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BATS (Bastard Air TechS) are REME Aircraft Technicians - which are basically VMs for aeroplanes. They ensure Army helicopters remain on the ground where they belong and come in three(ish) varieties.


Very Young Full Screw

He is responsible for the Uckers board, vending machines and the summer fete sponge chucking game. Invariably pasty-faced (picture Rimmer from Red Dwarf).

Very Old Stripey

He is usually the 'crew chief' and knows more about 'cabs' than Westlands - not a terribly hard feat in itself but still admirable. He couldn't be arrsed to go 'Tiffy' and enjoys his position.

Very Old SSgt Artisan

Font of all knowledge and usually to be found on the shop floor getting his hands dirty whilst f'cking off yet another career-advancing hare-brained Tiffy plan. He competes on an even playing field with Tiffies receiving more respect up and down than a Tiff of equivalent rank, but cannot normally be promoted. This anomaly spawned the phrase 'bitter old artisan' but is usually an unfair accusation.

The Greenie Artisan

He tends to avoid aircraft. His advanced age now means that avionics is becoming more and more of a mystery to him leaving him with nothing more than semi-amusing anecdotes from the eighties to pass on to his info-hungry Greenie subordinates.

Note: Any other rank/position is not mentioned due to AQMS Tiffy, ASM, Lance Jack never being present anywhere near an aircraft due to the following;

  • AQMS Tiffy - Adventure training somewhere near Bolivia.
  • ASM - Corps footy/rugger/badminton.
  • Lance Jack - Is not allowed near aircraft until his 18th birthday.

Sub Cultures

The BATS fall under three sub cultures:

Greenie (Avionics)

Wiggly amp type stuff, white mans' magic. Electricity cannot be seen so it doesn't exist. Recognition features:

  • National health specs
  • Thermos
  • Annual subscription to Commodore 64 user Monthly
  • Complexion of a pizza and the looks of the 'Milky Bar kid'


Never enter conversation with a Greenie. He will bore you to death within two minutes. Civvy equivalent - geek 'puter hacker.

RAF equivalent: Fairy.

Blackie (Engines/Airframe)

Basically anything you can actually see and hear working and looks like proper engineering. Recognition features: *Knuckles dragging on the ground

  • Overhanging forehead
  • Limited vocabulary
  • Glaswegian accent
  • Battered Leatherman implanted in right hand

All Blackies have DNA from Fred Dibnah and a kitchen/mess room strewn with various parts from a Triumph Spitfire or a 1980 Honda 750 Four. Civvy equivalent - Celtic/Rangers supporter.

Crab equivalent: Sootie/Rig pig.

Techie GSE

Ground Support Equipment techie. He looks after all the wheels, gennies, jacks and other such paraphernalia related to not getting the cab flying. His main job is to do all your engraving, picture framing, repairs to motor vehicles and bodge the jobs the Blackies or Greenies aren't allowed to do.

A common accusation levelled at the GSE BAT is that he/she is too dangerous to be allowed near aircraft. This is an unfair description in 80% of cases. The other 20% should never have been allowed to complete Technical Training and would have been better served by a downward shunt onto a VM course.

RAF equivalent: Heavy.


noun: Nocturnal mouse-like mammal with forelimbs modified to form membranous wings and anatomical adaptations for echolocation by which they navigate [syn: chiropteran]. Strangely attracted to women with long hair causing said women to run around screaming about the bats getting tangled in their hair. Allegedly responsible for worldwide pandemics, especially when eaten. (Bats or women, the differences are few.)

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