying?? Equally, "knowing and recognising your limits" also comes into play bigtime.

I was never particularly great at powered flying .. "agricultural with the controls" was how my UAS boss politely described my flying. After that, on a VGS, it was different and I didn't do too badly and really enjoyed it. Until I went to CFS for my C-Cat course... and was assigned the worst, most useless twunt of an A2* QFI that ever walked this earth. Everything he did was different to the procedures had been drummed into me for the previous 4 years and I got regular criticism from him, despite me protesting to no avail that he was teaching things differently to all the other QFIs. By some miracle though I passed the course and became a baby QGI.

Went back to my parent VGS, passed the site checks etc but then learned that my basic skills really weren't good enough to cope with studes trying to kill me. I quit soon after that and to this day haven't regretted that decision.

Sad and disappointed yes but bitter, no.

CS
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Old 31st Jul 2018, 12:12
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Originally Posted by Fareastdriver
I cannot remember any of my pilot mates who were Court Marshalled.
Aah, is it the usual age related problems?

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Old 31st Jul 2018, 13:03
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Originally Posted by Fareastdriver I cannot remember any of my pilot mates who were Court Marshalled.
Originally Posted by ShyTorque
Aah, is it the usual age related problems?

I suspect it to be more related to rank than age
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Old 1st Aug 2018, 00:47
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... 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.
Further to my post #36, by sheer coincidence an old pilot friend came to stay with us a day or two ago. Unasked he came out with virtually the same story.

It turns out he was the instructor of the student we wanted to chop. It was he who trailled the student on one of his solo sorties.

If we were sure the student was doomed, we were wrong in so far as that my friend believes he retired as a 747 captain. We still think he should have been chopped.

Maybe, as we finally recommended, his RAF career was always as a co-pilot. Otherwise his latent irresponsibility was an unnecessary risk to the Service.
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