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-   -   Re-introduction of Commissioning opportunities for NCA (https://www.pprune.org/military-aviation/366298-re-introduction-commissioning-opportunities-nca.html)

baffy boy 16th Mar 2009 21:40

Re-introduction of Commissioning opportunities for NCA
 
Bargain. The policy of non commissioned aircrew not being able to apply for a commission in branch has been reversed.
Has someone in ACOS Manning retired, or this an acknowledgement that the policy was flawed?
What next? Brevets that reflect specialisation? On v neck sweaters maybe?
Congratulations to whoever made the U-turn, this is a victory for common sense and good news for NCA.

talk_shy_tall_knight 16th Mar 2009 22:05

Wonder if they will follow the route of applying via the AFCO as per Airman - Commission application or if it will be administered 'in-house' as they've already done OASC (albeit assessed for NCA).

mad eng 16th Mar 2009 22:45

Standby for the smallprint.
I think you will find that it will be a very limited number and not to become a leader, but to disappear into the system. They need Sqn Ldrs, so pick NCA with relevant skills and groom them to fit the bill. This is not a policy reversal to commissioning within branch.
Sorry fellas

camelspyyder 16th Mar 2009 22:53

On a positive note for older folk, the age limit appears to be 47:)

Gnd 17th Mar 2009 12:25

NCO front enders as well
 
I believe that this is only a finger in the hole to stop the NAO getting its way - NCO Aircrew (front as well as rear). There is no reason (no Nuke) to pay exorbitant wages to non position holding Commissioned Officers when an NCO can do a better job at less cost - it has been proved to work. Officers for the Exec positions - NCOs to give long return of flying duty; cheaply!!!!

It has been done before and looks to be inbound - re-treads are just as expensive!!!

5 Forward 6 Back 17th Mar 2009 12:53

I've never really understood where all these savings would come from if we looked at NCO pilots.

If it were run similarly to current NCA, then a new Sergeant earns as much on starting as a top-tier level 10 Fg Off, and costs you over than £10k more than a similarly-aged A/Plt Off or £7k more than a Plt Off. Sure, they're capped at a lower level, but even your top-level Sgt only saves you a few thousand a year over a Flt Lt.

Starting them as Corporals means you'd be saving a not-very-spectacular £2000-odd a year over a Fg Off.

Besides, if you didn't up flying pay to cover the gap, wouldn't all your new NCO pilots being paid less than their officer equivalents be even more likely to PVR their way to airline jobs as soon as they had a bunch of hours under their belts?

talk_shy_tall_knight 17th Mar 2009 13:04


stop the NAO getting its way
'NAO' anyone?

Gnd 17th Mar 2009 13:39

National Audit Office.

I agree that there seems little change at the sprog end but at the other, e.g. a great reduction in the SO2 onward range is substantial.

More SO2 posts filled by SO3s (e.g. Sqn Ldr incharge of a Sqn for instance and a Flt Lt incharge of a Flt???) and capped at L22 PAS. This workes around the world and the NAO have been muting this for a while. We will see but in this climate - so much is under threat and remember, to PVR now is a little brave and the RAF have used this to great effect in times of war before?

Another point to ponder is that not every one flies for the pay - some enjoy it and would jump at the chance - even for a pittance which is NCO aircrew!!!!!

Truckkie 17th Mar 2009 15:54

We're all officers first and Pilot/Nav second.

How would you run a career pattern if you only had officers for exec positions?

Where would your junior pilots come from?

I wouldn't have joined to be a pilot as a Sgt - it's a career choice as well as a profession.

Then you get the problems of SNCO pilots trying to hold their own in a HQ/TGHQ/DOB/FOB with a whole host of junior/senior officers making the decisions.

Don't get me wrong - almost all NCA could easily be Pilots/Navs as they have the aptitude, but for instance would they have the presence to be a multi-engine aircraft captain? Dealing with 14 crew and over 200 passengers, stuck halfway round the world can be quite challenging:eek:

Especially if they all seriously out-rank you.

This subject has been around for years - the best NCA are going to get in the current climate is the chance to be an S02 in a specific post to cover the shortfall of Sqn Ldrs

Gnd 17th Mar 2009 16:54

Unfortunately, the answer is yes they can hold their own - ever fronted up a stroppy Army WO? even worse and American WO 1/2/3/4/5 who hold Officer Status Ė we normally follow the US so why be different this time

It works and the bean counters have, and are looking at it. If the Army failed - the RAF might have and argument but they are not flying an aircraft that has, and is by the RAF, thought of in the same way as the Harrier.

5 SO2s in a flight is very expensive and it does happen. I do think this may be more appropriate to the RW fraternity; in the short term anyway.

Just out of interest - how would a junior Flt Lt do when confronted with a stroppy Wng Comd 200 miles around the other side of the world - pull the Aircraft Captain card like any Army WO maybe or get help from the MALM?

Cornish Jack 17th Mar 2009 17:30


almost all NCA could easily be Pilots/Navs as they have the aptitude, but for instance would they have the presence to be a multi-engine aircraft captain? Dealing with 14 crew and over 200 passengers, stuck halfway round the world can be quite challenging
Really??
Perhaps just as challenging as captaining a multi engine aircraft ALL THE WAY AROUND THE WORLD as used to be the case with stalwarts such as M Plt Jack Huntingdon et al. Done, I might add, in aircraft considerably more demanding than the 'over the weather' pressurised comfort of today's crews. Those crews descended directly from their counterparts who operated in even worse conditions 'cos they were flying over countries which had a habit of firing nasty big explosive things at them. Oh yes, by the way, our nco captains flew their multi-engine aircraft by themselves - one pilot, one pilot's assistant and one Nav, and, would you believe it, they actually managed to do it quite successfully.:rolleyes: I'm afraid that I still fail to understand what supposed 'magic' attending the 'Rupert Factory' works on highly competent pilots. I do know that ALL of those nco pilots that I flew with were quite exceptionally gifted - not necessarily something which could be universally applied elsewhere.:mad:

Truckkie 17th Mar 2009 17:56

Gents - don't take this the wrong way.....but

Can you actually see a Sgt pilot flying Typhoon?

How about A400M/FSTA/C17 etc

How many Sgt pilots will make Sqn Cdrs/Stn Cdrs or AOCs etc?

Junior Officers become senior officers and unfortunately most Air Ranks are GD branch.

Yes - I agree, might suit the rotary world. But then again wouldn't it suit better if all SH/AH were operated by the Army with their SNCO pilots?

We're not dealing with WWII or the immediate post war years any more - SNCO Pilots are a thing of the past.

With the demise of the Air Eng trade shortly and reduction in some fixed wing fleets could we not save more money by removing SNCO status from AEops and ALMs?

Do you really need to be a SNCO in these jobs? Sounds like the same argument for Officer pilots to me:ok:

davejb 17th Mar 2009 19:06

Good grief,
somebody really DOES believe that attending OTU magically confers the ability to make decisions and stand up for themselves, if not the ability to leap tall buildings etc

Okay, I'll bite.... what amazing difference would there be then between an NCO who had passed the aptitude tests and the subsequent flying training courses before graduating to the front line and Typhoon, and a Fg Off who had done the same? Pixie dust in the blood or something?

Seldomfitforpurpose 17th Mar 2009 19:33

dave,

Forgive poor old Truckkie, I suspect a bit too much to drink early doors made him post like such a silly billy.

I think he works south side where I am and unless I am mistaken there is a chap over there, surname is the same as Sherlock Holmes side kick, who was a Sgt ALM and now happily drives Albert round the sky and with the impending demise of his current steed will no doubt be off to "A400M/FSTA/C17 etc" Whilst the name escapes I am sure an ex ALM is now a Harrier or some other pointy thing pilot, not forgetting the couple our side an ex Air Eng and an ALM, so it's not as if it's never been done before.

I am sure once he sobers up Truckkie will be back to apologise.

Norman Stanley Fletcher 17th Mar 2009 19:47

I am an ex-RAF Officer, Tornado GR1/GR1A & GR4 Navigator and now Airbus Training Captain in Civvie Street. Loved the RAF and now love what I am doing now. Long story, but that is for another day....

All those people saying that NCA are not fit for command and are not fit to command complex aircraft should perhaps read an excellent book I have just read called 'Apache Dawn'. It follows the Afghanistan adventures of British Army Apache pilots - the odd officer among them but mainly NCOs. The Apache is infinitely more complex than the Tornado GR4 in terms of operation and what they have been doing in terms of Close Air Support beats anything I ever did - including a number of low level missions in the first Gulf War. If I was an army squaddie on the ground, the guy I would want above me in that Apache would have loads of experience and not some army Major with 700 hours total time who knows all about 'commanding men'. I want someone who is knowledgeable, experienced, tenacious, motivated, keen and courageous - give me a Sgt pilot any day.

Being an officer is all very useful if you aspire to be the Squadron Boss and want someone to makes hearts and minds speeches in front of our wives and children. We have all known highly intelligent officers who would struggle to work out how to flush the toilet correctly. By the time I left the RAF, I had really had it with many senior officers who were just utter buffoons in posh suits. These are the same people that decided not to put a gun in the Typhoon or Harrier incidentally (the Typhoon gun is back in I hear). They are also the same people who decided not to put any ECM on the Tornado F3. Put a hard-bitten WO1 with a bit of savvy in the decison-making chain and none of that would have happened. I had also spent a little time with the army and was incredibly impressed by the nouse, wit and ability of the common British soldier. If I was in a tight spot, I do not care whether the people around me are officers or not - I care that they are well-trained, competent and courageous. All very useful as it is to be the best Wines Member in the history of the Mess, that sort of thing really counts for diddly when the rubber hits the road. There are some great officers in our nation's history but there are also some fantastic NCOs who can and do command men significantly more effectively than the officers over them.

Gnd 17th Mar 2009 19:47

There is no right or wrong opinion here but a Civilian get a CPL at 150 hrs!!!! Even the lowliest Army Cpl gets 200hrs before promotion and a very low brow pilotís job (oh and no CPL - yet - watch this space!!!). If he can be seen as suitable and pass all the hurdles (same as the RAF and Navy) he will command and get promoted.

By the time he has 500hrs he is looked at for Command - similar to an RAF Flt Lt if up to it. Having seen all 3 sides/colours of our trade - there isnít much difference.

My point still is that in the long run Sgts will not Command the last RAF station still standing (even if they think they doo) but could easily, after a very long and distinguished creer, fly the last plane having cost a lot less to the bean counters/NAO.
Enough Officers will continue past their 16 yr point and if more GD guys and Girls get the AOC slots, why have Commissioned aircrew at all?? We may all be forced to be sensible and protect the present and future capability not the tradition and past.

Truckkie 17th Mar 2009 21:53

Gents

Despite the numerous bites etc...

Can you honestly see the RAF doing away with most of its Officer Aircrew?

I think not - aptitude is one thing. Do you think the purple-blooded Air Officers would want 'enlisted chaps' flying their new shiny jets/helos etc?


think he works south side where I am and unless I am mistaken there is a chap over there, surname is the same as Sherlock Holmes side kick, who was a Sgt ALM and now happily drives Albert round the sky and with the impending demise of his current steed will no doubt be off to "A400M/FSTA/C17 etc"
Almost correct - I do know the bloke you're talking about above and unless I'm mistaken he's just taken promotion to Sqn Ldr - wouldn't have done that if he was a SNCO pilot!

Why did he get a commission then? Was he not happy being a Sgt?

:eek:

Seldomfitforpurpose 17th Mar 2009 22:19

No, I think he took a commission because he had to be commissioned to be a pilot, unless you can think of a another reason?

Chugalug2 17th Mar 2009 22:34

Cornish Jack:

stalwarts such as M Plt Jack Huntingdon
Well he was a Flt Lt by the time I became one of his apprentices, CJ, but that didn't seem to affect his ability to produce a pithy Yorkshire expletive when the occasion called for it. If Ops Wing came up with some new super duper revolutionary way to dramatically increase the Hastings' Range/Endurance or whatever, they would nervously produce their paper for Jack's perusal. 5 minutes later he'd put it down and deliver his verdict; "f...ing stuff and f...ing nonsense"! The proposal would die there. On the other hand if you, by some miracle, produced a three pointer on the piano keys of a Tactical Landing from the RHS, Jack would take over with a "F...ing sow's ear lad, I have control". Bliss!
Oh as regards the OP my best instructor, other than Jack, was a Master Pilot on the JP. Don't know if that helps, but it did me!

Gnd 18th Mar 2009 08:30


Can you honestly see the RAF doing away with most of its Officer Aircrew?

I think not - aptitude is one thing. Do you think the purple-blooded Air Officers would want 'enlisted chaps' flying their new shiny jets/helos etc?
I do not think some over pompous RAF minion will have much sway over a bureaucratic, penny pinching bean counter. Do not think we are anything less than a pain and money swallowing organisation to them. Tradition and personal opinion will be very low on their reasons to keep things the way they are Ė lean proved that our opinion meant nothing!!!

Just donít get to sad when you sit in the air with a very capable NCO Ė he will still be in charge if the auth sheet says so.


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