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‘Stop choosing useless white male pilots’, RAF told

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‘Stop choosing useless white male pilots’, RAF told

Old 5th Jun 2023, 19:43
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Originally Posted by farefield
I never flew with any women or minority ethnic pilots. I just flew with fellow pilots.
And, if I may say, from day 1 (1965) I worked with female and “ethnic” ATC collegues. Some were good, some were lesser, just like the rest of us.
I blame my balanced perspective on boarding school in Jamaica, as the only English boy there.
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Old 5th Jun 2023, 19:53
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every wondered why serving in the military (especially as officers) tends to run in families?
I worked in DofR in the early 90s. There had been a study which showed that the majority of applicants (all ranks) had at least one close relative who had served in the forces. As the forces get smaller then the pool of such families gets smaller.
Indeed after National Service finished about 1960 this pool was vastly reduced year on year.

I'm not convinced that this necessarily holds for pilots as they have a strong personal drive to fly.
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Old 5th Jun 2023, 21:20
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Originally Posted by Asturias56
There are still substantial groups of white British people that look down on anyone joining the armed services
As Kipling said:
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an` Chuck him out, the brute! "
But it's " Saviour of 'is country " when the guns begin to shoot;
An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;
An 'Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool - you bet that Tommy sees!

My school had plenty of service brats, but apart from a friend who was in the ATC and thinking about being an RAF doctor, I think I was the only one in my year who joined a service.

My elder daughter's (state) school has had service recruiters at careers events (probable RN only being just up the road from Pompey - even though the other two have establishments with 20 miles) and uniforms are a rare but not unknown site in supermarkets and on station platforms. And my younger daughter's school has a CCF (by invitation only). The Army Cadets and ATC seem to be thriving but I suspect we are an oddity in today's UK.
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Old 5th Jun 2023, 21:21
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having grafted in northern afcos for 5 years, to get anyone of a standard for OASC or Halton was challenging, for airmen a good 75% would fail the selection test at the first go, from there on in if they passed the interviews, medical and fitness test we may have averaged 1 in 20 successful. This was irrespective of race, gender.we just processed the handoffs we received.
We invested a lot of time in promoting BAME initiatives spending a vast amount of what we knew was unproductive time. but we all bought into getting the best potential recruits giving it our best shot, Often working long days .nights and weekends attending a range of events aimed at BAME and any one who was interested in a career.with us.

its been mentioned the pool of available white working class candidates as shrunk to an all time low, if we cant make targets with our traditional northern lads and lasses to Fill all airman trades, how will we cope on the future?

This also replicates to the P2 officer cadre a dwindling pool of interested talent, Those who make OASC are rigorously screened, we didn't want to waste boarding officers time with very low calibre candidates ie in one interview for pilot, the following occured when i asked a candidate the definition of airpower he stated "its the noise an engine makes !
At this moment in time every one who applies irrespective of political shenanigans should be judged solely on merit and merit only.

Again my opinion is that "useless" was used in regards to BAME Female quotas and not a slur on a specific group, or at least i hope so.
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Old 6th Jun 2023, 06:13
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Originally Posted by radar101
There had been a study which showed that the majority of applicants (all ranks) had at least one close relative who had served in the forces. As the forces get smaller then the pool of such families gets smaller.
Using that logic, the 'supply and demand' numbers remain in proportion, so any 'supply' decrease is matched by a similar 'demand' decrease.

Taking that argument to its conclusion, the 'supply' pool actually increases relative to 'demand'. As the 'supply' (pool of families) decreases only as a result of 'forces getting smaller', so the diminishing supply side lags behind the diminishing demand side, which increases the ratio of such 'forces families' relative to the numbers required to be recruited.

Last edited by pilotmike; 6th Jun 2023 at 07:53.
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Old 6th Jun 2023, 06:50
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Originally Posted by mymatetcm
having grafted in northern afcos for 5 years, to get anyone of a standard for OASC or Halton was challenging, for airmen a good 75% would fail the selection test at the first go, from there on in if they passed the interviews, medical and fitness test we may have averaged 1 in 20 successful. This was irrespective of race, gender.we just processed the handoffs we received
That's a sobering read. Trouble is, the level of desired candidate is likely to have options which offer more money, flexibility and progression for a lot less hassle.

I suspect someone researching the definition of air power doesn't take long to conclude that the RAF is in a terrible state, given the extensive coverage in the media (and indeed this forum) of glacial flying training, poor accommodation and numerous discrimination cases involving serving personnel. Hopefully the new CAS will help make the service somewhere people might actually want to join...
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Old 6th Jun 2023, 09:00
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Given the subject area and the 'audience', the length of the thread (and the 'quality' of the discussion) is unsurprising. It seems, therefore, unfortunate that the most sensible reponse was one of, if not the, shortest. I refer to #77.
To join the over-verbose, however, a story ...
Fellow Squadron member Aden in the '50s - Navigator who had failed pilot selection at Hornchurch and accepted Nav as option. Continued to try for 'cross-over' training and refused several times. Some 10 years later, I arrived at Tern Hill to start S&R training and noted that the QHI 'Boss' was my ex-Nav , now resplendent in dark blue as a Lt Cdr ! Not sure if any of the 'sound and fury' above is from the 'oggin workers', but perhaps they have a different approach ?

Last edited by Cornish Jack; 6th Jun 2023 at 10:21.
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Old 6th Jun 2023, 09:15
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@C Jack. Thank you. Seems so obvious to me and you.
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Old 6th Jun 2023, 09:16
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Originally Posted by farefield
I never flew with any women or minority ethnic pilots. I just flew with fellow pilots.
If my opinion is worth anything that is exactly right. It is worth saying, everyone encounters different challenges in life and I think the big mistake people make is to assume that their challenges are the worst imaginable. Have I experienced racism, obviously yes I have, so has almost everyone else I would imagine, but do I think that's somehow worse and more important than what what everyone else goes through, I don't know because I'm not everyone else.

Originally Posted by Asturias56
It isn't a career path that exists on the radar of many young people these days and that's what the recruitment figures have told us for years
This is a very big problem, everyone I knew looked at me as if I had two heads. I did not know anyone who had been in the military nor did anyone I knew. A lot of people only know the military from movies, Full Metal Jacket and Jarhead, which shows that it is about having people scream in your face and basically abuse and mistreat you all day every day, for no reason. I am not silly enough to think that there is none of that in the RAF but from what I know it is probably on the other end of the scale. I have never been in the military but logically, it cannot be as horrible as the movies make it look because nobody in their right mind would do it (people do join the US marine corps and then act surprised when it's like that which I don't get, it's not a secret). But the media does just make it look like constant awful screaming and cruelty all day every day which is not helping.

Yes you could make more money else where but I don't think that is the main thing, nobody is going to apply for these "lifestyle" kind of careers unless they have a personal interest in doing it. People want to do it because it is amazing, and that's another problem. Constant reports that the whole organisation is basically a tiny version of its former self does not help. If you can't go anywhere or do anything because there's nowhere to go and nothing to do, what is the point.

Although ages ago I wrote an essay on the American airbase at Diego Garcia which is in the British Indian Ocean Territory and at least sometimes, RAF people work there as it is officially UK territory, so apparently that is a thing you can still do, and there are beautiful white coral beaches and palm trees. The only other way to get there as a civilian is to write for permission and literally sail your own boat over!
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Old 6th Jun 2023, 11:26
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Originally Posted by SLXOwft
As Kipling said:
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an` Chuck him out, the brute! "
But it's " Saviour of 'is country " when the guns begin to shoot;
An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;
An 'Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool - you bet that Tommy sees!

My school had plenty of service brats, but apart from a friend who was in the ATC and thinking about being an RAF doctor, I think I was the only one in my year who joined a service.

My elder daughter's (state) school has had service recruiters at careers events (probable RN only being just up the road from Pompey - even though the other two have establishments with 20 miles) and uniforms are a rare but not unknown site in supermarkets and on station platforms. And my younger daughter's school has a CCF (by invitation only). The Army Cadets and ATC seem to be thriving but I suspect we are an oddity in today's UK.
I remember when they used to bring a range of vehicles to my home City on a Bank Holiday when there was a show on, from a Centurian tank, an Alvis Stalwart and various other military vehicles along with a display of weaponary that we were encouraged to clamber over and in, also we were allowed to pick up and handle various weapons on show, I would imagine that did wonders for recruitment, it set me on a journey into the military, all be it in the RAF.

My ex boss took a Puma up to his old school on a recruitment visit. One of the biggest draws were the Battle of Britain at home days, Saints was a cracking show and the place was rammed, I got stuck demonstating an HEIU to the passing punters and one young lad stood in awe at it cracking away then asked if it could be used to fire the ejection seat!
I pointed out it wasn't needed as they had a built in system for that.... they do don't they?

The trouble these days is it has all gone digital and the life and soul of a station is now not on view to the youth of today unless they join a CCF. sad really, heck even the RAF museum seems to be going that way.
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Old 6th Jun 2023, 11:46
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In my day (mid '60s) the RAF would send a recruiter to our school but I don't recall the Army or Navy doing the same, however much later in life in the late '90s, a Navy Lynx called me up out of Yeovilton inbound to a school just south of Croydon. I asked if that would by any chance be 'Whitgift School' and they replied yes, so I mentioned I had a nephew who went there and was in the CCF. They tried to get me to reveal his name but I declined.
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Old 6th Jun 2023, 11:58
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Originally Posted by Cornish Jack
Given the subject area and the 'audience', the length of the thread (and the 'quality' of the discussion) is unsurprising. It seems, therefore, unfortunate that the most sensible reponse was one of, if not the, shortest. I refer to #77.
To join the over-verbose, however, a story ...
Fellow Squadron member Aden in the '50s - Navigator who had failed pilot selection at Hornchurch and accepted Nav as option. Continued to try for 'cross-over' training and refused several times. Some 10 years later, I arrived at Tern Hill to start S&R training and noted that the QHI 'Boss' was my ex-Nav , now resplendent in dark blue as a Lt Cdr ! Not sure if any of the 'sound and fury' above is from the 'oggin workers', but perhaps they have a different approach ?
So... in summary, join the Navy?
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Old 6th Jun 2023, 11:59
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Ah, Whitgift School, 20 plus years ago you would get a Chinook beating the place up during careers week or whatever. Not sure what height it would have been but not very much at all - certainly a wake up for the neighbours! We could see them from our office.

(Don't know if they've still got them but Whitgift School used to have several wallabies in a pen which you could see from the top deck of a passing bus; grey Monday mornings were certainly brightened by seeing those bouncing around the grounds on yer way to work!)
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Old 6th Jun 2023, 12:22
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Originally Posted by treadigraph
Ah, Whitgift School, 20 plus years ago you would get a Chinook beating the place up during careers week or whatever. Not sure what height it would have been but not very much at all - certainly a wake up for the neighbours! We could see them from our office.

(Don't know if they've still got them but Whitgift School used to have several wallabies in a pen which you could see from the top deck of a passing bus; grey Monday mornings were certainly brightened by seeing those bouncing around the grounds on yer way to work!)
In this case the Lynx landed and flew one or two pupils.
A year or so later, I started flying the Shadow microlights at Redhill and one of the first club members I met was a schoolmaster from Whitgift. I mentioned my nephew's name; he asked what he looked like and when I said 'tall and skinny wears glasses' he replied 'they all look like that'!
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Old 6th Jun 2023, 14:12
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Some of us recall and attended "Whitgift MIDDLE School" at North End'. No Wallabies though.
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Old 6th Jun 2023, 15:08
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Originally Posted by DaveJ75
That's a sobering read. Trouble is, the level of desired candidate is likely to have options which offer more money, flexibility and progression for a lot less hassle.

I suspect someone researching the definition of air power doesn't take long to conclude that the RAF is in a terrible state, given the extensive coverage in the media (and indeed this forum) of glacial flying training, poor accommodation and numerous discrimination cases involving serving personnel. Hopefully the new CAS will help make the service somewhere people might actually want to join...
Right, you can argue back and forth over culture war stuff but if a new joiner is likely to spend the majority of their time holding in some non-job waiting for life to begin, recruiting is going to be a problem.
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Old 6th Jun 2023, 15:15
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Originally Posted by aw ditor
Some of us recall and attended "Whitgift MIDDLE School" at North End'. No Wallabies though.
Which were you?

Whitgift School was founded in 1596 by the Archbishop of Canterbury John Whitgift and opened in 1600[5] as part of the Whitgift Foundation which had the aim of building a hospital and school in Croydon for the "poor, needy and impotent people" from the parishes of Croydon and Lambeth
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whitgift_School
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Old 6th Jun 2023, 19:00
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Ah, one of those modern schools. Mine started in 1213, had Charters from Henry VIII and Elizabeth I … just a mid-range Grammar, at the end of it all. Got me the handful of O-Levels I needed, though, for which always grateful. Good CCF too.
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Old 6th Jun 2023, 21:17
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The OPERATIVE word is useless.

I have met many great pilots who are white and male... I've also met a few who are total oxygen thieves who are depriving a village of an idiot. I think those are the ones the Sqn Ldr at OASC is trying to weed out in favour of better able candidates who may or may not have the "right" genitalia or who did not attend the "right" school.

This isn't the 1950's, when a pilot was purely employed to "go up tidlly up up." These days in a massively reduced Air Force everyone has to be able to turn their hand to more than just the role they were recruited for - a concept some current RAF pilots seem woefully incapable of contemplating.

Thankfully they are in the minority - but why in 2023 would you want more people like that?

(I know this might not be a popular point of view)
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Old 6th Jun 2023, 22:07
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Originally Posted by Lomon
This isn't the 1950's, when a pilot was purely employed to "go up tidlly up up." These days in a massively reduced Air Force ...
Ironically, in these days of a massively reduced air force, that's increasingly all we are employing pilots for. The fact we haven't consistently been able to field a full nine Reds for several years now is a bit of a giveaway as to the state of the pilot workforce at flt lt and sqn ldr ranks. The training system is barely able to keep pace with outflow when outputting its full capacity; every student chopped creates another front line gap which won't be filled, so arguably the *only* criterion we can afford to be selecting on right now is the likelihood of the candidate being able to pass flying training.
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