RAF Aircrew to Commissioned Officer Watch

Flr72
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I’m joining the RAF soon and I’m going in as a mechanical engineer, but my real goal is to become a pilot, although as of yet I don’t have the A-Levels to do so. So I’m wondering if it is possible to go from Airman to commissioned officer or would I just have to leave and then reapply.

I still have a big interest in Engineering and I enjoyed it and studied it for a while before deciding to apply as one but it is still my main goal to become a pilot and as of A-Levels, being 19 now there’s not many institutions I can do them in and I would prefer to do them independently anyway.

My plan is to study A-Levels in my own time while I’m in the forces, try my hardest to set myself apart and make a good impression and then (if possible) go on to train as a commissioned officer and pilot.

I’ve struggled to find any information on this (At least in the RAF’s case anyway) and I’m not sure if this is even a possibility and if it is, what is the likely hood of it being granted. I’ve heard very mixed opinions on the subject from ex servicemen who I’ve spoke too although non of which were in the RAF.
Last edited by Flr72; 4 weeks ago
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Drewski
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(Original post by Flr72)
I’m joining the RAF soon and I’m going in as a mechanical engineer, but my real goal is to become a pilot, although as of yet I don’t have the A-Levels to do so. So I’m wondering if it is possible to go from Aircrew to commissioned officer or would I just have to leave and then reapply.

I still have a big interest in Engineering and I enjoyed it and studied it for a while before deciding to apply as one but it is still my main goal to become a pilot and as of A-Levels, being 19 now there’s not many institutions I can do them in and I would prefer to do them independently anyway.

My plan is to study A-Levels in my own time while I’m in the forces, try my hardest to set myself apart and make a good impression and then (if possible) go on to train as a commissioned officer and pilot.

I’ve struggled to find any information on this (At least in the RAF’s case anyway) and I’m not sure if this is even a possibility and if it is, what is the likely hood of it being granted. I’ve heard very mixed opinions on the subject from ex servicemen who I’ve spoke too although non of which were in the RAF.
Possible? Yes.
Likely? Hard to say, but it is a less common route.

And, just fwiw, you wouldn't be going from aircrew to pilot - as a mech eng you're not aircrew, you're an airman.
Aircrew is the generic name for anybody who serves in a role that's airborne, whereas airman is the generic term for all men who serve in non commissioned roles in the RAF.
Last edited by Drewski; 4 weeks ago
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threeportdrift
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(Original post by Flr72)
I’m joining the RAF soon and I’m going in as a mechanical engineer, but my real goal is to become a pilot, although as of yet I don’t have the A-Levels to do so. So I’m wondering if it is possible to go from Aircrew to commissioned officer or would I just have to leave and then reapply.

I still have a big interest in Engineering and I enjoyed it and studied it for a while before deciding to apply as one but it is still my main goal to become a pilot and as of A-Levels, being 19 now there’s not many institutions I can do them in and I would prefer to do them independently anyway.

My plan is to study A-Levels in my own time while I’m in the forces, try my hardest to set myself apart and make a good impression and then (if possible) go on to train as a commissioned officer and pilot.

I’ve struggled to find any information on this (At least in the RAF’s case anyway) and I’m not sure if this is even a possibility and if it is, what is the likely hood of it being granted. I’ve heard very mixed opinions on the subject from ex servicemen who I’ve spoke too although non of which were in the RAF.
You are planning a very difficult route. I doubt you will have any chance to privately study A levels until you've been in about 3 years. You are far, far better off to do your A levels outside and join as a commissioned officer. Unless in your heart you know it's just a dream and you are likely to be an Mech Eng for your career.

Put it this way, I spent 7 years on a Squadron - we got about 6 new Direct Entry pilots every year. We got 3 commissioned WSOps > pilot in the whole 7 years. We got no other trade airmen > pilot in that time.
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NotAVegan
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If you’re joining as an Aircraft Technician, as part of your trade training you’ll gain an NVQ Level 3, which can be used as an A level equivalent in your application.
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RAF_Adam
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(Original post by Flr72)
I’m joining the RAF soon and I’m going in as a mechanical engineer, but my real goal is to become a pilot, although as of yet I don’t have the A-Levels to do so. So I’m wondering if it is possible to go from Aircrew to commissioned officer or would I just have to leave and then reapply.

I still have a big interest in Engineering and I enjoyed it and studied it for a while before deciding to apply as one but it is still my main goal to become a pilot and as of A-Levels, being 19 now there’s not many institutions I can do them in and I would prefer to do them independently anyway.

My plan is to study A-Levels in my own time while I’m in the forces, try my hardest to set myself apart and make a good impression and then (if possible) go on to train as a commissioned officer and pilot.

I’ve struggled to find any information on this (At least in the RAF’s case anyway) and I’m not sure if this is even a possibility and if it is, what is the likely hood of it being granted. I’ve heard very mixed opinions on the subject from ex servicemen who I’ve spoke too although non of which were in the RAF.
Hi

Yes it's possible as has already been advised. Also, if you're in service as an Airmen you won't need your A levels to be able to apply for your commission, but you'll need all of the GCSE requirements and meet the age limit criteria too etc.

Kind regards
Adam
RAF Recruitment
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AlphaTango
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If your dream is to be a pilot get the requirements and apply direct.
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Flr72
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I think it’s worth a shot. I have a few other reasons for joining now as opposed to a later date and maybe I would have to leave and join again I’m not too sure but I’ll figure that out once I’m in. I’ve read in the past few days of ones who have done it and yes it’s been unlikely but only time will tell I guess


(Original post by Drewski)
Possible? Yes.
Likely? Hard to say, but it is a less common route.

And, just fwiw, you wouldn't be going from aircrew to pilot - as a mech eng you're not aircrew, you're an airman.
Aircrew is the generic name for anybody who serves in a role that's airborne, whereas airman is the generic term for all men who serve in non commissioned roles in the RAF.
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Drewski
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(Original post by Flr72)
I think it’s worth a shot. I have a few other reasons for joining now as opposed to a later date and maybe I would have to leave and join again I’m not too sure but I’ll figure that out once I’m in. I’ve read in the past few days of ones who have done it and yes it’s been unlikely but only time will tell I guess
You wouldn't have to leave and rejoin.

Has it been done? Yes.
Will it be done again in the future? Yes.
Does that mean it's the best route for potential pilots? No.
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Fast74
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(Original post by Flr72)
I think it’s worth a shot. I have a few other reasons for joining now as opposed to a later date and maybe I would have to leave and join again I’m not too sure but I’ll figure that out once I’m in. I’ve read in the past few days of ones who have done it and yes it’s been unlikely but only time will tell I guess
If you want to join the RAF as a Techy then do so. Once you have completed basic and professional training you are free to apply for your commission at any time. As you will be serving at that point, you will not require A levels; just 5 GCSEs to include Maths and English Grade C. Pilot remains very competitive therefore having other options is a bonus in case you don’t quite make it on your first attempt - in your case being in the RAF will allow you to continue to gain military experience and develop your air mindedness. This is a better option than not being in the RAF in my opinion. Also this route will not disadvantage you at the selection phase in any way. Just remember, for pilot you’ve got to be into IOT by your 26th birthday just to give you an idea of how long you’ve got to achieve your aim. In sum, join now and you won’t have the leave to apply for your commission, you won’t need to get your A levels and you will not be at a disadvantage over others for gaining your commission. Hope this helps.
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threeportdrift
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(Original post by Fast74)
In sum, join now and you won’t have the leave to apply for your commission, you won’t need to get your A levels and you will not be at a disadvantage over others for gaining your commission. Hope this helps.
How do you know he won't be at a disadvantage? Unless his aptitude is epic, then having no evidence of an academic ability above GCSE is going to put him at a significant disadvantage compared with the 21 year old aerospace engineering graduate who's been an air cadet and on the UAS and who has similar aptitude scores.

Just because the process of filling in forms, number of interviews etc is the same, does not mean someone with minimal qualifications is not at a disadvantage.
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Fast74
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(Original post by threeportdrift)
How do you know he won't be at a disadvantage? Unless his aptitude is epic, then having no evidence of an academic ability above GCSE is going to put him at a significant disadvantage compared with the 21 year old aerospace engineering graduate who's been an air cadet and on the UAS and who has similar aptitude scores.

Just because the process of filling in forms, number of interviews etc is the same, does not mean someone with minimal qualifications is not at a disadvantage.
He will not be disadvantaged at the point of selection. Selection is a function of filter interview, exercise phase, interview, fitness test, CBAT score (for an aptitude branch) and medical. Other than that it’s a level playing field.
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Flr72
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Yes that’s how I’ve been looking at it as well. I’ve also been looking at OpenCollege courses I could do that would help me add to education while I’m serving (After Training) and I’ve worked out, I’ll should be finished my Phase 2 training by October 2020 and I’m a 2000 baby so I will have just over 5 years before I would need to be starting IOT (To meet the 26th birthday requirement) so hopefully this will be plenty of time to get more education under my belt, experience in the RAF and apply
(Original post by Fast74)
If you want to join the RAF as a Techy then do so. Once you have completed basic and professional training you are free to apply for your commission at any time. As you will be serving at that point, you will not require A levels; just 5 GCSEs to include Maths and English Grade C. Pilot remains very competitive therefore having other options is a bonus in case you don’t quite make it on your first attempt - in your case being in the RAF will allow you to continue to gain military experience and develop your air mindedness. This is a better option than not being in the RAF in my opinion. Also this route will not disadvantage you at the selection phase in any way. Just remember, for pilot you’ve got to be into IOT by your 26th birthday just to give you an idea of how long you’ve got to achieve your aim. In sum, join now and you won’t have the leave to apply for your commission, you won’t need to get your A levels and you will not be at a disadvantage over others for gaining your commission. Hope this helps.
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Fast74
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(Original post by Flr72)
Yes that’s how I’ve been looking at it as well. I’ve also been looking at OpenCollege courses I could do that would help me add to education while I’m serving (After Training) and I’ve worked out, I’ll should be finished my Phase 2 training by October 2020 and I’m a 2000 baby so I will have just over 5 years before I would need to be starting IOT (To meet the 26th birthday requirement) so hopefully this will be plenty of time to get more education under my belt, experience in the RAF and apply
I think this is a sensible and mature course of action. Many serving individuals, both officer and airman, undertake additional education in their spare time with the many flexible courses available. Good luck; I hope it all works out for you.
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Flr72
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Thank you very much.
(Original post by Fast74)
I think this is a sensible and mature course of action. Many serving individuals, both officer and airman, undertake additional education in their spare time with the many flexible courses available. Good luck; I hope it all works out for you.
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