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    This could be worth a read even if you aren’t currently interested in being a WSOp as it will give you some information on possibly one of the best and probably one of the most misunderstood careers in the RAF.

    PART 1

    Airman Aircrew=Non Commissioned Aircrew (NCA)=Weapons Systems Operator(WSOp)

    Often referred to as plastic Sgts however, there is nothing plastic about £34,720 per year (after training). This figure can (given time and promotion) rise to £60,104!!

    WSOps generally fly on either;

    Fixed Wing transport aircraft such as Herc J+K, C-17, Tristar, VC10 (they tend to be called Loadies/loadmasters)
    Support Helicopters (SH) Chinook, Puma, Merlin (they tend to be called Crewmen)
    Nimrod MR2 and MRA4 in the Electronic Warfare or acoustic role (they tend to be called Sensor operators).
    Nimrod R1 as a linguist.

    Yes there are other aircraft platforms including Search and Rescue (SAR), but the likelihood is that new WSOps will operate on the above.

    For info on each specialisation please refer to the RAF Careers Website.

    You will need a minimum of 5 x GCSEs at C grade or above, including English and Maths.
    Due to the competitiveness of recruitment a great proportion of those currently under training have a degree and almost all have several A levels.

    The latest figures show that apx 80% of WSOps under training are Direct Entry (DE) the remaining 20% are currently serving airmen (or people who transfer from Army/Navy)

    The Training Pipeline

    Phase 1 Training
    RAF Halton for the DE recruits, Recruit Training School, 9 weeks, wages £13,377

    On successful completion on RTS you then move on to the significantly harder None Commissioned Aircrew Initial Training Course (NCAITC) at RAF Cranwell.(60% first time past rate) At this point the DE cadets meet up with the already serving airmen. You are called Aircrew Cadets, there may be DE Air Traffic Control Sgts also on the course, they’re called Cadets.
    This course last 10 Weeks and is seen as a harder mini IOT, contentious I know but these guys are getting acting Sgt at the end of it, it’s not pink and fluffy.
    It has to be hard, all Officers do some form of IOT be it the long course, SERE or the Commissioned WO Scheme. Most Sgt’s have done at least 10 years to get where they are, therefore the course has to respect what a Sgt actually is.

    On successful completion of the NCAITC you jump up to £27,052 (Cpl level 1)
    You then have the privilege of moving into the Sgt’s Mess.
    You are now a Sgt, (acting Sgt) referred to as Sgt apart from on formal forms and military decorations.

    Phase 2 Training
    The next stage is 55(R) Sqn
    3 Weeks Pre Employment Training; 1 Weeks Aviation Medicine + 2 Weeks Moortrek (Initial Survival Training)

    11 Weeks Generic WSOp training
    Covering: Principles of Flight, Meteorology, Systems, Maths & Science, Communications, Crewmen specifics, Electric Warfare and a short course with the Air Warfare Centre. The Generic course also has a large element of synthetic training.
    There is a streaming board at the end of this course deciding which path you will take; Fixed, Rotary or Sensor operator. Linguists are pre streamed at OASC.

    The Sgts then get split up for specialist training.

    Fixed Wing 20 Weeks 55(R) Sqn
    Sensor Operator 35 Weeks 55(R) Sqn
    Rotary 45 Weeks DHFS, RAF Shawbury
    Linguist 18 Months Beaconsfield
    (Please don’t post claiming different time lengths for spec trg. The courses are all subject to change and improvement, these are the current times)

    On successful completion of specialist training NCA get awarded their Brevets.
    Their pay also rises to £32,114
    The Fixed and Rotary Crewmen get further streaming to determine what specific aircraft they will move on to.

    The next stage of training is OCU/OCF Operational Conversion Unit/Flight.
    These can vary in length and be anything up to 9 months.

    On completion of the OCU/OCF NCA get paid Flying Pay - £2,606
    Total wages £34,720.

    The NCA then arrive on their Squadrons.
    After a Squadron “Work Up” they progress from Limited Combat Ready (LCR) to Combat Ready (CR).

    A lengthy training process with a certainty of “Holding” at least once whilst waiting for the next course to begin.

    Whilst in training it is mandatory for NCA to take part in a Foundation Degree course in Applied Aviation Studies with Staffordshire University.

    NCA normally change from Acting Sgt to Substantive Sgt 18 months after being awarded his/her Brevet and if they are CR.

    It really is an excellent job for those who may not be eligible for pilot but like the idea of being aircrew.

    If you want to fly for a living, regardless of if you are/aren’t eligible for a commission, do yourself a favour and look into this more at your nearest AFCO or the RAF Careers Website.

    There is so much more info to give but I think that is enough for now.

    Cheers
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    I'm going for WSOp ALM/Crewman hopefully if I have the chops, and this information is pretty much smack on. Great write up, some info in here that I didn't know. I have OASC in 7 days time so I'll be using some of this to my advantage in my interview! Thanks.
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    What are current situation with recruitment of WSOp ? Let's say 10 people applied, all have A levels but not a degree, how many are likely to get in (or pass OASC) on average? Anyone know those figures?
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    (Original post by Miza)
    What are current situation with recruitment of WSOp ? Let's say 10 people applied, all have A levels but not a degree, how many are likely to get in (or pass OASC) on average? Anyone know those figures?
    It's nothing to do with their academic qualifications to start with. Because a degree is unnecessary for the job or career progression, unlike Officer roles, it is unlikely to have any positive effect on an application (though it might on back up plans for a career outside the military).


    The RAF will try to take the best x candidates in the year, where x is the number of WSOps the RAF requires. It doesn't matter if only 1 person, or 100 people, or 1000 people go to OASC. They will take the best x (over and above the minimum pass mark).



    And for the OP, it's non commissioned, not none
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    :rolleyes: Oh no, that'll be my round then!! Can't believe i did that!
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    5201 is this a job you are applying for? ....very informative...if you are in the selection process for this, have you got any advise for the first interview? e.g.- How in-depth and you meant to know the aircraft?
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    I'm already doing the job and have been for a while. I'm currently involved with training.
    With regards to tips for interviews there is plenty of good advice on TSR but not many mention the fact that a good proportion of your communication with the interviewing officers will be non verbal i.e. Have good posture, sit up straight, don't be afraid of eye contact but don't freak them out, for the lads don't go there with a huge chavvy knot in your tie.
    A good understanding of what aircraft we have, where they are based, where they are deployed and what their roles are should suffice. You shouldn't really need to know what engines are fitted etc.

    Finding out about each of the WSOp roles is a must (not just the one you are interested in)

    Getting in contact with a Station/Sqn and visiting for a day is very worthwhile, most units have someone with the additional duty of sorting out work experience.
    All AFCOs should be aware of the monthly NCA wannabee day at Cranwell. You can use any information gained to your advantage in the interview.
    Cheers
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    thanks for the info 5201 :-)
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    My first post here (TSR Virgin you see!).
    I've been snooping around, checking out the info thats up on this site and it's been a real big help!
    Especially what you've fired up there 5201!! Many thanks for that!

    My SITREP: I have OASC on the 21st of this month; as you can imagine the rear end is starting to wobble a fair bit at this point!!
    Applied for WSOp (with the hope of getting Rotary Crewman).
    Been doing all the swatting up, but really getting into it now.

    Just wondering how you found NCAITC in comparison to Halton?
    And also, can you give any insight into how the streaming system works?

    Many thanks

    DTC
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    Good luck DanTC, thats what im applying for, let us now how it goes :-)
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    Bumberry, when you hitting OASC?.. Or have you not got that far yet?

    Yeah will do! Likewise!
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    I havent got that far yet...havent had my filter interview yet.
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    Hi there,

    I have applied for WSOp I have OASC 06/05/2010. Really excited about it.

    James
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    NCAITC is a different world to Halton. Today i asked 2 people who had recently gone through ITC for a comparison between the two training schools, to quote one of them "Halton is a joke, ITC is totally different" It needs to be, Halton serves a purpose, ITC trains aircrew.
    That may upset a few but the facts speak for themselves, if Halton was on par with ITC, ITC should have a 100% success rate, the fact is ITC has on average a 60% first time pass rate. The standard on ITC is far higher.
    I'd like to think that everyone would understand that Halton is basic recruit training, ITC is still phase 1 training but will be significantly harder as success will bring chevrons.

    You are streamed depending on service needs. If there are 12 students on the course and 22 (Trg) Gp decide that 12 are needed on rotary then its a no brainer, they will all go rotary. If the split is 8 rotary, 3 fixed and 1 sensor then the board will look at; performance on the ITC, performance on the Generic course, personality and preference. They do try to get people to where they want to go, but service needs are paramount.
    The current situation is favourable to rotary and then fixed. With whats happening to the MR2 there aren't many/any slots going for sensor (EW)
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    Just to add on 5201's notes above about the difficulty of ITC.

    To give you an idea, I know someone who has just started an ITC consisting of 24 people. 12 of those 24, were back-coursed from the previous ITC.

    It clearly isn't easy, and one would be wise not to fall into that misinterpretation.

    "One of the hardest training courses in the RAF, second only to JROC"
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    (Original post by Sam-J-J)
    Just to add on 5201's notes above about the difficulty of ITC.

    To give you an idea, I know someone who has just started an ITC consisting of 24 people. 12 of those 24, were back-coursed from the previous ITC.

    It clearly isn't easy, and one would be wise not to fall into that misinterpretation.

    "One of the hardest training courses in the RAF, second only to JROC"
    Surely that's someone's subjective interpretation of "hard"? Not that I want to start a war with any serving-NCA on here; I've met a few and they're definitely very motivated, smart people - just a devil's advocate's observation...

    What's green and hard?

    A frog with a knife!

    :top:
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    Very true Mark.

    I was merely using the quote, which is by no means an official quote and was simply from the aforementioned friend on ITC, to emphasise my point that it really shouldn't be underestimated.
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    Last year recruitment levels needed 88 wsops a year...

    (Original post by Miza)
    What are current situation with recruitment of WSOp ? Let's say 10 people applied, all have A levels but not a degree, how many are likely to get in (or pass OASC) on average? Anyone know those figures?
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    Does anyone know what the appitude pass score is for WSOp?
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    90. But you need to be around 110+ to be considered competitive.
 
 
 
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