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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)

Thomas coupling 27th May 2013 08:48


Your best bet is is to go to your nearest careers office and ask to speak to someone about it. Failing that do you you know someone who is in the RAF who can chat to you over a coffee?

If you only want search engine clues try:
Loadmaster / loady.
Winchman / winch operator.
helicopter crewman.
radar operator.

There are navigators on jets in the RAF and helicopters in the Royal Navy, but not in the RAF helicopter world anymore.

Lima Juliet 27th May 2013 09:08

Just to be fully pedantic on MG's post and so you don't get it wrong at interview:

Weapon System Officer = WSO (pronounced 'Wizzo')

Weapon System Operator = WSOp (pronounced 'Wizzop')

WSO are commissioned officers and WSOps are non-commissioned officers (NCO).

Finally, I noted that there were some University Air Sqn types that are WSO who are holding with me this summer. So the stream may opening in very limited numbers. There are 'core' programs still in service that need WSOs:

Sentry AEW Mk1
Tornado GR4 (although OSD is likely sometime soon after JSF ISD in 2018/19)

Plus some Urgent Operational Requirements (UORs) that are looking at going into 'core':

REAPER (to become Project SCAVANGER)
and possibly Sentinel RMk1 which is due to finish at the end of Op HERRICK.

So there will be either commissioning of WSOps or new WSOs to train. I hear that the Observer Course at RNAS Culdrose is being looked at for these small numbers.


sljmaster 27th May 2013 09:47

Thanks for the replies, unfortunately I don't know anyone in the RAF in my area but I've been in army cadets for 4 years so I guess that's better than nothing. I have previously looked at the WSOp route but I was unsure on exactly what this is, from the description it's obvious you load cargo etc on to aircraft but do you then go with it to unload the cargo on the other end or stay at the base, because it's listed under aircrew which would suggest you're 'in the air' and you get flying pay.

Melchett01 27th May 2013 10:21


If you want to do nothing more than hang out of the side of a helicopter on the end of door gun, then you probably need to look at joining the AAC in the ranks. Once you have done your basic training and have a tour under your belt, you can apply to be a Crewman / Door Gunner. But you may only do that for a tour or 2 tops, it isn't a full career stream.

If you want to do more than that, then as has already been you need to look at Weapons Systems Operator in the RAF, but in doing so, being prepared that you could end up working on the Air Transport or ISTAR fleets as much as the Rotary fleet. It all depends what we need at the time and where your aptitude lies.

4Greens 27th May 2013 19:12

More interesting to join the Royal Navy.

MG 27th May 2013 19:17

Can you join the RN directly as a crewman? I didn't think you could, but it wouldn't be the first time that I was wrong.

(Those who know me, yes it does happen occasionally, but very rarely!!)

TheWizard 27th May 2013 19:57

Simple answer, no.

thing 27th May 2013 20:01

Sentinel RMk1 which is due to finish at the end of Op HERRICK.
Maybe not.

"Running in" 27th May 2013 21:07

RN started recruiting direct entry crewmen earlier this year. Still in the early stages but looking to start new entries at Raleigh in 2014.

Tommmo 4th Jun 2013 17:10

It might interest anyone watching this thread to know that RAF Pilot recruitment opened up this afternoon. I don't know how long for or how many applicants they will be accepting, but it's worth a look.

Wander00 4th Jun 2013 18:51

Usually someone from OAC comes on the thread and tells us - but is there anyone in OASC these days (I did my selection at Hornchurch)

Pontius Navigator 4th Jun 2013 19:45

Wander, indeed, so did I.

Yes, there are still people at OASC as recruiting has never stopped. I would even imagine that the staff have not been cut back as their job is to winnow the best of the wheat. Low recruitment targets translate to higher bars and not fewer applicants. Only aircrew have been subject to a closed door, for the rest, if a door is closed they could often be sent to a different branch.

Wander00 4th Jun 2013 19:59

Aah, that's good then. feel really sorry for those that cannot get in. Mind you , difficult in all fields. Youngest has his last Uni exam on Thursday and then is let loose - mind you a slightly specialised field of materials and computer aided design. Good luck to all those finishing uni and job hunting

carfraec 25th Aug 2013 13:30

Hi there,

I'm yet another person that wants to join RN/RAF as a pilot once I finish uni in 2 years. However from reading on thestudentroom forums, they are saying that pilots will be 100% from UAS. I'm currently in the TA and enjoying it and am loath to leave. How much does UAS advantage an application these days?


Melchett01 26th Aug 2013 11:37

I'm long out of the UAS system these days, and as I understand it, UASs are now more about general leadership and officer skills with some flying rather than the pure flying of 20 years ago when I joined. So in respect of having a bag of hours to your name before you join, probably not so much.

But in terms of demonstrating commitment and a burning desire to join the RAF, if your university has a UAS affiliated to it, and if I were doing your interview, I'd want to know why you had to be prised out of the OTC if you really were that keen on all things flying and RAF.

Edited to add - it doesn't have to be a major problem, you just need to be creative in your thinking and come up with a way of selling it to the interview boards.

airborne_artist 30th Aug 2013 11:47

Are you in the TA or the OTC?

If you are in the TA and doing challenging stuff then I'd stay. There are plenty of ways to sell it to OASC. Don't believe all you read on Student Room anyway. They genuinely don't know.

There's lots of other ways of getting in the air that don't involve UAS anyway. Gliding is one of them. Uni/general gliding club would be one. Make sure your CV is peppered with leadership experience in clubs/societies, and with experience of working alongside/leading others from all walks of life. Do some true volunteering.

The RN will be far less fussed about UAS anyway :E

muppetofthenorth 30th Aug 2013 16:49

Don't believe all you read on Student Room anyway. They genuinely don't know.
Wouldn't go that far. There are a good few serving/ex-serving types including an ex-UAS QFI, serving FJ and ME types along with a couple of blunties...

As with any place with people pertaining to be in the know; some do, some don't. On the whole, however, the advice over there is pretty good.

I will say, though, that the bit the guy was referring to, the "all pilots will be from the UAS" hasn't been said at all, by anyone. Think there's more than a few wires crossed there. He might be referring to the fact that recently all the people entering the system have been bursars, but now the stream is open to everyone again.

carfraec 1st Sep 2013 21:22

Thanks very much for the replies everyone.

Artist, I am in the process of transferring out of the OTC having done my first year back to TA (perhaps it should now be Army Reserve), the course I'm hoping to get on is rather challenging but its something I've wanted to do for some time.

Yes I gathered the student room can be rather hit and miss, though the "100% UAS aircrew" comment did alarm me - hopefully its baseless. I just didn't want to burn any military flying bridges whereby someone with UAS experience would get selected over someone without it, this seems a bit daft given there are plenty of uni's not covered by UAS.

Thanks again.

sljmaster 2nd Sep 2013 21:00

Hey, aspiring pilot too, I recently went to RAF Shrewsburry and spoke to some pilots for a couple of hours, everyone gets an interview and the same tests, you just need to be in the top 0.5% and sell yourself well in the interviews and have great leadership skills which can be developed in UAS.

Melchett01 2nd Sep 2013 21:38

I recently went to RAF Shrewsburry and spoke to some pilots for a couple of hours, everyone gets an interview and the same tests, you just need to be in the top 0.5% and sell yourself well in the interviews
I assume you mean RAF Shawbury? As well as the above advice, not shooting yourself in the foot is also strongly advised.

If you do, no harm in back tracking and asking "did I just say RAF Shrewsburry? I mean Shawbury". If you have a human being for an interviewer (usually you do) they'll probably chuckle and put it down to interview nerves but equally should give you a bit of credit for having the confidence to own up to a mistake.

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