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skirby186
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#1
Report Thread starter 16 years ago
#1
Hi everyone, I have just learned about this site in the last hour or so and it seems a great way to be able to voice any concerns or queries that people may have in joining the RAF. I have one of my own...

I am currently in my first year at University and would have liked to have joined my local University Squadron, however I was refused to train as a pilot due to the eye sight requirements...fair enough. However, when attending my local air show last year I visited the RAF recruitment stand which were handing out the annual RAF Corporate Communication Magazine 2003. As I was browsing through the magazine I was astonished to see that a RAF test pilot was sitting in his cockpit wearing a pair of glasses.

Now, is it just me but I thought that to even be considered as a pilot you must have 100% perfect vision, as I am fully aware off! Then why is a fast jet test pilot wearing a pair of glasses? Surely according to the RAF regulations that it is unsafe to fly such a machine without perfect vision. I must admit I am extremely confused especially when I have been refused in this specific branch because of my vision.

Could someone please answer my question and put my mind at rest once and for all on eyesight requirements. The photo is on page 29 of the annual RAF Corporate Communication Magazine 2003 if people have not yet read it.

Thanx
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Wzz
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#2
Report 16 years ago
#2
Yes, I've read it; if I remember right it's a story about the FJ test squadron, featuring a bloke who's a Harrier mate by trade.

You've answered your own question. You need 100% perfect vision to be considered as a pilot; however, you don't need to maintain perfect vision for your entire life to remain a pilot.

The RAF only picks candidates with perfect vision because frankly they can be picky. A lot of it is simple economics; eyesight can start to degrade from your mid-twenties; do you recruit people for 10 years, train them at a cost PER PERSON of nudging £5M, then bin them? Or do you recruit people with perfect eyesight, and accept that maybe 20-25% will eventually degrade to the extent you need to give them contacts or glasses?

So, to set your mind at rest, if you need glasses, or have anything less than 6/6 vision, you can't join. If you get through 2 years' worth of training (for example) and find you slip a bit at your annual medical exam, you'll get given glasses.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.
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skirby186
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Report Thread starter 16 years ago
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Thank you for the reply, it was good to get an honest answer for once. I accepted the sight requirements years ago however was puzzled over this photo. I personally think it gives out the wrong message if the RAF have to be so strict on sight requirements.

I do understand the reasons; well at least I thought I did! The reason why I was so puzzled was because I was told at my local AFCO that you simply couldn’t fly with glasses/contacts, as they wouldn’t fit inside the helmet and especially when using the night vision screen. In this case, was I told false information because the RAF do allow glasses/contacts after you’ve been trained?

Thanx again for the reply
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Danithestudent
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Report 16 years ago
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You can't be colour blind either. Why not admit defeat and become part of the RAF police instead, there are better job offers when you retire with the government and stuff
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Henke
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#5
Report 16 years ago
#5
The eyesight requirements are understandable. The only thing that is not understandable is that the RAF doesn't write on its website that you need perfect vision to be a pilot. My AFCO couldn't even tell me at first! This resulted in me dreaming of being a fast jet pilot for literally years when there was never any chance of me becoming one! Then being given the bombshell that flying was not going to be a choice for me. I wonder how many people get to Cranwell before they find out that they are unable to fly because there eyesight isn't 6/6?

The RAF can be picky but is eyesight really that important? If your eyesight is near perfect I think that you should be given the chance to show what you can do. If its poor then you should be shown the door. If the RAF was less picky about perfect eyesight they could be more picky about actual flying abilities couldn't they?
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Wzz
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Report 16 years ago
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(Original post by skirby186)
I do understand the reasons; well at least I thought I did! The reason why I was so puzzled was because I was told at my local AFCO that you simply couldn’t fly with glasses/contacts, as they wouldn’t fit inside the helmet and especially when using the night vision screen. In this case, was I told false information because the RAF do allow glasses/contacts after you’ve been trained?

Thanx again for the reply
No, that's not right; there are specially designed aircrew specs that fit under the ear capsules in a flying helment, and obviously there aren't any problems with contacts.

Glad you understand the reasons; I had to deal with a lot of angry bitter people in selection; it gets tiresome!
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Wzz
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Report 16 years ago
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(Original post by Henke)
The RAF can be picky but is eyesight really that important? If your eyesight is near perfect I think that you should be given the chance to show what you can do. If its poor then you should be shown the door. If the RAF was less picky about perfect eyesight they could be more picky about actual flying abilities couldn't they?
They really can afford to be this picky; there are genuinely enough people with perfect eyesight who are easily above the required standard to fly with us. If the situation were such that we were rejecting too many good candidates with bad eyesight, they'd probably change it; however, there's definately enough 6/6 guys to keep the Harrier front line full...

In short, whether or not it may seem fair in the grand scheme of things, there's just no need to let guys with weaker eyesight anywhere near the stick. Someone who's 6/6 has a better chance of staying that way for longer.
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username7596
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Report 15 years ago
#8
Does anyone know if the Navy Fleet Air Arms or Army Air Corpes are less strict on the eyesight? :rolleyes:
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Wzz
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Report 15 years ago
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They're all pretty much the same. Joining the AAC because you want to be a pilot is a phenomenally bad idea; and don't join the FAA if you just want to fly jets.

If they decide to freeze recruitment for pilots as they're thinking about doing now, you might find yourself lucky to get anything until 2006-7.
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username7596
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#10
Report 15 years ago
#10
Don't worry - I don't intend to join the AAC. Only a very small percentage of their time is actually spent flying (same with most forces, but more so).

As for the FAA - I'd actually rather prefer to fly their helicopters. There's lots of roles for them

I'm pretty sure being a pilot is out for me
There's plenty of other paths to follow though
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