Rosslinnane26
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How likely is it that I could move from a WSOp to a pilot in the RAF? Thanks
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Schleigg
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(Original post by Rosslinnane26)
How likely is it that I could move from a WSOp to a pilot in the RAF? Thanks
Unlikely enough that you shouldn't join the RAF as a WSOp just so you "might" become a pilot. You should apply to be a pilot, and if you want to be a WSOp as well then put that down as well.
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Rosslinnane26
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Alright thanks
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Ikaruss
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As a retired AEOp (or WSOp as they insist on calling NCA), I knew a number of guys who made the transition to Pilot and Nav (WSO), but that was a long time ago, when we had quite a few different fleets of pointy jets, multis and helos. Although I thoroughly enjoyed my non-commissioned aircrew career, the fact is that only a small number of colleagues actually applied to join as such, the majority had gone to OASC for Pilot then Nav and only accepted AEOp or ALM or AEng, when it was offered as a last resort to achieve RAF aircrew status. The option also existed for chopped Pilots to crossover to Nav. For those aircrew candidates who had been unsuccessful for commissioning, it was a well trodden path for NCA with a tour under their belts, to make the trek back to OASC at Biggin Hill / Cranwell for another crack at officer status. Some made it, others didn't but kept trying until the Pilot / Nav age timer ran out.

Unfortunately for you, those days are long gone and I would suggest that the opportunity to achieve Pilot from WSOp is technically feasible, but unlikely. Not only because the available Pilot slots are significantly less than they were in my day, but your deskie would also have to fill your WSOp slot while you became a training risk for a new role. Frankly, if you didn't feel you had the potential to sit in a Typhoon from the start of your career, the idea that you would suddenly become a strong candidate after 3 years as a WSOp on Chinook is stretching reality a bit. In all my career, I recommended less than 5 WSOp colleagues for commissioning potential as aircrew - all of them were head and shoulders above their peers in terms of innate ability and potential to succeed in training.

I would therefore reinforce what Schleigg says, and suggest that you aim for the top job (Pilot) from the outset. If you trip up at OASC but still wish to fly at all costs, then you'll have to accept a step down the ladder and go for WSOp. It is a great job and you will have all the satisfaction, fun and benefits of being RAF aircrew, but without the opportunity to achieve the highest level within the service.

Trust me, based on the VSOs I met in the latter years of my career, you'd be better off at a level well below the stratospheric ranks. A level where you could remain true to your own ideals and hold your head high.
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Fritz Bollinger
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It's not unknown for WSOps to come through to the (pilot training) system; just of the top of my head I know at least half a dozen in the past couple of years. It's not many though, but they can be of very high quality and have a maturity you don't necessarily get with an 18 year old or fresh uni graduate. If you looked statistically it's probably well less than 10% of pilot trainees, and now the AFCO doors are open again and ab-initials are coming ("flooding") straight through from IOT, probably far less than that.

As has been said, if you want pilot, apply for pilot. WSOp shouldn't be a deliberate stepping stone. If it later happens to be the only way into the service, and you discount civvy options outside the service, so be it.
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