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WSO vs WSOp Questions

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WSO vs WSOp Questions

Old 27th Nov 2018, 18:23
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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CH ... the previous posts highlight the challenge to be faced. As a new entrant WSO, you have a clean sheet, broadly speaking. As a WSOp seeking commissioning, the Board will have reams of data on you which may, or not, be to your advantage.

There is NO advantage to be gained from starting on a low branch of the tree when you can instantly jump several branches higher and start as a WSO. You would just be wasting time, seniority and money. If you're deemed suitable for a commission as a WSO ... just bloody GO FOR IT!
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Old 27th Nov 2018, 18:45
  #22 (permalink)  
 
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In principle, I would suggest that WSO was the best option, based on career prospects and future salary. However, the flying roles available to WSOs are far less diverse than those open to WSOps.

If you are looking for a long-term career with good promotion prospects, there is a very strong argument for choosing WSO. Alternatively, if you want to be a helicopter crewman, with a potential option to commission in the future, I would recommend WSOp.
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Old 27th Nov 2018, 23:39
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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Warning! Warning! There is some complete hoop in amongst some good info in thisthread. For example:

The flying pay has been meddled with quite a lot recently and it means you wont actually receive it until 7 yrs post OCU. That could be around your 10 yr point for both WSO and WSOp, so may not be enough of a carrot to keep you in.
Flying pay has been called ‘Recruiting and Retention Pay (Flying)’ or RRP(F) for several years now. Since April 2017 then Officer Aircrew will get RRP(F) six years after starting Phase 2 Flying Training. At OCU plus 7 years then direct entry WSOs and all pilots will get a £70,000 Retention Payment (RP) that comes with 6 year return of service. Tier 1 RRP(F) is £4.2k per year until you get to Tier 2 (after 6 years from OCU) which starts at ~£13.5k per year and grows over 7 years to ~£20k per year. As for top whack as a Flt Lt then you have ~£48k after about 10 years and then the max RRP(F) would be about 17 years in and would total about £68k in today’s money. Hopefully you have promoted by then to Sqn Ldr whose top whack basic is £61.5k and the same top whack RRP(F) would make the earnings over £80k per year. If they go Professional Aviator Spine (PAS) at around the 18-20 year point then earnings can rise up to £78k for a Flt Lt.

As for Aircrew SNCOs (non-commissioned Aircrew or NCA for short), they are better off in the short term. A Sgt earns about £4k more than an Aircrew Fg Off for the first 2.5 years. Also, by then, the Sgt will likely have finished their OCU and will get their rate of RRP(F) of about £3k at about the same time the Fg Off promotes to Flt Lt but likely without RRP(F) - so the Sgt is still better off at this point. It is only really after about 10 years of service that a Sgt will be completely overhauled by the Flt Lt in total - however, by then the Sgt should be a FS and middle-rate RRP(F) and so the amounts are still about the same.

Also SNCOs get free uniform and cheaper accommodation. So really the Officer Aircrew only really starts to be better off after about 13 years when the £70k RP kicks in and promotion or PAS beckons.

So please be circumspect with what you read - good stuff and bad stuff being posted. The only real way to get this properly is to speak to the AFCO or OASC. All the figures are contained in the AFPRB link.

Good luck with your application and selection...
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Old 28th Nov 2018, 02:39
  #24 (permalink)  
 
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There is NO advantage to be gained from starting on a low branch of the tree when you can instantly jump several branches higher and start as a WSO. You would just be wasting time, seniority and money. If you're deemed suitable for a commission as a WSO ... just bloody GO FOR IT!
I wouldn't have said it was a lower branch, I'd have said it was a different tree. If he/she wants to be a chinook crewman, a WSO (effectively Nav) commission is not the path he/she needs. Otherwise, agree with the sentiment.
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Old 28th Nov 2018, 10:41
  #25 (permalink)  
 
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Indeed minigundimplomat ... different trees, albeit one grows taller!

I'm clearly a bit status-obsessed!
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Old 28th Nov 2018, 11:50
  #26 (permalink)  
 
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'I'm clearly a bit status-obsessed'

T'was ever thus!
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Old 28th Nov 2018, 12:24
  #27 (permalink)  
 
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Do you really want to live with a bunch of hairy-arsed old NCOs in the sergeants' mess where you swill down pints of brown ale before going in to eat egg and chips or would you rather be in the officer's mess sipping a pre-dinner sherry in refined company before enjoying haute cuisine?

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Old 28th Nov 2018, 14:09
  #28 (permalink)  
 
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hahahahahaha ... thanks, TTN, I needed a giggle!

Perhaps the distinction should be “mingling with tradesmen, or with a possible future CAS”.
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Old 28th Nov 2018, 14:25
  #29 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Tankertrashnav View Post
before enjoying haute cuisine?
Doesn't exist in these days of Pay-As-You-Starve.
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Old 28th Nov 2018, 15:32
  #30 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by ExAscoteer View Post
Doesn't exist in these days of Pay-As-You-Starve.
Shame they never adopted the US model. Last I saw, Dish of the Day $1.95, other dishes $4.95. Pick your day and you paid $1.95 for a steak; same steak next day $4.95.

And many don't know PAYD has been around in one form or another for over 44 years.

Worst dining in was at the school of catering and the contract staff hadn't got a clue and dinner started an hour late.
​​
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Old 28th Nov 2018, 15:53
  #31 (permalink)  
 
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Deviating somewhat, I have mixed memories of Officers Mess dining. One Mess made it's own fresh bread and rolls. Another started the week with Spring Vegetable soup, which over the week transmogrified into a tick "whatever the left-overs were" ... by Friday you could still clearly taste Wednesday's main course!
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Old 28th Nov 2018, 16:08
  #32 (permalink)  
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Haha this has deviated somewhat. In reality, is there actually much difference in experience between sgts mess & officers mess in terms of lifestyle?

Would one expect only the finest chateauneuf du pape accompaniment in Waddington’s officers mess?
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Old 28th Nov 2018, 19:54
  #33 (permalink)  
 
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That wont be a problem lad, since many of the countries you'll deploy to for months on end are dry.
Not to mention the current penchant for living on base instead of in a hotel
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Old 28th Nov 2018, 20:10
  #34 (permalink)  
 
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With Catering largely civilianised, I suspect it’s largely the same these days. Sgts Mess used to be better, as SNCOs ran Supply and Catering departments!!

I could wax lyrical about the old days, but it would be pointless!! I last lived in a normal Officers Mess in the 1980s
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Old 28th Nov 2018, 23:07
  #35 (permalink)  
 
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MPN11 - not at all: I’d assumed you’d replied quickly and I hadn’t assigned any judgement to your statement. I was just pointing out I’d have phrased it differently.

TTN - you’re out of touch my friend. It’s definately lager that gets swilled before egg and chips, and you omitted any mention of the alphabetti spaghetti.
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Old 28th Nov 2018, 23:37
  #36 (permalink)  
 
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Thanks minigundiplomat - noted!

Actually the only RAF station I have visited in recent years was St Mawgan where I gave a talk to the local aviation history group. Before the talk they gave me dinner in the mess, which turned out to be a combined officers'/sergeants' mess. The food wasn't bad but the place had all the atmosphere of a Travelodge on a quiet night!
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Old 29th Nov 2018, 08:26
  #37 (permalink)  
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One aspect rarely discussed is failure.

Historically failure rates in initial for WSO were around 5-10% (1 per course). I don't know the date for WSOp, and there would be a small loss from OCUs. A fair number of these might be medical.

A WSO failing is still an officer. A WSOp failing is still an AC and if remustered still an AC. The risk for a WSOp going for a commission is low but failure was not unheard of.

Short answer, once you have a commission you are better off.
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Old 29th Nov 2018, 13:18
  #38 (permalink)  
 
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In the 80's the WSOp recourse rate was up to 60% depending on specialisation and the overall failure rate probably about 30%.
In more recent times (21C) I would say that a more gentle regime has reduced the overall failure rate to around 10%, but my colleagues and I steadfastly refused to inflict the least capable of the students onto the front line, regardless of fluffy policies or downward pressure to put bums on seats. However, some of those failed NCO aviators then went on to very successful commissioned service in ground appointments.

If OASC judged you capable of being both officer and aviator, take both.
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Old 29th Nov 2018, 15:31
  #39 (permalink)  
 
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Those last 2 posts resonate, as I used to sit on Reselection Boards for officers who had failed professional training. We were reminded that they had been commissioned as officers, so there was essentially ‘no going back’. The individuals were officers, and a place had to be found for them. Unsurprisingly, many former aircrew migrated to ATC on the basis of their experience and general attributes.

A WSOp has, to my understanding, no such safety net.

Not wanting to introduce the possibility of failure, or whatever that’s called these days, but reality is a cruel master.
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Old 29th Nov 2018, 18:20
  #40 (permalink)  
 
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The system does not always work as it should, MPN 11. When I was at nav school a student was chopped from his course after it was discovered he had been fiddling his astro (basically getting a simple Gee fix and then back calculating figures as though he had obtained the fix by astro). This was rightly deemed to be a matter of integrity, not competence. However rather than being chucked out on his ear the chap was offered a transfer to the RAF Regiment, which he took.

I was still wearing RAF Regiment flashes at the time, and when I put forward my opinion that if someone lacked the integrity to be a navigator, why would he be deemed to be ok to be a Regiment officer, where he may be responsible for men's lives. The staff member I put this to basically told me to wind my neck in and mind my own business. I have no idea how said astro fiddler made out as a Regiment officer, but it rankled at the time.
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