Becoming a Royal Air Force Pilot: A 3-Step Guide
Ensure that you have maintained residency in the United Kingdom for a minimum of 5 years. Moreover, it is important to note that you should not have exceeded 28 days per year outside of the United Kingdom during those years. In the event that you have, additional eligibility checks will be required when you progress with the enlistment process.
- For example, if you spend 27 days each year on vacation, this is permissible. However, if you spend 29 or more days in a single year outside of the country, you will be obligated to provide an explanation for your travel on your application.
- The extra eligibility checks will necessitate the submission of certain documents such as your birth certificate and passport, as well as evidence of your educational qualifications (e.g., a higher education degree).
- In addition to the aforementioned residency requirements, you must also possess British citizenship at the time of enrolling. This can be achieved by being a British citizen or national, holding dual citizenship with the United Kingdom and another country, or being a citizen of the Commonwealth.
Take note that you must fall within the age range of 17 to 25 in order to pursue a career as a pilot. Specifically, you must be at least 17.5 years old but not surpass the age of 25 when applying for pilot training school. If you are under the age of 18, the consent of a parent or guardian will be required prior to enlisting.
Tip: If your age falls outside of this range, there may still be other positions within the RAF for which you are eligible! Consult with a recruiter to explore alternative options.
Successfully pass your secondary education exams in a minimum of 5 subjects. To become an RAF pilot, you must obtain General Certificates of Secondary Education (GCSEs) at Grade C or higher in English, Mathematics, and at least 3 additional subjects. Additionally, you must have completed at least 2 A2 Level exams and obtained a minimum of 64 Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) points.
- Note that most schools require students to achieve a Grade C or higher in 5 GCSE exams before progressing to A2 Level exams.
- There are no specific exam requirements for aspiring RAF pilots apart from the English and Mathematics exams.
Demonstrate your commitment to a minimum of 12 years of service in the Royal Air Force. This is the required length of service expected from pilots in the RAF. Naturally, you have the option to extend your service beyond this period if you choose and, upon completion of 12 years, you will have the opportunity to recommit to serving in the RAF if your performance has been satisfactory.
Initiate the application process by visiting the official RAF website. Upon accessing the RAF's recruitment website, you will be prompted to complete the registration form, including providing your email address. An invitation will then be sent to the given email, granting you access to commence your comprehensive online application.
Satisfy the requirements of 2 physical fitness tests to demonstrate your physical well-being. Once your enlistment application has been submitted, you will be obligated to undergo at least 2 fitness tests and meet the minimum standards according to your gender and age. These tests encompass a combination of a 2.4 km (1.5 mi) treadmill run, press-ups (or push-ups), and sit-ups.
- For male applicants, it is required to complete the run within 11 minutes and 11 seconds, accomplish 20 press-ups, and perform 35 sit-ups.
- Female applicants must finish the run in 13 minutes and 23 seconds, complete 10 press-ups, and do 32 sit-ups.
Your eyesight and body mass index will be evaluated. Medical professionals will assess whether your vision and overall body health meet the necessary requirements for effective military service. If your BMI falls outside the acceptable range, your application will be rejected.
- For applicants under the age of 18, the acceptable BMI range is 17 to 27. For applicants 18 and older, the acceptable BMI range is 18 to 28.
Undergo a background check to obtain Security Check level clearance. This is a thorough investigation to determine if there are any factors in your background that would disqualify you from serving in the RAF. Additionally, you will be required to disclose any previous convictions that have not yet been spent.
- Note that certain roles in the RAF may require the declaration of spent convictions upfront.
- Examples of disqualifying factors can include association with extremist groups, expression of extreme political affiliations, and offensive tattoos.
Tip: While inoffensive tattoos are allowed in the RAF, they must not be visible above the neck collar or below the sleeve cuff.
Complete a series of tests and interviews to demonstrate your abilities. The tests will be conducted on computers at the Officers and Aircrew Selection Centre (OASC) and will evaluate your skills in task completion, deductive reasoning, and concentration. The 2 interviews will focus on your educational background, interest in the RAF, and your display of confidence and leadership qualities.
- During the interviews, emphasize your qualities and past accomplishments. The interviewers aim to determine your suitability for a leadership position in the RAF.
- These are the final stages of the Pilot Selection Process and will take place at the Officers and Aircrew Selection Centre (OASC).
Begin with Initial Officer Training to develop your leadership skills. This training program spans 24 weeks and focuses on leadership and management training provided by RAF personnel, as well as basic military studies. IOT consists of 3 terms, each of which must be successfully completed before proceeding to the next.
- IOT training is conducted at the ROF College Cranwell in Lincolnshire.
Progress to Elementary Flying Training to commence specialized training. In EFT, students are educated on fundamental flight principles, aircraft technology, and meteorology. They will then advance to learn specific flying skills, such as takeoffs and landings.
- During EFT, students are trained on either the Tutor or Prefect aircraft.
- More advanced skills taught during EFT include instrument flying, aerobatics, formation flying, and navigation.
Specialize in a specific class of aircraft for further training. After completing EFT, individuals will be assigned to one of three training tracks: fast jet, multi-engine, or rotary. While you can express a preference for a particular track, the ultimate decision will be made by your trainers.
- The individuals who enroll in fast jet training are instructed on the operations of flying high-speed jet-engine aircraft, such as fighter jets. The training for multi-engine aircraft equips pilots with the necessary skills to operate large multi-engine planes. Rotary training is focused on teaching individuals how to navigate and pilot helicopters.
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Updated: May 16, 2021
Categories: Career Paths in the Military
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