NCO Pilots?

#1
HI a friend of mine is planning on joining the AAC. So i had a look at the information on the website, just out of intrest.
It clearly says that once you have been recomnded for corpral you can apply to go pilot.
Now being a simple matloet i was wondering is there NCO pilots in the army or do they take your sense of humour away and give you a commision?
 
#2
Stay as a NCO. In fact, on completion of conversion to type, one gets promoted to Sgt if not already one.

We are the only service that has NCO pilots now. Booties did away with it a few years ago (and they regret it).
 
#3
Yes, there really is no need to commission drivers...(OHP to Stage 3, check...kevlar on, check...)
 
#6
Didn´t some sort of report say it was a really good (and cheap) way of getting good pilots?

The RAF and FAA are just a bit snobby methinks and try to make out that you need to be an Officer to fly.

The RAF had NCO pilots duing the War, and in the Battle of Britain.
 
#7
Booties used to use the same route as the AAC. Cpl pilots etc. But once the RN got wind that they wouldn't mind a piece of 847sqn, all the current bootie NCO pilots were given a choice. Commission or feck off. Some did, others didn't. Their loss to be honest as a bootie who wants to go pilot now, needs to be an occifer.

In the AAC, we are still 'thankful they are allowed to become pilots as mere NCOs and should feel privileged as some of them dont even have GCSEs'*. :roll:





* quote from senior blimp at DAAvn when asked what the Corps should do to prevent pilots leaving; particularly SNCOs.
 
#8
The decision to commission drivers in the RAF was made in the 50's. It wasn't through snobbery, but a belief that an NCO wouldn't have the education and aptitude to drive the projected new and exciting aircraft that were coming into service. So snobbery then.

If you can find issues of Airclues going back to the 50's ,i.e back in the days of the Imperial British Airpower Club, plenty of NCO jet drivers in there. The one thing I'm not sure of , was if commisioning was voluntary for existing NCO aircrew. I can certainly remember as a very young spacey in the 80's being driven at 6 AEF by a 'master pilot' , i.e a WOII Pilot. I certainly saw an old (Polish I think)WOII Pilot on one annual camp.

Wasn't there some talk recently of brining back NCO pilots in the light blue?
 
#9
I dont think it was soley based on the fact of new hi tech aircraft that withdrew NCO pilots in the RAF. It was more down to the Nuke issue. An officer should be expected to make the decision (and was thought the right one) as opposed to enlisted filth with a regional accent. The RAF NCO pilots were a bit of a throwback from the war when numbers were short and seats needed to be filled. Post war, the RAF went back to wanting to be a small professional outfit which meant the career profile of an NCO pilot was deemed to be irrelevant thus meaning they could opt to be selective on who they chose. Ie, highly educated graduates.

Although a commission doesn't always equate to aptitude or intelligence as has been proven by some of the retards I've come across in all three services.

Tis true. There are moves afoot to reinstate NCO pilots in the RAF. Most think it would be a good idea especially in the ME and rotary world.

We have exchange postings to the RN and RAF but it is only open to officers. The RAF at this time would feel uncomfortable having a SNCO on exchange and being able to actually fly and command one of their aircraft!
 
#10
Doesn't pay have something to to do with the RAF officer status as well? Wouldn't people go to work for civdiv if they weren't getting officer pay to fly?
 
#12
littlenickoutthere said:
i wasnt aware the booties ever had pilots, just thought theyd use the fleet air arm for support?
Hence the Commando Helicopter Force, Sea King Mk 4, 4+, 6 and Lynx Mk 7.

845,6,7,and 8 Naval Air Squadrons.

The FAA couldn't give a toss what goes on on land :roll:
 
#13
stacker1 said:
Doesn't pay have something to to do with the RAF officer status as well? Wouldn't people go to work for civdiv if they weren't getting officer pay to fly?
If I was on an officers wage, I wouldnt get out of bed in the morning. :roll:

The same can be said for an NCO to be honest. I dont think that is the issue.
 
#14
polko said:
Flash - Three stripes on wings, not after CTT. Don't know how long that's been the case.
Couldnt remember if it was the case. Promotion on wings or CTT. I think its only been in for a few years. Having said that, we have so few NCOs going through nowadays, its difficult to know. :roll:
 
#15
IMO one of the distinctions is that RAF pilots were not simply seen as "producers" [i.e. just "drivers, airframe"]. They were seen as part of a career structure that, for want of a better phrase, "dribbled down the pyramid" from CAS.

With the exception of the Engineers, the majority of Air Rank appointments were [and still are] for the winged "Master Race" ... and that structure requires to be fed from further down the pyramid [ie Stn Cdr, Sqn Cdr and Flt Cdr appointments]. If the pyramid is to be fed sensibly, and selection for the next rank made from a sufficiently large pool, you end up needing a large number of JO aircrew at the bottom.

As an example, my former (Ground) Branch had a pyramid comprising [in round numbers]:
1 air cdre
5 gp capt
28 wg cdr
150-ish sqn ldr
... and 500-ish JOs who fed the Branch career pyramid ...
... and then a further 500-odd SNCOs doing the same day-to-day tasks as the JOs, but without the managerial and executive responsibilities.

However, the bigger [and much higher] aircrew pyramid demands an even bigger base. If the RAF still had SNCO pilots, the selection pool for senior officer appointments risks being too small to allow [1] the best to climb the ladder, and the less-able to be left where they are :wink:

And ... as others have commented, there are the "Pay and Conditions" aspects to be considered 8)
 
#16
But surely the quality of JOs to feed that pyramid would still be the same if you had SNCO pilots? As you know, the vast majority of RAF pilots just want to fly and couldnt give a stuff about becoming the next CAS (as with the AAC. Most of our officers would be happy to stay flying if they could and aren't bothered about becoming CGS despite what they say in the interviews).

RAF spec aircrew are akin to SNCO pilots in the AAC. Except they cost a bit more. ;)

Most RAF pilots I speak to would be more than happy to have NCO pilots in the RAF. In fact, quite a few would love to be one but most would never have the ability. ;)
 
#17
The-Lord-Flasheart said:
But surely the quality of JOs to feed that pyramid would still be the same if you had SNCO pilots? As you know, the vast majority of RAF pilots just want to fly and couldnt give a stuff about becoming the next CAS (as with the AAC. Most of our officers would be happy to stay flying if they could and aren't bothered about becoming CGS despite what they say in the interviews).

RAF spec aircrew are akin to SNCO pilots in the AAC. Except they cost a bit more. ;)

Most RAF pilots I speak to would be more than happy to have NCO pilots in the RAF. In fact, quite a few would love to be one but most would never have the ability. ;)
Your first sentence ... I'm not talking about quality, simply having enough people to make a reasonable selection FROM, otherwise you risk a "Buggins Turn" situation. If you "replace" JOs with SNCOs, then the selection pool is much smaller and you risk "having" to promote people [to cover wastage, exits, promotions etc.] who aren't necessarily the best [or even really suitable] material "but the posts have to be filled". I could elaborate on that at length, but its a rather delicate area ... and I have some inside knowledge of what can [and has] happen[ed].

Howevvvvvvvver ... you're right, a large slab of RAF pilots don't want the additional responsibilities of being a real RAF officer. They just want to fly aeroplanes. Sadly, the RAF in its wisdom has commissioned these people [to feed the bottom of the numbers pyramid]. However, the good news is that when they've never been promoted for several years [thanks be to God] they turn into Specialist Aircrew and just carry on driving [as flt lts] until they fall off the end of the belt. The faintly decent ones will make sqn ldr [in non-executive establishment posts] but some [like one of my acquaintance over several decades] just wear the uniform badly, perform badly [if at all] as officers ... but drive big aeroplanes quite well. :roll:
 

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#19
blue_sophist said:
The-Lord-Flasheart said:
But surely the quality of JOs to feed that pyramid would still be the same if you had SNCO pilots? As you know, the vast majority of RAF pilots just want to fly and couldnt give a stuff about becoming the next CAS (as with the AAC. Most of our officers would be happy to stay flying if they could and aren't bothered about becoming CGS despite what they say in the interviews).

RAF spec aircrew are akin to SNCO pilots in the AAC. Except they cost a bit more. ;)

Most RAF pilots I speak to would be more than happy to have NCO pilots in the RAF. In fact, quite a few would love to be one but most would never have the ability. ;)
Your first sentence ... I'm not talking about quality, simply having enough people to make a reasonable selection FROM, otherwise you risk a "Buggins Turn" situation. If you "replace" JOs with SNCOs, then the selection pool is much smaller and you risk "having" to promote people [to cover wastage, exits, promotions etc.] who aren't necessarily the best [or even really suitable] material "but the posts have to be filled". I could elaborate on that at length, but its a rather delicate area ... and I have some inside knowledge of what can [and has] happen[ed].

Howevvvvvvvver ... you're right, a large slab of RAF pilots don't want the additional responsibilities of being a real RAF officer. They just want to fly aeroplanes. Sadly, the RAF in its wisdom has commissioned these people [to feed the bottom of the numbers pyramid]. However, the good news is that when they've never been promoted for several years [thanks be to God] they turn into Specialist Aircrew and just carry on driving [as flt lts] until they fall off the end of the belt. The faintly decent ones will make sqn ldr [in non-executive establishment posts] but some [like one of my acquaintance over several decades] just wear the uniform badly, perform badly [if at all] as officers ... but drive big aeroplanes quite well. :roll:
Gents,

As someone who has driven nothing more agile as a AFV 432 may I be allowed to bring a comment or two to this argument?

B-S, I think your idea of having a large pool of JOs to ensure that the best go through is a bit spurious.

My reasons. There can be a pool of JOs who have been through interview board, Cranwell etc that a JO does (as well as learning to point the thing in the right direction).

Why not have a pool of pilots, some commissioned some not? The skills used to fly the craft will be the same and the end result will be the same. What you will have is a larger pool of pilots with experience at differing levels; NCO pilots will be the ones who love flying and don't want to go down the 'career' route. You will also have a cohort of pilots who see flying as their life but want to take this further as lead the future of the RAF.

Also, some of those pilots who came through the NCO route could (and probably would) turn out to be good leaders and be commissioned thus enhancing the 'pool' of available talent.

In my very humble view, I feel that the RAF could bite the bullet and realise that competent NCOs can do the job, as has been done previously by very brave men.
 
#20
The-Lord-Flasheart said:
Most of our officers would be happy to stay flying
But thankfully, for flight safety figures........they don't :D
 
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