Son wants to be an officer in the AAC

#1
Hi all, i'm after a bit of help in prodding my son in the right direction. He has expressed an interest in becoming an officer and flying helicopters.
I'm an old RE fullscrew so when it comes to quals he will need, my knowldege is not upto speed.
He also applied to Wellbeck college but had a phonecall yesterday telling him it was full for this years intake. Also depending on the board results I may be posted during his year in sixth form.
My wife and I are obviously trying to get him to choose the right options for sixth form but I'm unsure as to what he needs or would be an advantage to have. He's done his gcse in maths and got a B, so would it be worth him doing the AS maths or A level maths. I ask as he hated maths but sometimes that can be more down to the teacher rather than the subject.
He's now awaiting the other subjects but seems confident enough.
What other subjects should he choose or does it not matter and would Wellbeck point him in the right direction?
Is their anything else he needs to keep up with, other than his phys as he's got the build of a racing snake and he's a fit as a butchers dog.
All helpful answers would be greatly appreciated.
HS
 
#2
Hi all, i'm after a bit of help in prodding my son in the right direction. He has expressed an interest in becoming an officer and flying helicopters.
I'm an old RE fullscrew so when it comes to quals he will need, my knowldege is not upto speed.
He also applied to Wellbeck college but had a phonecall yesterday telling him it was full for this years intake. Also depending on the board results I may be posted during his year in sixth form.
My wife and I are obviously trying to get him to choose the right options for sixth form but I'm unsure as to what he needs or would be an advantage to have. He's done his gcse in maths and got a B, so would it be worth him doing the AS maths or A level maths. I ask as he hated maths but sometimes that can be more down to the teacher rather than the subject.
He's now awaiting the other subjects but seems confident enough.
What other subjects should he choose or does it not matter and would Wellbeck point him in the right direction?
Is their anything else he needs to keep up with, other than his phys as he's got the build of a racing snake and he's a fit as a butchers dog.
All helpful answers would be greatly appreciated.
HS
Is this one for IRON, who is a font of knowledge on these subjects?
 
#3
Anyone who can help me advise my lad mate, cheers.
 
#4
Hi, I went to Welbeck an studied the (compulsory) physics, maths, and general studies and also, by choice, electronics and IT.

That was 2001 to 2003 so things may have changed a fair bit since, however, Welbeck have always been insistent on a technical corps and AAC may not be on the approved list!

It is very, very, rare that Welbexians go to a corps other than those that are in the list. Now it's gone tri-service that could also have changed I guess.

I found Welbeck did get the best out of me, however as a young lad wanting to get away from things found the whole process (3 years in cadets, two at Welbeck, and then a poss 4 years at RMCS Shriv) a bit long and dropped out after being told I couldn't bin Uni and get straight to RMAS.... in hindsight, being paid to go to Uni with a confirmed job afterwards... Bad move.

Yes I would recommend it if you can stick the length of time, although would seek assurances about the AAC beforehand.

Furthermore, the AAC will be after someone who is an officer first and pilot/whatever second.

What am I doing now? Trying to get back in to the system to RMAS then on to the AAC as a pilot!

Drop me a line if you need any more info.

Cheers,
Nick
 
#5
Welbeck also used to turn out the odd Gunner. The website offers careerr paths in RE R Signals, RLC and REME as well as engineering parths in RN and RAF.

If he wants to fly helicopters, rather than progress in the AAC career structure then I think you can do that as an attachment from another capbadge. I have had a little contact with Welbeck and it seems a very good 6th Form institution.
 
#6
Broardly speaking the AAC require the same academic qualifications oof their officers as the rest of the Army (less the REME who insist on their officers having an engineering degree or similar). This means, in simple terms, that he needs 5 GCSEs (graded A-C) and 2 A Levels (graded A-E). (I say in simple terms only because that was what it used to be, but I know that they now score it slightly differently, I think based on UCAS points).

Unfortunately, getting the minimum academic requirement to be an officer is simply not going to be enough (for the AAC or indeed any other regiment or corps). The AAC is among the most competitive parts of the army and really can (and do) take their pick of some of the very best Officer Cadets at Sandhurst. I'd suggest that if your boy wants to improve his chances, he needs at least 3 good A levels and probably a decent degree. I'd also recommend that he asks to go on a Potential Officer visit as soon as he is old enough.

In terms of A level and degree subjects, its a bit of a tricky one. While I would recommend that he does things that he is good at, I would also suggest that he steers towards the more traditional subjects (an A Level in The History of Man Utd or The Simpsons is not going to be taken seriously). Maths and/or engineering are always going to be useful to a potential pilot or other reletively technical officer (in as much as degrees can be once in the army). While a degree is not technically a requirement, I certainly don't know any direct entry AAC officers who don't have one.

The standard of A levels and degree required (beyond the basic entry standard) to give you a good shot at the AAC is a bit difficult to discern, because there are so many other factors; however given that competition for a slot is going to be hard, he should probably be looking at at least 3x A-Ds at A Level and a 2-2 or better at university (again in a serious subject).

After that, it is all down to him and what he is like as a person. If you are still serving, approach a junior officer (who you know and generally respect) and ask him to have a chat with your son. Any current Lt/2Lt should be able to let him know what the recruiting and selection process and the commissioning course are like.
 
#7
Son is currently at Welbeck and can confirm that it is geared to RE, REME, R Sigs. V difficult to chop and change. Suggest getting quals as a Rupert with a techie/maths bias. Then go through normal Uni route. For Chopper jockey, Welbeck a no no.
 
#8
Whilst I can't comment on educational requirements, I can give some advice. If your son fails to gain a commission into the AAC he can always apply later in his career from another Regt/Corps (not too late as there are age limits).

Some of the stronger officer pilot candidates tend to have a bit of Army experience under their belts, DE often find the course more difficult for a variety of reasons.

Placing a post in the Aviation forum may gain a few leads to follow.
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#9
In the time coming, the smart play will be to take it in stages. It's going to be a smaller army - at this point I suggest that he should focus on getting commissioned - as others have written, he can move around afterwards. The competition's tough enough without making it unnecessarily tougher by being picky. If he's going to be an officer, then he serves to lead. Helicopters are sexy but, if he ever gets the chance to serve to lead, that'll be enough, whether it was 22 or the mobile bath and shower unit. Get to Sandhurst and do well. After that, let the cards fall where they may.
 
#10
With fewer and fewer airframes in the three fleets the Services can afford to be very picky with who they select. IIRC there is a procedure whereby AAC officer candidates can do pilot selection before RMAS.
 
#11
I'll only Comment on this bit as this is the only section I have any experience on. It is not unheard of for an individual to do A-Level Maths after getting a B at GCSE. HOWEVER do you think he worked as hard as he could have done in his maths this year. If so he will probably struggle with it at A-Level. The step up is big to AS and even more so at A2, and though he may be able to grasp it by just working through the text book AS and A2 requires he do a module in either Mechanics or Stats both of which will be completely new to him.

I did the Maths to A-level a few years ago so feel free to message me if you have any questions

Thatch
I got a B in GCSE Maths and went on to do it at A Level, so far from impossible.

You can (or at least could) do your flying aptitude test, medical and flying grading prior to going to Sandhurst, once you have passed the AOSB and been sponsored by the AAC (I know quite a few people who did just that). This doesn't mean that you rule yourself out for the AAC if you have not done those things by the time you go to Sandhurst.

In terms of going to another regiment and then going to do a flying tour and possibly transfering to the AAC; it can be done but most (graduates, at least) will not have 'time' to do it without career fouling themselves.

My advice would be that potential Army officers' primary motivation should always be to lead soldiers but that if they really want to join the AAC, they should try to do so from Sandhurst. If it is the AAC or nothing, they probably should not bother and join the RAF instead.
 
#12
Personally I would advise against the AAC if he wants a career as an aviator. If all he wants to do is fly, then the RAF or RN is a far better choice.
 
#13
Personally I would advise against the AAC if he wants a career as an aviator. If all he wants to do is fly, then the RAF or RN is a far better choice.
I'd agree with that to a certain extent, but the RAF are full. In fact the RAF are over-full. They have so many blokes in holds; there are no places at the front line for the few who are in the actual training pipeline to go to, and won't be for some time. They've hit the buffers with their over-manning policy, there are even officer clerks floating around.

The RN may be a better option in that respect, especially if they actually do get the RAF's Merlins for CHF.

However, without a degree the competition is more than a little stiff for any of the Services. With a degree it isn't necessarily straightforward either. Certainly all the Army students at moment seem to have degrees.
 
#14
I was an RAF pilot 1965-73 and finally retired from civil aviation in 2005 so I'm not up to date.

I was extremely lucky because I left school at 15 and became an apprentice engineer, TA REME gunfitter and seagoing marine engineer. Along the way I collected a few part National Certificates and part Board of Trade 2nd Engineer ticket. I went for aircrew selection during the Cold War with substantial RAF recruiting - phew!

I'd guess maths and a science subject are 'a good thing'. Can't imagine why they'd want a degree but it's their train set. As you mention, physical fitness will take some of the initial stress off - running, circuit training. Also look at selection procedures: Problem solving in a group, listen to others views, implement those of value etc. Croc infested 'river' 5 guys/gals, 2 planks, 48g drum and a bit of rope to get all across (not exact but you know what I mean).
Don't know about now, but we were allowed to use own black hiking boots for exercises (Unfortunately no one told me so I was running around the Brecon Beacons in a new pair of boots )

<< the AAC will be after someone who is an officer first and pilot/whatever second >>
RAF pushed that in 1965 - we didn't really go for it :) but the Army ethos is a bit different.

<< do your flying aptitude test, medical and flying grading prior to going to Sandhurst, >>
Good point. S1 applied for UAS and was told off by Air Commodore Doc who said his eyesight wasn't good enough so why had he applied? (As I said to him, a pilot would have said 'Nice try son, sorry' instead of making a meal of it)

If it all works out, re future progression in civvy street, I have always found that ex chopper pilots have 'a good pair of hands' when flying fixed wing ('planks' to 'angry palmtree' pilots). e.g. A first officer I flew with went RAF helicopters - short tour C130 - straight onto civil B747.

Sorry can't be of more assistance GOOD LUCK!
 
#15
Don't know much about the AAC, but so far as A level maths is concerned, I feel I have some experience (having got 2 of them)

A level Maths is not hard. There is nothing which is intrinsically complicated. What there is is a lot of things which look complicated, but if boiled down to their core, are actually quite easy to get to grips with. The difficulty is that a lot of people can't get to that stage - either because they don't have what an earlier poster referred to as a 'flair' for maths, or because the teacher can't put the material across. I was lucky that my teacher was an incredibly talented man, because lacking the flair for maths, my only real option was some serious grind.

It isn't something to be scared of, and if your aspirations mean that you need it then it certainly doesn't mean that you need to look for a different path. But just be warned that if it doesn't come naturally, then you will have to do it the hard way.


Do the AAC require certain A levels? Well, I've never heard of such a thing, but then I've never looked that deeply into the AAC. An acquaintance of mine who is going down that route makes far more out of the fact that you need to get some sort of flight assessment / qualification thingy before you ever get to Sandhurst.
 
#16
My AAC Pilot course was, as most were a real mishmash of ranks and regts. However, there were only 3 AAC badged Lt's and 3 AAC Corporals. All the other officers and ranks had applied for pilot training from within their parent regts.
The advice that I give to my children is to get the best broad based education as possible at school and University and then see what the options are. Probably best not to narrow ones options too early on as choices and attitudes and desires change over time. Good luck
 
#17
Hi all, i'm after a bit of help in prodding my son in the right direction. He has expressed an interest in becoming an officer and flying helicopters.
I'm an old RE fullscrew so when it comes to quals he will need, my knowldege is not upto speed.
He also applied to Wellbeck college but had a phonecall yesterday telling him it was full for this years intake. Also depending on the board results I may be posted during his year in sixth form.
My wife and I are obviously trying to get him to choose the right options for sixth form but I'm unsure as to what he needs or would be an advantage to have. He's done his gcse in maths and got a B, so would it be worth him doing the AS maths or A level maths. I ask as he hated maths but sometimes that can be more down to the teacher rather than the subject.
He's now awaiting the other subjects but seems confident enough.
What other subjects should he choose or does it not matter and would Wellbeck point him in the right direction?
Is their anything else he needs to keep up with, other than his phys as he's got the build of a racing snake and he's a fit as a butchers dog.
All helpful answers would be greatly appreciated.
HS
If he goes to Welbeck I'm 99% sure he has to join certain cap badges if which AAC isn't one as Welbeck has a 'techical' emphasis. I may well be confusion this with DTUS (!!)

AAC wise - go to 6th form, get some good grades. He should chose subjects he will enjoy and therefore do well at. The AAC does not demand maths or physics! I for one did PE and geography..... Hardly Einstein subjects.

If he wants to do maths, crack on but I got at A at GCSE and found AS Level to be a nightmare and swiftly changed to something else. Might be worth him enquiring what modules his school/college does for AS/A level maths.

I haven't read the rest of the replies but I will check regarding Welbeck an COA.

Edit: Also don't gun straight for non-grad entry. A degree is useful (only criteria is it needs to be a degree - not a brainy maths or science one). As someone said, he can do aptitude, medical and grading before RMAS and I highly recommend this. Means he can enjoy his leave! And it's all stress free. Also make sure he has visited other cap badges and has second and third option.

I am AAC, grad, direct entry. Went through RMAS aged 24. Did grading before RMAS. Any Q's please feel free to PM also plenty of knowledge on the Aviation bit of ARRSE.
 
#18
AAC is not one of the DSFC capbadges. RE, RSignals, REME and RLC.

He could go REME as an officer, head down the aviation stream and then go for pilot... just a thought. Or any of the others.

I don't really think AAC non-pilot officer would be a nice place to be if you were not quite pilot matierial.

But seeing as DSFC is full that is a non-starter.

What about a technical based 6th form school? There is one (at least) in Nottingham and one in Ripon that are specialsed to technical and engineering type subjects.
 
#19
Another thing to consider outside of the above advice is: how is his eyesight? Unless its pretty much 20:20 then he is unlikely to get through selection. I failed on this and I don't wear glasses, but I'm slightly short sighted. Limit, if memory serves me right, is a prescription of +/-0.75. (suprisingly its not the first thing they test, so after various sizing up on pilot seats, co-ord tests etc I got binned for something that took 1 minute to assess!)
 
#20
Send him to the opticians. You don't have to be 6:6 in the AAC, just correctable to (the limits I can't recall but could probably get for you)
 

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