AAC Application - Some Advice

Hi there ladies & gents,

I have been looking around the Forum for a while on selection procedures for officer, and I am particularly interested in a career in the AAC. I am looking now to join the Army as a pilot and I have a few questions. I apologise if these questions have been asked before, I have tried my best with the search function.

Firstly, a bit about me...excuse me if I come across as an arrogant ****** here – I’m just trying to be as clear as possible with the position I find myself in. I think I know the answer to most of these questions but I just want to confirm a few things before I turn up to an AFCO and look like an idiot.

I started out in the QOY in 2008 training on the Scimitar before leaving to go to university where I am currently in my second year. I had high hopes of becoming a military pilot. I was successful in an RAF application to join a UAS where I am currently spending every possible bit of spare time I have flying. I was fairly set on joining the RAF but with the current situation OASC are currently taking 0 aircrew candidates this year for the RAF and I really do miss the Army so I’ve decided to apply.

Joining as an Officer

Firstly, are there actually any places at the moment. Gen I have would suggest that there is no let up in the AAC recruitment at the moment and it all seems to be carrying on as normal?

I understand that as I will be applying for pilot I will be given 3 options for the regiments I would prefer to join. I am also under the impression that I can attend flying grading BEFORE going to Sandhurst at which point I will have a clearer indication of what role I may have in the service following a commission?

Is there any chance that following an offer of pilot from the AAC I may not get that after completing Sandhurst and am given to a unit elsewhere (perhaps one I didn’t have as either my second or even third option).

Is there anywhere I can find out what grading involves in detail? I will have done around 100 hours on the Grob Tutor by the time I leave my Squadron next year but from what I read that isn’t really going to help me as it’s all about “improvement”?

I understand Grading takes place once I have attended and hopefully passed AOSB? Somewhere in the middle I assume there is a visit to OASC for medical and the fun that is the aptitude test?

Thanks for any advice or help in advance

Hi Minicrab,

I'll try to answer some of your queries, based on my experience. I completed flying grading in september, and I'm starting Sandhurst in May.

1. The AAC is still recruiting, according to the recruitment officer the typical number is 3-4 Sandhurst graduates per intake.

2. You will get 3 choices of arm whilst at Sandhurst, however there is NO guarantee that you will be accepted to any of these!

3. it is possible (and adviseable) to attend flying grading before Sandhurst. If you do grading whilst at Sandhurst, you will have to complete it during the first recess, when all your mates are out on the p1ss and generally living the dream!
The trick is to get into the AAC pipeline early. You can only attend the medical and aptitude tests after you have completed the AOSB briefing. If you pass these, you will be invited to attend a PO visit at Middle Wallop. If they like the look of you, you may be offered a chance to attend flying grading before you start Sandhurst, providing they have any slots available.

4. The flying grading course is designed to assess your ability to learn in a flying environment. There is a set syllabus, but it is partially subjective, so the more flying experience you have, the harder you'll be pushed.
No disrespect intended, but the sort of flying on the course is potentially very different to what you've experienced before. I went into the course with some flying hours under my belt (albeit not as many as you have!) and still found it extremely challenging.

There have been people with PPLs who have failed the course, and people who have never sat in a cockpit before who have passed, so I guess prior experience can only get you so far.
(Out of my flying grading course, I was the only person out of 8 who had any previous flying experience, and 7 out of the 8 passed)

I hope this helps, good luck with your application.

I commission into the Air Corps in April and would would echo what tbc has just said. It's important to reiterate the importance of you turning up at Sandhurst wanting to join the Army and not just wanting to be a pilot as the chances of getting turned down are still significant for several reasons: I passed grading before coming so had one other choice when I went forward to Regimental Selection Board at the end of the Intermediate term whilst others had completed grading in the recess and as a result had two other choices up until that point. Its definitely worth completing it before arriving as you will have no leave and will not get to complete any Adventurous Training if you don't (mine was in rainy Wales though so arguably no loss there). Of the 9 at my grading, 6 passed and went to Sandhurst in my intake. Of those 6, 3 of us made it to the RSB without getting back termed, kicked out or 'Lucknowed' for injury. In total there were 15 who made it the RSB and they offered 7 of us a place and I'm told they have similar numbers for the next two terms. Those who were not offered a place will be going to other Regiments or as Ground Crew Officers in the AAC so its by no means a shoe in even if you pass grading.

In terms of the application process, like tbc said, pass AOSB, pass OASC, go on visit to Middle Wallop, pass Flight Grading, go to Sandhurst, choose two choices find out at the end of your second term.

Anyway, hope that helps, any more questions feel free to PM me.

Some good advice above. Just to add or perhaps reiterate, you can join the RAF to become an pilot and incidentally become an officer in doing so. For the army it is the other way around, you join as an officer (i.e. leader of men) first and if you join the AAC, a pilot second. This is at the root of the cultural differences between the Army and the RAF.

If you want to be a pilot but do not also passionately want to be a soldier and leader you will not be suited to the AAC. The serving AAC officers here and elsewhere will advise better on the culture, however you should be aware that your terminology (giving the impression that you want to join to be a pilot rather than as an officer first and foremost) will not do you any favours if or when you apply.
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