Jacktar
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Just an intro,
Okay so I'm planning on applying to become a WSOp in the RAF, I'm currently doing all the research needed such as; Uses for aircraft, bases (UK and International) and there uses, fully understanding the role of a WSOp, Training (Phases) current affairs. I'm 17, 18 in August.

Basically I have a few questions if anyone can answer any that'll be great;

I'm worried that being 18 when i apply I won't have much leadership experience and that may put put me back a bit.

My fitness isn't great, I'm not overweight or anything its my stamina isn't great. I'm going for runs, its something I hate doing, is there any suggestions on good ways maybe even fun ways to build stamina a fitness. I should be all good with situps and pushups as I go to the gym.

Also is there anything else I may need to research? and if anyone could explain things that may be useful to know about WSOp or the whole application process in general that I may not know would be great.

I have been to my careers office and I have done research this isn't a cheat/lazy way of doing it, just more to get other people experience who've been through this already.
Thanks Jack
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username1119229
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You need to be running as often as possible, I don't like it, but if you want the job, you have to earn it. Have you timed yourself doing as many sit-ups and/or press ups in a minute?

I go to the gym, doesn't mean I'm great at them.

I first applied when I was 18 and I was slightly ignorant to what I was actually applying for (now not all 18 y/o are the same!), went away and 5 years later, with much more life experience, I'm reapplying myself. I was keen then, but even more so now.

If you get as far as NCAITC, then fitness (according to those in the know and lots of my own research) is probably one of the most important aspects of this part of WSOp training.

One thing I would recommend. Get yourself a visit to the opticians, there's some eyesight forms on google somewhere (albeit) out of date, but I think the standards from what I've heard haven't changed. The eyesight results can then determine if your eyesight meets the standard; if it doesn't. It will stop you wasting your time and indeed Cranwells'. Sorry if this sounds blunt, but it's the reality, believe me. Most of the people of this forum have been through what you're now doing, and many will have encountered brick walls and in some cases a game over!

Best of luck.
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AlphaTango
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(Original post by Jacktar)
Just an intro,
Okay so I'm planning on applying to become a WSOp in the RAF, I'm currently doing all the research needed such as; Uses for aircraft, bases (UK and International) and there uses, fully understanding the role of a WSOp, Training (Phases) current affairs. I'm 17, 18 in August.

Basically I have a few questions if anyone can answer any that'll be great;

I'm worried that being 18 when i apply I won't have much leadership experience and that may put put me back a bit.

My fitness isn't great, I'm not overweight or anything its my stamina isn't great. I'm going for runs, its something I hate doing, is there any suggestions on good ways maybe even fun ways to build stamina a fitness. I should be all good with situps and pushups as I go to the gym.

Also is there anything else I may need to research? and if anyone could explain things that may be useful to know about WSOp or the whole application process in general that I may not know would be great.

I have been to my careers office and I have done research this isn't a cheat/lazy way of doing it, just more to get other people experience who've been through this already.
Thanks Jack
Jack,

17/18 is very young, without trying to damage your hopes I would be suprised if you passed selection and training at that age. you are joing to be a Sgt foremost in the RAF. It's a slightly different world in aircrew that you may not be managing people directly, but you are expect to be of a certain calibre and bearing. Saying that I do know personally a 19 year old DE-Sgt who is very good at his job. However when i went through NCAITC we ranged from 21-28, the 21 year old was the only person without previous leadership experience (i.e civvi management role or ex-military).

I personally would advise you try to get as much experience as you can in different environments, speaking in front of people, volunteering, a job with leadership responsibilies if you can. As well as the RAF knowledge and fitness required. That will give you the best shot at being succesful.

You are potentially competing with people with mutiple years worth of experience managing people, people who have been in the RAF for a few years already, people with degrees who have lead societies at university etc. You need to make yourself the best possible candidate you can.

Fitness, you just need to get out there and run. I marked out a 1.5 mile route around the fields near my house when i was trying to join, i used to run it 4-5 times a week and record my time. To give you a good idea of the standard you need to aim for. Every person on my NCAITC course achieved sub 9:30 on the 1.5 mile time, with the majority of us sub 9 minutes. You need to be hitting minimum sub 10 and 40+ on pushups/situps. Then you need to be carrying a good amount of weight up and down hills, the fitter you are the easier you'll be able to deal with the leads on NCAITC.

Good luck with your application.

AT.
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Ikaruss
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Jack, I'm not going to dwell on the previous post beyond saying that you need to be as fit as you can be and possess the physical and mental robustness to cope with a most demanding training regime. You also need to have a level of maturity and level headedness that is required to be a SNCO in the RAF - although you would be younger than most ground trade Sgts, you need to demonstrate the same judgement and decision making powers that any of them would have. The difference would be that you've come in as a direct entrant SNCO straight from school or college, whereas other Sgts will have worked their way up through the ranks and earned their stripes the hard way. I hope you can see why you need the easy confidence and credibility to work alongside such people, you can't afford to be anything less than the best. There aren't two classes of SNCO, and airmen will make no distinction between an aircrew Sgt and a grizzled old ground trades one - if you can't cut the mustard, they'll walk all over you.

It is perfectly possible to join at 18, but you would be strongly advised to gain some 'life' experience as has been suggested. Any job or role involving working as a team would afford you the opportunity to practice and develop your leadership potential and such an experience would be invaluable for when you apply for RAF NCA .

Finally, while doing your research, you will hopefully discover that these are exciting times for the WSOp trade. As the CDS, General Sir Nicholas Houghton, said in a speech at RUSI last week:

"I cannot stress enough the need for a greater qualitative and quantative investment in intelligence, surveillance, understanding and those capabilities that permit the precision application of hard power. I expect us to invest more in refreshing our current inventory of Reaper, Sentinel, Shadow, Air Seeker and Sentry."


Defence (and politicians) have finally twigged that ISR is a critical capability in the battlespace today, and all the platforms he mentions require WSOps to operate the missions systems. To those platforms you can probably add a new (as yet undecided) MMA aircraft, which will finally plug the gap left by the Nimrod MRA4 cancellation, and will require a large cadre of WSOp sensor operators.

If you want one of those seats, you'll need to be well prepared, both mentally and physically. I'm sure you can do it, but it's up to you mate!

If you need any help with your research into the life of a WSOp and the types of platform, feel free to PM me and I'll try to assist if at all possible. I have some experience in these matters.
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Djrotter
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Hay Jack,

I'm Alex i'm also 17 and applying for WSOp some time soon, i applied a few months back but was refused due to the fact i was two months two young. Just a quick question to anyone who has done a station visit, what is it like? and also best of luck mate, hope to see you in selection!!

Cheers, Alex
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