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-   -   OFFICER and AIRCREW 'CANDIDATES' PLEASE READ THIS THREAD FIRST! (https://www.pprune.org/military-aviation/405176-officer-aircrew-candidates-please-read-thread-first.html)

Pontius Navigator 1st Mar 2013 12:11

An 18-yr old is seen as having more scope for development in both aptitude and leadership potential aircrew. For a 23-yr old it is more WYSIWG with everything going downhill from there.

As for degree choice, if you look at Cranwell graduation lists you will see many with BEng and not a few with Masters. Even for Logistics as science based degree is preferable to an arts one.

Bearcat F8F 1st Mar 2013 16:53

Unofficial RAF Pilot Requirements
 
Hi guys,

My dream has always been to become a fighter pilot. I know this may very well be beyond my control even if I get accepted into the RAF, however, I have a little problem to start with.

I've been to the careers office and had a meeting with a Wing Commander. I'm currently in my final year of a BEng Aeronautical Engineering degree. I was told that I have not done enough activities such as hill climbing/ walking and other team activities of that nature. During my time at university I basically spent all my free time working like crazy in a removals company and I now have a PPL with 90 hours total time + a few hours in gliders as a result of all that hard work.

The Wing Commander said that as things stand I do not have enough of that hill walking stuff experience that they are looking for and apparently my many hours of work in a removals company doesn't show stamina and teamwork. I also go to the gym and swimming pool regularly but apparently that's not enough also.

Currently in 4th year with lots of course work and 2 projects, I simply can not afford to go and join a university club, be it hill climbing, formula student or whatever. I know that as things stand I will not get accepted (that Wing Commander will be on the hiring committee). Is there anything I can do once I finish university in a few months to increase my chances? I was planning on just finding a job in engineering ASAP but I'm not sure any of the above points could be addressed by doing so.

I was told that the pilot position will open again in a few months. I am a bit concerned though about my situation and feel it would be extremely unfair as I've spent every spare second over the past 4 years working really hard so that I could fund some flight training in case things with the RAF don't work out, and as a result it seems my chances are significantly lower with a PPL, glider time, removals work (and a technical interpreter job that I did for a month) compared to someone with the same degree as me but with 4 years of experience with a university club of some sort.

Suggestions welcome. Thanks.

Pontius Navigator 1st Mar 2013 17:09

I think you have answered your own question. Even 4 months undertaking arduous pursuits would only be seen as a box ticking exercise unless you get a startling degree and prove that you spent 4 years in productive study.

Even so, finding some arduous team pursuits rather than solitary gym sessions and swimming can't hurt.

lj101 1st Mar 2013 17:32

Bearcat

Not sure of the process now but at the careers office i happened to be in when i was recruited, it used to be a Flt Lt that did the interview and put you forward to Cranwell for the selection process.

Are you saying its now a Wg Cdr that was doing the selection for going to Cranwell and hasn't supported your application? If you're at an early stage, can you apply at a different career office?

Bearcat F8F 1st Mar 2013 18:01

lj101, it was just a "chat" that I had with him, nothing more. He did however say that he is on the hiring committee and I will see him again if I get an interview. So presumably, the answer to your question is yes.

Pontius Navigator, well, he did urge me to join something now and it will make a difference, so I presume he hadn't just seen it as a box ticking exercise. The biggest issue for me is of course that I simply can not do it due to the lack of any available time.

So I was curious as to whether I could do something after university to increase my chances.

lj101 1st Mar 2013 18:24

He won't be on every committee and surely you can fit in a bit of hill walking occasionally to make a true statement of extra activities as requested.

I would apply via a different career's office and don't forget the RN have fighter pilots too.

Pontius Navigator 1st Mar 2013 18:38

Bearcat, the box tick refers to doing something between Uni and applying. It would show lack of capacity as you would only be doing one thing at a time rather than keeping several balls in the air at the same time.

Your phrase 'hiring committee' puzzles me. It is not a committee but a board. Always was, always is. It now consists on two members, a chairman and an assistant. They used to be a wg cdr and a sqn ldr. Now they can be a flt lt chairman and a sqn ldr or wg cdr assistant depending on their experience in the role. There will be several boards sitting at the same time testing the different syndicates. There will then be a board president over the individual boards. Again the rank depends on experience and could even be a flt lt.

Trust me, the candidate who has a broad spectrum of experiences and activities and achieves a 2.2 can be more suitable than one who achieves a 1st at Cambridge. I have trained both and the former both qualified as aircrew and got his own sqn 10 years later and gp capt shortly after that. Actually I don't think he even got a 2.2.

muppetofthenorth 1st Mar 2013 18:46

A Wg Cdr at a careers office? Doesn't sound right. Never saw anyone higher than F/L there and only ever saw Wg Cdr during reviews at OASC, post-tests.


Anyway, if you join clubs after uni you'll be asked why you didn't join any during uni, you'll be asked why you didn't join the UAS and any other societies going and unless you get a very high First they won't really buy the 'concentrating on my studies' line - consider that unfair if you wish.

Fact is you'll be up against hundreds of applicants who also have degrees but masses of extra curricular activities, be it Football, Rugby, Hockey, Skiing, Harry Potter Society or Tiddlywinks... what do you have to make yourself stand out against them?

They will also ask you, unfairly or otherwise, if you thought you were managing your time effectively if you had no time available for any of these activities.

Like it or not, the RAF/Armed Forces in general want rounded individuals with many and varied experiences. If you can't offer them that, they'll go elsewhere.


Many will also tell you the PPL was useless for an RAF application, so be aware of that.

lj101 1st Mar 2013 19:04


I almost never get drawn into stupid keyboard wars over the internet and especially PPRuNe. However given my passion for both flying and the BA FPP, I would like to say that you stand next to no chance of getting anywhere with that mindset IMO.

For a start most of us wannabes are mostly concerned about how to even get a foot in the door of commercial aviation, never mind about the quickest way to make captain. I suggest you be realistic and stop dreaming. And above all, try to understand the amazing opportunity you get with BA.

If you see this as merely a stepping stone to making captain as quick as possible, you can try Ryanair instead. They make captains relatively quickly there.
Bearcat mate

Are you sure you always wanted to be a fighter pilot?

Melchett01 1st Mar 2013 19:40


A Wg Cdr at a careers office? Doesn't sound right. Never saw anyone higher than F/L there and only ever saw Wg Cdr during reviews at OASC, post-tests
Sounds like a Regional Careers Liaison Officer or whatever they are called these days. I applied for a Cadetship whilst at school doing A-Levels and my application was processed by a sqn ldr RCLO and when I applied for direct entry at university, it was processed by a retired wg cdr.

The 'hiring committee' is, I suspect, the wg cdr performing an initial filter interview, producing a report equivalent to that done in the AFCO and sending it off to OASC for them to make a decision as to whether to call Bearcat forward.

It's all about how you sell yourself. If you do a demanding degree, with lectures 9-5 and a stack of coursework, of course it's going to be harder to get fully involved in extra-curricular activities than if you are doing under-water basket weaving. It's no different to a guys on a busy sqn not having time to do secondary duties, whilst some of those in SHQ whose job is done by 10am each day have a raft of them. How many times have we all 'sold' the boss / deskie a line when questions about a lack of secondary duties were aske?

If this wg cdr can't differentiate between the relative requirements of different degrees, then it sounds as though he is being a little harsh. Of course, if Bearcat were thinking outside the box, he would realise this wg cdr was a likely risk to a successful application and he would put in a plan to mitigate the risk i.e. go to an AFCO in the high street where every Tom, Dick and Harry is being processed and an Eng degree might be a bit out of the ordinary.

Alternatively, I could be harsh and say serves you right for doing an Eng degree. Geography was the de facto choice on my UAS precisely because it gave you enough time to do other things the RAF would appreciate - like fly, drink and chase girls :ok:

Pontius Navigator 2nd Mar 2013 08:58

MOTN, I see you posted just 8 minutes after me so I won't claim plagiarism :) but it should show Bearcat that Ppruners from entirely different ends of the age spectrum are singing from the same hymn sheet.

Lj101 has also shown how your dedication does not seem as deep seated as you would have us believe. OASC read this thread and even though you are hiding behind a pseudonym they can often spot at interview a Ppruner wanabee.

Bearcat F8F 3rd Mar 2013 21:27

Thanks for the replies.

It was a Wing Commander - a Regional Careers Liaison Officer.


Lj101 has also shown how your dedication does not seem as deep seated as you would have us believe. OASC read this thread and even though you are hiding behind a pseudonym they can often spot at interview a Ppruner wanabee.
Well, there are many details of my circumstances that you, nor anyone else is aware of on this forum... because its a forum :ok:

I find it extremely difficult to believe that anyone in the RAF will base their decisions of a person solely on a forum conversation, which by nature can not take into account the full scope of an individual's circumstances.

But anyway, I appreciate where you are coming from in terms of not being able to do activities at the same time whilst at university. I see what you mean now when you say it's a "box ticking exercise". As I've explained before I was working practically 7 days a week along with all university course work and lectures, meetings etc. There was simply zero chance of me fitting anything else in.

I think if you knew me, you'd be hard pushed to find someone as keen as me on fighters (aircraft in general, but especially fighters). I am well aware that every 2nd person says this though. I don't really care or expect you to be convinced.

For the record, I never said my dream is to join the RAF. I said I've always wanted to be a fighter pilot. If you are basing your skepticism of my desire by reading the questions that I have asked, then technically speaking, your judgement is irrelevant as the issue which I have outlined concerns my legibility of joining the RAF.

I am not prepared to gamble everything I have on making it into the RAF and sacrificing other potential income which could greatly benefit me in obtaining an airline job in the future. I am happy to fight for survival in the commercial segment... which I suspect is the way it will most likely turn out.

muppetofthenorth 3rd Mar 2013 22:29


For the record, I never said my dream is to join the RAF. I said I've always wanted to be a fighter pilot.
So, remembering that when joining the RAF you do as 'Pilot' and you stand equal chance of getting FastJet, MultiEngined or Rotary, what would you do then?

If your goal in joining the RAF is purely to fly 'fighters' - as your general jist seems to imply - then what would you do when confronted with a contract for minimum service of 12 years and the only slot available is for Rotary?

If you're not prepared to do that, forget the Forces right now; it's the only sensible choice.

Pontius Navigator 4th Mar 2013 06:38


I find it extremely difficult to believe that anyone in the RAF will base their decisions of a person solely on a forum conversation, which by nature can not take into account the full scope of an individual's circumstances.
No of course not, that would be a complete nonsense. No, the point is that you make certain statements in a certain way on the forum. OASC staff may well have read these and may remember some gems.

During interview you, as the interviewee, have very limited scope for controlling the interview as you will want to be as open and candid as possible. You would be surprised at how thorough the interview can be and it will probe areas of your life that you will have long forgotten. You will be surprised.

On your wg cdr, the RLO is a retired officer serving as a civil servant and I don't think is in the recruiting loop at all, except a little more than we on pprune are.

Bearcat F8F 5th Mar 2013 15:34


On your wg cdr, the RLO is a retired officer serving as a civil servant and I don't think is in the recruiting loop at all, except a little more than we on pprune are.
Really? He definitely said that he will be on the interview board (or something along those lines) and he will ask me about what I have done since the last time that we spoke. So I assume he must be in the loop somehow?

So, remembering that when joining the RAF you do as 'Pilot' and you stand equal chance of getting FastJet, MultiEngined or Rotary, what would you do then?

If your goal in joining the RAF is purely to fly 'fighters' - as your general jist seems to imply - then what would you do when confronted with a contract for minimum service of 12 years and the only slot available is for Rotary?

If you're not prepared to do that, forget the Forces right now; it's the only sensible choice.
Yes exactly. I would still be unbelievably happy to fly anything I got offered. Preferably not rotary, but even with rotary I would be happy.

My main concern was that if I was to try and do everything I can now to increase my chances of joining the RAF (i.e. joining some hill walking club at university whilst I'm still a student there), I could potentially sacrifice a better degree which could get me a good job which in turn could pay for the rest of my commercial pilot training and maybe land me an airline job one day. If I knew for a fact that I would join the RAF by sacrificing a better degree, I would. But I don't know that. Hence I'd rather concentrate on my degree for now.

Pontius Navigator 5th Mar 2013 18:04

Bear, while we have focussed on your particular activities at University we haven't mentioned what you did before University. Things like the DoE scheme, your time and activity in the ATC, the team sports and activities you undertook at school.

On the person you spoke with, RLO may have been the wrong title you picked. My daughter certainly visited universities and it may have been a wg cdr on a liaison visit to the university. That is certainly possible so that what you said is indeed true, sorry we missed that inference.

You may meet him again at Cranwell, on the other hand you may equally be in a different syndicate.

BTW, while my interview was decades ago, my training was not and my daughter even more recent, curiously only one question has been dropped (too difficult) and a couple substituted.

Bearcat F8F 5th Mar 2013 23:34

Pontius, interesting! However I don't really think it will be worth my time or their time if I decide to go ahead with the process the way things stand. I'm pretty sure I will get told the same thing (not enough group activities).

It's a shame though. I love flying, I love gliding and I am absolutely addicted to aerobatics. I've also spent a huge part of my life reading/ learning about air combat and aviation/ history to an extent that no other 21 year old that I have met so far, has. I know a few people from the UAS and I can not see even 30% of the sort of desire that I possess. Actually I never got accepted to the UAS. I don't know their reasons for the decision they made... but I do know one thing in the interview that I may have screwed up (not 100% sure though). It was at that point that I decided to save up and do a PPL.

So unless they plan on asking me in the interview about advantages and disadvantages of WVR combat of Eurofighters and Su-27s, which I highly doubt, I reckon I don't stand a high chance because I will not be looked at as a "well rounded individual".

Pontius Navigator 6th Mar 2013 08:11

See PM .

Libertine Winno 6th Mar 2013 11:37

@ Bearcat,

To give you at least some idea of what it takes to be a fast jet pilot, a friend of mine is a Typhoon pilot and was in the Air Cadets, UAS, was a gliding instrutor before he could even drive and went through Uni with the RAF.

Added to this of course was his basic aptitude (one of those who seemed to be good at everything!) which, if you haven't got, will scupper any chances of aircrew of any description, let alone fast jet.

Remember, this is little boy's dream job so there are thousands of potential applicants. DO NOT be put off applying because of that, but just be aware that is the kind of standard you will be up against. A 4 year BEng degree will be great if applying to design the planes, but is only a tiny detail if you are applying to fly them!

Bearcat F8F 9th Mar 2013 09:57

Libertine Winno,

Thanks. I don't think I am under any illusion as to the difficulty both physically and psychologically that the job entails. From personal experience of aerobatics, I can only imagine the sort of work load required from a fighter pilot in a dogfight scenario, not counting all other aspects of the flying involved.

I do believe something like only 7% of all aviators have what it takes to fly fighters, of which a much smaller % actually does. I am not saying I'm one of them, but I don't doubt my abilities either. I am happy for the RAF to make the call if I ever make it within the next 4 years.


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