How feasible/accessible is a flying tour transfer for an infantry officer?

Discussion in 'Join the Army - Regular Officer Recruiting' started by charlie91, Feb 15, 2013.

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  1. Just read this on the MOD website "Officer Assignment from another Regiment or Corps: There is also the opportunity for officers from any regiment or corps to volunteer for a tour with the AAC. You must have completed two years of commissioned service and be on the Army Pilots Course by the age of 30. Officers may apply for a transfer into the AAC during their flying tour. Those officers who do not wish to apply or are not accepted for transfer will return to their parent unit or corps."
    I wondered if anyone could shed some light on true accessibility/feasibility of one getting a flying tour transfer at some point. Assuming that medical and aptitude tests are successful of course. (I understand it is probably considerably easier if your grandmother is the head of the armed forces!)
  2. AFAIK the three things that a unit cannot stop you volunteering for ar SF selection, pilot training and language courses. However, they can make it bloody difficult for you. Traditionally the RAC and RA send the most officers to the AAC, although Inf isn't unheard of. If you haven't joined yet then by the time it is an appropriate time to volunteer there probably won't be a war on so you'd stand a chance. It may knacker your career though, if you miss out on the traditional 2ic, support weapons and RHQ slots.
  3. Ah okay thank you! May I ask what you mean by..
    e.g. In which way would this affect my career negatively?
  4. If you swan off for 2.5 years (and it will be seen as a swan by many) you will likely (but not always) be forgotten about a little. You may have to come back to Bn at the point you left off, and having not been at RD for some time others will have got more "face time" and be more likely to get Adjt or Ops slots. This will then stand them in better stead when it comes to the beige list (selection for promotion to major). If you want to do 5 years and have a good time then a couple of years as a Platoon Commander then a couple of years flying would be great. If you are totally career oriented then staying at RD will see you better off. This is a most likely scenario, not a guarantee though.
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  5. Really appreciate the info! You cant find this on the MOD website!! Will definitely take this into account, Cheers.
  6. Not sure of Infantry, but I know of 2 RA Capts & 1 R SIGNALS Capt who've done an AAC tour in the past few years - the R SIGNALS Capt, I believe, ended up transferring to AAC.
  7. I know a few people who have done this in the last 10-15 years or so. As intimated above, there are some serious health warnings that come with this. Firstly, while (in theory) your regiment cannot stop you from going, in reality they can (and in one close friend's case, did). While at regimental duty, you belong to that regiment and if they need you to fill their officer manning plot, they'll make it difficult or impossible to go, particularly if there are operational tours or training years on going. The chap I know who this happened to had already passed flying grading when his regiment told him that he would not be released to start the course before he had hit the age limit. Having said that, I know a couple of other officers who have done flying tour or transferred to AAC successfully.

    In career terms, yes it may slow you down a bit, particularly if you go Apache and spend 13 months on what is effectively a training course as a junior Capt. However, given that there are a number of senior officers wearing Army Pilot Wings (and one with SF wings as well), clearly a flying tour does not have to be a career killer and can actually improve your prospects by giving you another string to your bow (so to speak).

    The other thing to think about is that if you go through Sandhurst, your young officers course and a couple of years at regimental duty (perhaps even an operational tour) and then go flying, you will be effectively stepping back to training with brand new 2Lts on the pilots course and then doing exactly the same job as them for the next couple of years, despite being two or three years senior to them. Therefore your performance reports are likely to reflect that you are effectively doing the job of a more junior officer.

    As to which arms and services do flying tours: for officers it tends to be those who have a flexible enough junior officer career structure to release a few high grade junior Capts and which (by virtue of role) have provided their officers with skills and experience desirable to the AAC.

    The infantry tends to require its young officers to follow a fairly strict career profile, including rifle Pl Comd then Ph1 Trg Pl Comd then Sp Wpns Pl Comd, etc. which doesn't leave much opportunity for flexibility and any who do veer from this path tend to be steered towards SF.

    As stated, the RAC have traditionally provided a good proportion of transferees, certainly it used to be that armoured/manoeuvre, combat arms experience was of most value to the AAC. I'm not sure if this is still the case or not.

    RA officers (post FOO) can clearly also add value, in the experience they will have of synchronising fires, etc. I suspect the difficulty is that by the time they have done their FOO tour, most will be close to the age limit for starting the pilots course; I believe also that a FOO tour is pretty much vital to an RA officers career, so I suspect there isn't much capacity to chin it off in favour of a flying tour (unless they plan to transfer completely).

    REME, have traditionally provided a few pilots, although it seems to provide more NCO pilots than officers. Likewise there were always a smattering from the other corps, although I would suggest that Inf, RAC and RA junior officers would tend to bring most in the way of military experience useful to the AAC.

    Weigh up the options, but (in my view) definitely worth having a crack at. If you can, consider becoming an AAC potential officer and so doing flying aptitude tests, medicals and flying grading prior to Sandhurst.

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  8. How senior? There's a heavily abbreviated pilots course for very senior officers that results in a brevet.

    Also, I think the sensible thing to do is regard success on the APC as a one-way ticket - the expectation is slowly becoming that the AAC will take officers after an E3 'apprenticeship'.

    Who'd want to go back as a forgotten and disadvantaged senior capt to some shonk CS Regt or line inf Bn anyway? ;-)
  9. Really invaluable info+advice, thank you for taking the time to reply! I'm thinking that taking the AAC aptitude test hopefully before SH, is a good bet to aid the decision of which path to take.
    Also considering putting RE as one of my choices as well as Inf and was wondering how strict their career profiles are?
  10. Not sure about RE junior officer career profile, although my guess would be that they are reasonably flexible and because it is a large-ish corps, in theory they would be more able to lose you for a bit while you go and learn to fly. My advice would be that when you go to see these regiments/corps you should sound them out about it. Clearly do not give them the impression that you are just looking for a springboard into flying, but there is no harm in saying that this might be something you would be interested in at the right time and whether it was something that they think might be possible without damaging your career (state it in terms that you would wish to go for a tour but come back to the regiment or corps after that).
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  11. You will also find that his Royal Highness, Lord of All Heaven and Earth , General, Sir, Lord etc etc Richard Dannatt (former CGS) was also a pilot. I know this because he came to visit us on exercise and took the controls prior to landing which was somewhat bumpy.
  12. Received and understood! Much appreciated!
  13. There's a reason for that. His piloting was based on 9.5 hrs instruction and some poor sod having to auth him for 20 mins of day circuits in a gazelle.