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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)

Levelling_the_Land 11th Nov 2014 23:39

Always look on the bright side of life

it's at this point that I'll post my first extended post to this forum, and quote possibly my last, as this is the only real contribution I can make.

If you have had asthma, you won't be accepted as aircrew.

Back in 1988, before the internet let you find these things out quickly and clearly, a younger me had been dreaming of joining the RAF as aircrew since he was 7 or 8. Joined the ATC at 13. Was obsessed with aircraft and back then knew that the Tornado GR1 and F2 had different models of RB199 and could tell you the difference. During my initial interview at the careers office I identified a JP233 on the Tornado model in the office and explained what it was used for. I really enjoyed OASC at Biggin Hill for a 6th Form Scholarship and having done well enough in all the tests on the 2 days,
including the spirometry, one of the happiest moments of my life was to come home one day after school to find a letter saying "You have been offered a 6th Form Scholarship as General Duties Navigator......Asthma.....Please go to CME on date such and such to have this checked out". (This isn't the exact wording, but is the general gist.)

Gulp. Still, can't be a problem, can it?

I still remember the sign behind the Doctor's desk saying "Don't tell me you have a cold, I'll decide that". I was suffering from a stinking cold and the doctor wasn't best pleased when I pointed it out. I was asked some questions about my medical history, which added up to "I did have asthma". And that was the end of that. A horrible train journey back "Oop North" contemplating the end of my dreams.

Still one of the worst days of my life.

Which in many ways shows both that I've since had a full and enjoyable life. At the time, it felt like the end of the world. It wasn't. I've got a good job in an interesting industry which pays me quite well. A good family and my health.

Asthma? Haven't had an attack since I was about 12. I wasn't a sickly, weedy asthmatic, I swam just below county standard, played 1st 15 rugby at school, captained my University team, played National League Waterpolo. Had very good eyesight. I'm now over 40.

Good Luck getting your record changed. But you have to be honest with yourself. Did you really have it? In some ways the diagnostic criteria are simple. If your peak flow improves by more than 12% after a bronchodilator then you're probably asthmatic. It can be more complex, but that's a good starter. How do I know this? My wife's a GP, and number 1 son is asthmatic. A GP won't change your record just because you want them to. If you die of an attack, or it comes back, their arse is on the line in that case. Medico-legally, it's just not going to happen. You will need a 2nd opinion, and I think 1 or 2 people who've been on this thread have had some success. But your GP won't do it. My wife's been asked and she said "no". Bear in mind, while you think it's the end of the world, earlier in the year she's probably had to tell someone it really is the end of their world, as they're going to die of something. Possibly a mum with 2 young kids. Telling you "no" will be on the easier end of the spectrum of their job. Particularly if you really did have asthma.

As for why a past history matters? Most things in large organisations in life are about risk management/maximising probabilities. A past history of asthma puts you at greater risk of it happening again, particularly in difficult physical situations. What happens to you, or those around you if this happens when your life or someone else's it at risk? Try looking at this
thread http://www.pprune.org/military-aviat...ranscript.html and the link in the post from "cows getting bigger". Think how hard that guy's working just to stay alive. Imagine what would have happened if your asthma reappeared then. It's not a game. Why should the RAF take the greater risk with you?

So, why this extended post?

I've seen the blunt, direct replies from those who haven't "fallen at the first" (or should that be "didn't make it out of the starting gate" :-)) and as correct as they are, they're from those who have succeeded in their dream. I have a lot of sympathy for your reaction. I know how it feels, and it feels shit. But it isn't the end of the world, in fact it's a big
old world with more variety than you can possibly sample in one lifetime. So if you really did have asthma, go and sample something else, it might not be what you originally wanted to do, I know I'd still prefer to have had my first choice career! But if you choose wisely, remain flexible and graft hard, there's some pretty good second choices out there.


melmothtw 12th Nov 2014 12:43

I appear to have had a mirror experience to you LTL, even down to the approximate dates.

Like you, becoming a fast jet pilot in the RAF was the be-all-and-end-all for me growing up, and like yourself there was nothing about military aviation of the late 1980s that I didn't know.

I went down to Biggin Hill for the OASC (in 1990 I think), and passed through all of the processes right up until the medical. 'Childhood asthma' and dodgy eyes did for me (like yourself, I've not had anything resembling an asthma attack in over 30 years).

It was pretty devastating for me to told this as a 16-year-old, but I just had to suck it up and get on with my life.

In the intervening years (I'm now north of 40) I have actually managed to make a living out of military aviation (more through luck rather than judgement), but as a writer rather than a pilot.

T93, as LTL says there comes a point where you just have to accept the facts and find some other path. You won't be the first person to have their hopes and dreams dashed and you won't be the last, but there are other aviation-related options out there beyond the military that you could pursue.

Good luck.

Typhoon93 12th Nov 2014 15:03

I genuinely don't believe I actually had asthma. I have only had one instance where I have had to be nebulised, and that felt more like a nasty chest infection than an asthma attack. I have seen a person have an asthma attack, and it was nothing like anything I had seen or experienced before.

I will seek a second opinion, however I am also prepared to accept that if it doesn't go my way, then a career as a front line pilot is a non-starter, however crap it may be.

Alister101 12th Nov 2014 23:00


Go speak to your GP, it might not be highlighted in your Medical History page - Just down on your notes page. Misdiagnoses are hard to get, as I think it needs to be the original Doc that did it, not too sure.

However, I guess Asthma is quite easy to spot, and as I take it you never went back to claim the medication didn't work, this confirms the diagnosis.

But I'm no Dr.

Good luck.

Alex Bugle 13th Nov 2014 16:22

New Applicant
Hello all,
I am in the early stages of my application (I have my AFCO P2 presentation next week) to join the RAF as a pilot. Whilst the information on the RAF website and posts on this forum have been very clear about the various stages of the application process I have yet to find a post which dealt with expected mathematical abilities. Although I do have a maths GCSE, it has been been a while since I tackled an equation (numerical or algebraic). Could anyone give me any advice on what will be expected of me/what I should practice.

Alister101 13th Nov 2014 22:53

The maths in the RT test mimics the maths you've done at school. Long multiplication/division, area of shapes, long addition and subtraction etc etc The maths is pretty simple, the hard bit is the time, that's where I struggled!!

Will47 2nd Dec 2014 12:24

Hi All,

I have recently attended OASC on the 16th-18th Novemeber and was just wondering how long others have had to wait to get a result?

I have been asked by my AFCO to fill out national security vetting forms and have been advised that I will hear back from OASC when this process is complete?

I was wondering if this means that I have been accepted as I have applied previously and got a letter back a week after attending OASC saying that I was not accepted, I was never asked to fill out security clearance forms.

If someone with previous experience of applying could shed some light on this it would be much appreciated!

Thanks in advance.


Tashengurt 2nd Dec 2014 12:49

Been a long time since I failed
OASC but agreed; the maths isn't hard. Ignoring the loudest ticking clocks on the world is!

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ChristianR354 2nd Dec 2014 16:51

3rd time lucky?
Recently sat the flying aptitude tests for the second time and unfortunately didn't pass for Pilot (scored 111). I improved on my previous score but I'm still a fair old whack from a competitive score.

What are the chances (if any) of improving my score 3rd time round next year? Has it been done before? Has anybody ever been in this predicament?

Having chatted with friends about the issue I've had a mix bag of suggestions but only one friend has had experience with the FATs.

Any advice or previous experiences would be great!

(Be gentle :ok: )



SPQR92 10th Dec 2014 15:55

Hi Chris,

Yes, it's possible I'd say.

I'm a greedy :mad: and have done the aptitude tests three times; in 2010, 2012 and 2014 (about a month ago).

My scores were 123, 118 (with a failed CLAN therefore an overall fail) and then 139 most recently.

When I first took them in 2010 I was very naive and basically turned up with no practice whatsoever (literally nil) and gave it my best shot; I even remember being a bit 'meh' when I was told I had passed. Therefore, when I retook them in 2012 I adopted the same attitude and got 118 and failed the CLAN test (the one with the coloured diamonds and mental arithmetic).

So when my third bite of the cherry came around, I was more than determined to score well. I practiced mental arithmetic like a mad-man. There are mobile apps which test you and I did them whenever I had a spare moment. I rehearsed SDT calculations and played video games as much as possible to improve my coordination.

This took about 3 months and it produced a score of 139, which obviously I was delighted with. You could argue I'm not a natural at aptitude but who cares? I got a competitive pass and I know I can do it (just) without practice from the 2010 test.

Good luck, keep trying!

MaverickPrime 10th Dec 2014 17:43

OASC for WSOp applicants
Hello there,

I've been doing some research on the recruitment process for aircrew positions in the RAF.

As far as I understand it, this is a summary of the current the process:

-Apply online
-P2 Presentation
-Filter Interview

If successful:
-OASC part 1; FATs and Review (2 days)

If successful:
-OASC part 2; Leaderless, Command & Planning Exercises, Medical and Fitness (3 days)
-Offer of service

I'm aware that WSOp applicants do not necessarily have to score as high as Pilots, ABM etc in OASC part 1. However, considering WSOp is a Non Commissioned role, will they require the same standards in part 2 as those applying for Commissioned role?

Don't get me wrong, I understand that any aircrew position in the RAF will require hard work and best efforts 100% of the time, I'm not looking for the 'lazy mans' route to aircrew in the RAF, I'm genuinely interested in how they assess you for NCA at OASC.

All comments and criticisms welcome!

camelspyyder 10th Dec 2014 20:59

Please apply now.

No-one else seems to be interested.

The halo effect of Helicopter crewmen on TV from action-packed Afghanistan is fading fast, and not enough applicants appear to be giving it a go. There are vacancies now for Rotary, Truckie fleet and ISTAR.

Get your papers in.

NDW 12th Dec 2014 18:51


I'm not sure if you still have to do a AST at your AFCO a before you can attend OASC a (of course on passing the AST).

Anyone able to confirm or enlighten?

Best regards,


DSAT Man 17th Feb 2015 09:12

No AST required. You go straight through to aptitude tests at the OASC.

downsizer 17th Feb 2015 19:16

As others have said, get your WSOp apps in, desperate for them now:ok:

4LongHaul 20th Mar 2015 16:10

Out Of Breath...
Hi all,

Newly registered, but have been perusing this forum for a good while since before joining the RAF. Just had a quick look at the most recent page of this thread and saw the familiar "Asthma" question had reared its head once more. I’d like to make some points, as I have a little experience with this. It’s a bit long but I feel that there is STILL somehow a bit of ambiguity around this subject!

As Levelling the Land points out, if you have had asthma that is it for you as far as applying to be RAF aircrew goes. None of this "I haven't had an attack since I was aged twelve" or "it was child-hood asthma and I barely needed the inhalers"; if you HAD, it that's IT. If the RAF see any mention of asthma on your history, they WILL NOT accept you. They simply don’t need to; since 1990 we have shrunk from approx. 90,000 to 30,000 and the UK population has increased from 58m to 64m. There is no shortage of medically fit aircrew applicants.


If there are mentions on your medical record of you being prescribed inhalers or mentions of asthma that you simply didn't have, that's where you start getting a little wiggle room.

Story time! Aged 5, I had a chest infection for which I was prescribed the usual blue and brown inhalers. In addition to this, as was the fashion of the day, "asthma" was put down on my records as a potential contributor. So, every few months my prescription for the inhalers was repeated, which I obediently took from my kind GP and then simply put it in a drawer and forgot about it; I managed to rack up a fairly impressive collection of unused inhalers. Naturally, this wasn’t a problem until I finally came to apply to the RAF and was told that due to my “asthma” I couldn’t join. Obviously, I was mortified and did what any red-blooded teenager would do and sought for ways around it! Talking to my parents, they honestly couldn’t recall any asthma like symptoms during my childhood; they’d only followed the GP’s directions and taken the prescription without realising the consequences down the line. Upon approaching my GP for the PPRUNE approved “misdiagnosis” card, I was shot down in flames on two counts: 1. Who was I, a teenager with the ink on my A-Level certificates still wet, to challenge the diagnosis of a qualified doctor with several decades experience? 2. Her nephew had also been medically excluded from the RAF due to migraines, so it was just “one of those things” I had to live with. Not content with this, I managed to track down one of the leading thoracic consultants in the country and after several months of extensive tests and hundreds of pounds in private medical fees I had the result I’d been looking for:

- The wording in my medical history regarding the diagnosis was weak, and, coupled with my non-use of the inhalers didn’t suggest any real reasoning behind it.
- My lungs didn’t have the tell-tale scarring commonly found with past asthma sufferers
- I performed well above the national average during the lung stress tests.

On the basis of this, he was able to give the RAF medical board his opinion that I had been misdiagnosed, which was accepted. Result!

To summarise:
- If you’ve EVER had asthma, that’s it. It doesn’t matter when or if you’ve outgrown it, you CANNOT join the RAF as aircrew.
- If you’ve NEVER had asthma, but were incorrectly diagnosed or prescribed medication you can challenge it. However, the onus is on YOU to prove otherwise and you will not get any costs back, no matter the result.
- If you HAVE had/ do have asthma and you’re reading this thinking you’ll push for the misdiagnosis, STOP! 99% of the time you’ll be caught by the tests and there will be a lot of embarrassment for you and the consultant, and a lot of cash lost by you. On the 1% chance that you slip through the net by a lab mess up or other means, you have just put yourself in a position where you can endanger the lives of you, your crew, the 3-400 potential passengers down the back of your C17/Voyager and whoever else happens to be under you when you pile in. I’m all for chasing dreams, but not at the expense of others’ safety!

Apologies for the long post, but I hope this helps clear a few things up.



QA_270 31st Mar 2015 10:42

Pilot Aptitude
Anyone any knowledge of the current situation at OASC with regards to Pilot Aptitude baseline pass scores for RAF and Army respectively?


jc71292 9th May 2015 10:14

Hello All,

So this is my first post on the pprune forums. I have a few questions if someone could help me with.

I haven't applied for the RAF yet as I'm currently working on my fitness, maths and preparing for the interview.

I don't know anyone else's view on this, but I would feel much more confident turning up to the interview feeling like I'm ready for everything as opposed to only being ready for the interview.

The issue I have is that I'm now 22 and my time to get in as a pilot is running out. I know how important it is to exceed during all parts of the application process and would like to know what you guys would suggest me doing? I know it seams a bit odd to ask such questions, but I don't have anyone else to turn up to :)

My main question is ("I know you can't help me directly with this question, but would like to know if you guys think this would be an issue")
I was born with a deformity on my right hand, nothing major and all it is is that the fingers is about half a centimetre different from my left hand; Also the index is about 1 cm different "slightly bigger difference".

I have all the movements on the fingers and they work perfectly fine and because of that I wanted to come on here and see what you guys think of it?

I contact the careers office and they told me that they can't see that being an issue as I have all the movements on my fingers and as long as I could fire a gun it should be fine. (I used to be in the air cadets and used to do flying and shooting just fine.)
He then told me to go see my GP and ask him to write me a supporting letter saying that I have all the movements on my fingers, take pictures of my hand "back and front" and send a letter to Cranwell medical team to see what they would say about it.

Despite me know that this deformity doesn't affect my capability to perform any tasks what do you guys think the outcome would be?

I will hopefully be sending this letter to cranwell medical team next week.

Also could you guys tell me roughly what the aptitude test mark for pilots are now? it used to be 112 for pass and 140 ish for it to be competitive "read on previous posts".

Also what should I focus on studying ready for the tests? Please list them :)

Lastly. do you think I should apply now or at a later stage when I feel confident with my level of knowledge? Can someone tell me what the interview is like and what I should prepare for it?

What fitness tests are there? I have read that they are:

2.4km in under?
Bleep test of at least 9.10
press ups 20
sit ups 35

are there correct?

Also any other tips would be appreciated and sorry for asking such question as I'm sure they have been answered thousands of times.


downsizer 9th May 2015 11:24

Just apply. When you do, you'll fill out MSLs (Medical Supplement Leaflets) which will go to the medical experts who will make the decision. Anything anyone else tells you is irrelevant.

Pontius Navigator 9th May 2015 15:16

I don't know anyone else's view on this, but I would feel much more confident turning up to the interview feeling like I'm ready for everything as opposed to only being ready for the interview.

The issue I have is that I'm now 22 and my time to get in as a pilot is running out. I know how important it is to exceed during all parts of the application process and would like to know what you guys would suggest me doing?
Fitness is important but so is evidence of your belief in a career in the RAF.

You are 22, "what have you done to foster your interest in a career in the RAF?"

If you are a university graduate that can explain your late application, if not what have you been doing?

You are only a few miles from two major front line stations, have you organised visits there?

As you imply you are unfit, what was the reason that only now are you embarking on a fitness regime?

These are questions you need to prepare for.

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