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Where do RAF pilots come from now?

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Where do RAF pilots come from now?

Old 29th Nov 2023, 09:29
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It really is pot luck what you end up flying nowadays, and the best pilots don't necessarily end up flying FJ.

Of course not. The BEST pilots fly rotary, and the SECOND BEST fly multi.
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Old 29th Nov 2023, 10:16
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Sky Sports

This is an honest question. What the hell do CBATs have to do with where you get streamed?

To this day I have no idea how I did in my CBATs and have never seen any reference to them in any report I had from when I joined the RAF.

CBATs are surely just an indicator for whether or not an individual has the potential aptitude to make it as a pilot. I may be wrong, but I would be very surprised if anyone ever looks at CBATs when they stream people at the end of EFT. It will be done on flying performance on that course. Maybe an EFT QFI could convince me otherwise.

BV
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Old 29th Nov 2023, 11:34
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BV - quite. CBAT scores are seen by the OASC and recruiters but no other relevance. I think candidates could ask for the ascore but once passed it's a meaningless number.

On topic - lets not forget how much flying training needed to failed to end up on TacAT here people!
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Old 29th Nov 2023, 12:04
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Originally Posted by Sky Sports
I have a friend at work who is an ex-RAF rotary pilot. At the end of his EFT, the whole course, (12 students) had their streaming board, and most wanted FJ naturally. They all had high hopes as they had attained high CBAT scores and got very good reports from EFT.

The briefing before the streaming board started was a bit of a shock. "There are no FJ training slots currently available, so before you go in front of the board, decide now if you want to bid for multi-engine or rotary?"

He was incredibly p!ssed off to find out that on the EFT course that followed, FJ needed 8 of the 10 students, and multi took the other 2. He also knew for a fact that of the 8 that were streamed FJ all but one had worse CBAT scores than he did!

It really is pot luck what you end up flying nowadays, and the best pilots don't necessarily end up flying FJ.
One of the amusing bits about the pilot course was the ice breakers on day 1 of EFT groundschool and every RAF student standing up, regaling us of tales of derring do on the UAS and IOT and how much they wanted to drive a Tornado.

Fast forward 6 months and the same people stood up in the front of the classroom in Shawbury telling us all how much they had wanted to be a Chinook pilot since before they could talk.
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Old 29th Nov 2023, 16:18
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Originally Posted by Herod
It really is pot luck what you end up flying nowadays, and the best pilots don't necessarily end up flying FJ.

Of course not. The BEST pilots fly rotary, and the SECOND BEST fly multi.
Actually, the BEST pilots fly all three!! (And two of them in the same conflict) 😊

Mog
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Old 29th Nov 2023, 16:20
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This is a perennial problem.
I seem to recall seeing a document at UAS HQ ( along time ago) that was produced to consider the usefulness of UASs, university cadetships and the recruiting of ex VR UAS studes (who had taken CBAT). It also looked at UAS reports and BFT docs over a 10 year period. This was in the day when OASC candidates had to have exceptionally high CBAT scores to be considered for GDP.
The report said that (as intimated above) CBT scores only 'indicated the potential of a candidate to pass BFT' (JP/Tucano in those days). IIRC the report quoted that the OASC CBAT score cut-off equated to a 60% chance of passing out from BFT. Not a bad filter.
However, the report also claimed that a candidate from the UAS VR pool who was assessed as High Average or better (CBAT or not - there were some from earlier days) stood an 80% chance of getting to a front-line sqn cockpit (it might even have been a FJ sqn). So, UASs were thought to be an even better indicator than aptitude testing alone and this was why the UASs system had a stay of execution in the late 1990s/2000s.

Nice tho' that was, I had a number of students who were high/above average but didn't get the required CBAT score at OASC and were either offered GDN, ground branch, or nowt. Often, these guys and girls were as good as (if not better in some cases) than those who were on cadetships. The latter were generally top-drawer too but they had the CBAT scores and a lot did very well. But it seemed daft to me that good people (who were well motivated and could actually fly properly) were not utilised. It was claimed at the time by some people at OASC that UASs were biased and their reports could not be trusted and it was galling to learn that the assessments of professional UAS QFIs (often vastly experienced) were often discounted in favour of CBAT alone. I believe this changed slightly after the general dissatisfaction of the QFIs and COs filtered up (and whose assessments were then taken as the 'gospel truth' once streaming was done on based on our reports!).

From our UAS alone around that time - most who joined ended up on FJs and QWIs/QFIs themselves and 4 studes (all VRs initially) even ended up on the Reds (long gone from there before the current hiatus). Other studes of ours (cadetship types too) have been Sqn Cdrs, Flt Cdrs, QWIs QFIs, IREs and TPs - even some of Air Rank. Almost all of those whom we sent to OASC (not all went) and didn't get the required aptitude scores have excelled too - airline training capts and CEOs of big businesses. Other UASs of that era will have a similar story of success and believe that system was the jewel in the crown of fg trg system. Bottom line - CBAT is fine as a first filter but back then, the UAS flying training system was a far better indicator, while the QFIs were professional instructors who knew better than any computer game the potential of a student pilot. Sadly, it seems we can't afford that anymore. That is not to say that the present streamlined system doesn't work; it certainly seems to from the guys and girls I meet around the bazaars. Today's fg trg system appears to get more out of everyone and very few of those who get good initial results are discarded. Back then, there were more of us and you were always 'only 3 trips from the chop and the bus home', which happened quite often - probably too often. So that is notable progress - today's best are still the best.
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Old 29th Nov 2023, 17:15
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Originally Posted by Bob Viking

To this day I have no idea how I did in my CBATs and have never seen any reference to them in any report I had from when I joined the RAF.

BV
For a number of years now, everyone who has done CBAT walks away with a computer printout of their scores, so they know were they stand with regard to their application. Current cut-off score for pilot is 113, but 130 is generally considered 'competitive'.

What the hell do CBATs have to do with where you get streamed?
I have been told this by two people who have been streamed in the last couple of years. When streaming, the board have your EFT reports and CBAT scores to hand. CBAT does show your potential to be a pilot, but it also shows to what degree you can multi-task in a high pressure environment. The higher the score, the more likely you are to be able to operate in a stressful situation.
​​​​​​​It's the same reason they look at CBAT scores when drawing candidates from the sift.
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Old 29th Nov 2023, 17:36
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Can someone explain `CBT /CBAT` scores ,for someone from the `good `ol days`,..please...?
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Old 29th Nov 2023, 18:15
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Originally Posted by sycamore
Can someone explain `CBT /CBAT` scores ,for someone from the `good `ol days`,..please...?
Computer Based Aptitude Tests.
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Old 29th Nov 2023, 18:35
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The following is taken from another site -

Computer Based Aptitude Tests (CBAT):
This is a full day sitting in front of a computer screen being given many, many tests. Itís exactly what it says on the tin, a test of YOUR aptitude. Itís not something you can easily practice for or revise for. Although, there are some things online you can do to help you get ready beforehand. But itís designed to be something that tests you and your capability to take on board, process and react to different information, usually in multiple ways at the same time. Everyone is different and not everyone does well or passes it. Its basically a barrage of 'computer games' that you sit at Cranwell at the start of the application process for aircrew and certain other roles such as intelligence. It tests your capacity for -
  • Strategic Task Management
  • Visual and auditory perception
  • Short term memory and capacity
  • Spatial Reasoning
  • Symbolic Reasoning
  • Psychomotor Ability
  • Central Information Processing
It basically establishes how your brain is wired, what it is best at, and to what capacity.

At the end of the day, you are given a computer print-out of your scores for ALL the roles that require a CBAT score. The different tests listed above are 'weighted' for different roles, and although you have only sat one set of tests, your scores from those tests will be different for the different roles. You can then compare your score against the cut-off for all the roles. This allows you to change the role you have applied for if your brain is better suited to another job.

For example; if the cut-off for pilot is 112 and you scored 120, you have the aptitude to continue with your application but the margin (8) isn't great and you would do well to be picked from the sift.
On the other hand, if you scored 148 for Intelligence Officer when the cut-off is 95, (margin 53), then your brain is much more suited for this kind of work and you might want to consider changing your preferred role!

If you have two pilots sat in front of you, one with a CBAT score of 130 and another with a CBAT of 168, this instantly shows you who has the capacity to operate at the higher level.

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Old 29th Nov 2023, 19:05
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Thanks a lot ,T/S and S-S......such `fun` it is nowadays.....
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Old 29th Nov 2023, 19:22
  #32 (permalink)  

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Originally Posted by sycamore
Can someone explain `CBT /CBAT` scores ,for someone from the `good `ol days`,..please...?
I was going to ask the sameÖ.. in my time at Biggin Hill OASC the aptitude tests consisted of contraptions such as winding a wooden wheel operating a contact with a time delay across a rotating drum covered in a pattern of metal dots. The more dots correctly ďdrivenĒ over, the better the score.

Another test was watching a cascading row of symbols on a projection screen at the front of the room and pressing piano like keys that matched them as they fell. The rate of the falling symbols increased over time. More like a recruiting test for budding musicians. Iím sure I was rubbish at that one.

I was initially offered GD(N), which I declined. Having discounted my chances, I went off to study engineering instead. The following year I unexpectedly received a letter offering me a direct entry commission as a GD(P).
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Old 29th Nov 2023, 19:41
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CBAT is only used as an indicator of your likely success in the early stages of flying training - for Pilots that is ground school and Elementary Flying Training (EFT), and for WSO/WSOp that is for ground school and the foundation stages of training. CBAT is one of a few things that they look at for OASC - the others are the interview (just shy of 30 mins), the hangar exercises, the group discussions and the medical.

Streaming for Pilots takes place after EFT and they look at their training folders, their preferences and where the Service needs them to go. That Service need is always the biggest driver as to their destiny. As a sausage machine that keeps flowing, they have to dispose each set of trainees at each streaming board and it is not possible to keep parking folks capable of going to their preference because something might come up next time around. If you did that you would end up with a right messÖ
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Old 30th Nov 2023, 04:38
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Funny thing when I completed my training and we all put down our preferred choice of postings, there was only two of us that chose Odiham , one was a Irish lad who had visions of being able to go home from Aldergrove and myself, I was the only one that got it.

Those days Odiham was seen as a retirement halfway house full of old codgers awaiting their release date, the accommodation hadn’t faired well and still bore the faded wartime camouflage on the brickwork. Such was the shortage of buildings they had to convert the morgue into a laundrette as prior to that it was wash your clothes in a sink etc.

the nearest town of any interest for a young lad to spend their money, and I say that while biting my tongue was Basingstoke, a place so dire and bereft of entertainment that it made Aldershot look good.

As for the female species at Odiham, until the arrival of my mate on Chinooks and his wife who served in SHQ, I seem to remember a single WRAF Officer.

The proximity from London had both its advantages and disadvantages, one being whenever going on leave you invariably ended up hauling your bags across London between stations.
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Old 30th Nov 2023, 06:51
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Way back, before Pontius had even gone to Biggin Hill, basic training from Day One was pure jet. (JP3 and 4). As I understood it at the time, the failure rate was considered too high and too expensive. 1968 or thereabouts, a short (12 hours?) course on the Chipmunk was introduced. The aim being to weed out those who could pass all the stuff at Biggin, but couldn't fly an aeroplane. Luckily I went the all-jet route, not flying a Chippy until over nine years after "wings".

Oh, and I doff my hat to you Mogwi.
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Old 30th Nov 2023, 08:01
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Originally Posted by Herod
Way back, before Pontius had even gone to Biggin Hill, basic training from Day One was pure jet. (JP3 and 4). As I understood it at the time, the failure rate was considered too high and too expensive. 1968 or thereabouts, a short (12 hours?) course on the Chipmunk was introduced. The aim being to weed out those who could pass all the stuff at Biggin, but couldn't fly an aeroplane.
You are on the right track Herod, there was a project to reduce wastage at the later stages of flying training. It started around 1973 with a survey of BFTS instructors to establish an objective assessment system. Hand in hand with this was the introduction of the Systems Approach To Flying Training (SAFT) at BFTS. Another component was the establishment of a Grading School trial at Church Fenton. The trial comprised 15 hrs (iirc) flying on the Chipmunk delivered in a standard fashion and objectively assessed. I don’t believe that any candidates were suspended, but their further progress was monitored. I believe it proved to be quite a good predictor. However, it also showed that you could only see so far ahead and whilst the predictions held pretty good at the next stage of training after that they fell away. Why the trial was not continued after the initial period I do not know, although I believe that a Chipmunk lead in was reintroduced a few years later.

The 1970s were a tumultuous period in Training Command, changeover from cadet to graduate entry, large fluctuations in year on year pilot recruitment and the shutdown of the multi-engine stream. I felt especially sorry for one of my students who was caught up in the latter event. He had worked very hard to get through the course and at the end it was coming good. He wouldn’t have made it through Valley but I had no doubt that he would have been successful at Oakington and gone on to make a success of whatever came after that. He was awarded his “wings” and then they were snatched away from him. As it happened, he went on to reach air rank in the Engineering Branch, so I suppose it didn’t turn out too bad for him.

An interesting thing I heard years later from a friend who had access to most of the relevant data for the period was that in spite of the strict application of objectivity in assessment, the most consistent factor in predicting success at the next stage of training was an experienced instructor at the present stage.

YS

Last edited by Yellow Sun; 30th Nov 2023 at 08:20.
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Old 30th Nov 2023, 08:58
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Where do RAF pilots come from now

Matching up "Needs of the Service" (constant variable) and Selection Performance (can become pretty steady) can become impossible.

I too went through OASC Biggin. They had a pre-selection assessment for those still at school with no 'O' levels. The prospect was to tell you whether or not you would likely,or not, succeed in the full selection programme. I failed. What they didn't tell you is that no further application was permitted until a period of two years expired. Penalty, wrongly applied to to an indicator assessment.

Up I went two years later but for Cranwell when it was the Acadamy for General List. Through part 1, I asked how I had done in the aptitude section and was told "Yes for pilot, no for Nav".

I was successful but offered Nav ! I declined.

I won a National Promotional Scheme for free PPL. Told the RAF and they asked me to write in again once I got my PPL. Did that and was offered Direct Entry Commission, pilot. But, Type C gone gone type B meant Service to 38 with option to terminate after 8 or 12 years.

Got me haircut, tried to get fit, listened to retired Sqd Leader up the road, practiced making my bed with hospital corners. Ready. MOD wrote and said Type B was cancelled and it would be for type A. -No termination option-. I declined and remained a Loader at LGW and started to build hours.

Civil College of Air Training, for BOAC/BEA had the same problems with matching. Never got it right and the whole system was binned years later.

Lastly, what on earth was the "Creamer" programme all about ? Pass OASC, Pass EFT and, was it there that one was so talented that you were "creamed" to become an Instructor yourself with, about 100 hrs total under your belt.

Tough call matching requirement with applicants as I discovered as a Selector in the Civil world.


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Old 30th Nov 2023, 09:58
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Yellow Sun,

I underwent BFTS at Linton on Ouse in 1977. By then the EFTS Chipmunk phase was gone and all basic training was carried out on the JP3 and 5. A Chipmunk EFTS reappeared at Swinderby some years later and in 1991 a mini EFTS was opened at Topcliffe, using the Bulldog, working alongside RAF Bulldog Standards and RN EFTS, to cater for a backlog on the Chipmunk course. Ever changing times.
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Old 30th Nov 2023, 10:39
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I completed some 30 hours flying training on the Chipmunk at PFS (Primary Flying Squadron) at Church Fenton in early 1969, prior to training on the JP3 and 4 at 1FTS Linton-on-Ouse, 1969 to 1970.






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Old 30th Nov 2023, 10:42
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Originally Posted by ShyTorque
Yellow Sun,

A Chipmunk EFTS reappeared at Swinderby some years later
The Chippies were at Swinditz in August 79 when I was square bashing; so pretty soon after your time at Linton Shy. (Does that mean you broke the system?)

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