I work in the RAF Engineering team - ask me anything Watch

RAF Engineering
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Flight Lieutenant Keith Edge is a member of the Engineer Cadre in the RAF bringing 23 years of experience in operations both based in the UK and overseas working with multiple nationalities and agencies. With experience in the Aerospace System discipline, he has a wealth of knowledge to share from across the World of Engineering in the RAF having worked a multitude of air platforms from The Red Arrows to the current 5th generation fighter; Eurofighter Typhoon.


Ask him anything by replying below.
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LoyaltyAb0veAll
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Has any of your family been in RAF or the armed forces in general before you pursued your career within it?
How complex is the engineering aspect across the fighter jets you have worked with, do they differ severely?
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RAF Engineering
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Before I joined the RAF I was in the motor industry but my future brother-in-law was serving. When I looked at the opportunities and the adventures he had been offer I want some of it. The training and the salary was much better than that I had obtained in the motor industry so I took the opportunity to apply.

As for complexity of the different aircraft I have been involved with has changed over the years. Having worked Hawk and Tornado; which are mechanical and analogy aircraft to Typhoon which is a digital platform. The current development of fighter aircraft has advanced and is something that is very exciting to be involved with. If you are computer minded it is a career you would certainly like to get involved with.
(Original post by LoyaltyAb0veAll)
Has any of your family been in RAF or the armed forces in general before you pursued your career within it?
How complex is the engineering aspect across the fighter jets you have worked with, do they differ severely?
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fgalv
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I’m currently applying to be an Engineer Officer (Aerosystems), thanks for coming by to answer questions.
Can you run through what sort of postings you’ve had? Any particular highlights? Have you had many posts abroad?

Do you have any advice for someone just starting out?
(Original post by RAF Engineering)
Before I joined the RAF I was in the motor industry but my future brother-in-law was serving. When I looked at the opportunities and the adventures he had been offer I want some of it. The training and the salary was much better than that I had obtained in the motor industry so I took the opportunity to apply.

As for complexity of the different aircraft I have been involved with has changed over the years. Having worked Hawk and Tornado; which are mechanical and analogy aircraft to Typhoon which is a digital platform. The current development of fighter aircraft has advanced and is something that is very exciting to be involved with. If you are computer minded it is a career you would certainly like to get involved with.
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RAF Engineering
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Hi, well my career as an RAF engineer officer has been quiet varied and I have had some amazing roles. On completing my professional training I was lucky enough to be selected to join The Red Arrows as the Officer Commanding Engineering Support Flight (ESF). So what was that role about? Well I managed the supply, training, aircraft documentation and air safety activities relating to engineering. I was busy but a fantastic role where I learnt so much from the more senior officer and the tradesman and women. I has also very fortunate to join the team on their Far East tour to China. Hard work but the experience was just once in a life time. My role during the tour was to manage the aircraft and provide support; arranging airfield support, fuel and transport and hotels for everyone.
My next assignment was to RAF Coningsby as a Typhoon Junior Engineering Officer (JEngO). Again another fantastic role where I managed a shift of engineers; 40 strong to maintain a daily flying program. I had a fleet of 10 Typhoon's to maintain along side provide engineer advice and authority to work on armed aircraft that provided Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) to the UK and it's airspace. During my time I was deployed on excerises in the UAE and the USA. Again, hard work due it is not all work!. Before my tour finished I did deploy on Op SHADER; Cyprus for 4months. Working 12hr shifts in charge of 40 engineers and 6 fully armed aircraft operating of Syria.

My best advice would be take everything they throw at you at OASC at Cranwell as a real situation. The exercises are there to test you as a leader, planner and your ability to think laterally but just to solve the problem.
During training put in 100% and you will get out 100%, I enjoyed it, I liked the physical aspect of the training but again it is designed to shape you so do not worry if you don't get it straightaway the instructors are there to teach you.

Enjoy it as you go through and take as many opportunities to expand your knowledge of the RAF and your chosen branch; RAF station visits, speaking to current personnel and research.

Hope that helps and good luck.
(Original post by fgalv)
I’m currently applying to be an Engineer Officer (Aerosystems), thanks for coming by to answer questions.
Can you run through what sort of postings you’ve had? Any particular highlights? Have you had many posts abroad?

Do you have any advice for someone just starting out?
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Snake0917
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Hello, I am currently applying for the Survival Equipment Specialist. Have you ever work with the SES? Do you know what is the best way to prepare prior training? Also, what is the promotion like as an SES?
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RAF Engineering
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Hello, yes I have worked along side the Safety Equipment Specialists (SES) and have also had the pleasure of being their manager. Before I commissioned I was an aircraft technician and was employed on fast jet squadrons which has several SES in the team. They had a very important role maintaining all of the aircrew safety equipment; specialist helmets, life jackets and flying clothing.
I was fortunate to be the SES's line manager whilst of the Red Arrows and the team of 3 SES had a busy role to play on the team. Not only did we fly 9 aircraft four times day which required the servicing and maintenance of all 9 pilots safety equipment but the SES kitted out many famous people to fly with the team.
On Typhoon their role is even more diverse, maintaining and packing aircraft brake chutes and managing all the different specialist helmets with built in sensor systems at are used on Typhoon.

It is a varied role and one that will take you wherever the aircraft go. As for promotion, promotion is done by selection. You will have to complete your apprenticeship and each year you will be assessed against your peers and if you work hard you will be in a suitable place to be selected for promotion. Timings and numbers are difficult to predict as situations change the requirement each year, with the introduction of new aircraft and more complex pilot aids the more SES's will be required. Hope that helps.
(Original post by Snake0917)
Hello, I am currently applying for the Survival Equipment Specialist. Have you ever work with the SES? Do you know what is the best way to prepare prior training? Also, what is the promotion like as an SES?
Last edited by RAF Engineering; 4 weeks ago
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jacob.verlander
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Hi, I read about promotion timelines for officers after IOT and I know that promotion to Flight Lieutenant is done on a time basis. The sources I have read are conflicting on the times and how they differ for each role and if you have a degree. May you share what thepromotion timelines are currently please. Thanks
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RAF Engineering
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Good morning, The current policy on promotion to Flight Lieutenant for the engineering branch is time promotion. The timeline for the the promotion does depend on the academic level held. To expand, if you have a BEng or equivalent it is Officer cadet service + 2.5 years. If you have a MEng or equivalent it will Officer cadet service + 1.5 years. Officer cadet is the time in IOT.

Hope that explains it.
(Original post by jacob.verlander)
Hi, I read about promotion timelines for officers after IOT and I know that promotion to Flight Lieutenant is done on a time basis. The sources I have read are conflicting on the times and how they differ for each role and if you have a degree. May you share what thepromotion timelines are currently please. Thanks
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jacob.verlander
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Hi, I read about promotion timelines for officers after IOT and I know that promotion to Flight Lieutenant is done on a time basis. The sources I have read are conflicting on the times and how they differ for each role and if you have a degree. May you share what thepromotion timelines are currently please. Thanks
(Original post by RAF Engineering)
Good morning, The current policy on promotion to Flight Lieutenant for the engineering branch is time promotion. The timeline for the the promotion does depend on the academic level held. To expand, if you have a BEng or equivalent it is Officer cadet service + 2.5 years. If you have a MEng or equivalent it will Officer cadet service + 1.5 years. Officer cadet is the time in IOT.

Hope that explains it.
Thank you. How does that change for other branches? I'm looking at piloting.
Last edited by jacob.verlander; 4 weeks ago
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RAF Engineering
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So for pilot, it is Officer cadet service + 2.5yrs. For all other branches it is Officer cadet service + 3.5yrs.
(Original post by jacob.verlander)
Hi, I read about promotion timelines for officers after IOT and I know that promotion to Flight Lieutenant is done on a time basis. The sources I have read are conflicting on the times and how they differ for each role and if you have a degree. May you share what thepromotion timelines are currently please. Thanks

Thank you. How does that change for other branches? I'm looking at piloting.
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David91!
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Looking into joining the RAF as an apprentice mechanical aircraft engineer, I have higher maths,English, physics and have level one and two in light vehicle maintenance and repair. I am 27 and have a young child (4) and I am married , my question is would it be hard on family life? Any advice would be appreciated Thank youDavid
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Surnia
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(Original post by David91!)
Looking into joining the RAF as an apprentice mechanical aircraft engineer, I have higher maths,English, physics and have level one and two in light vehicle maintenance and repair. I am 27 and have a young child (4) and I am married , my question is would it be hard on family life? Any advice would be appreciated Thank youDavid
Have a search on here as there are other threads on this topic.

There will be times during basic training when you won't be able to get away to see the family. Phase 2 training is more relaxed and there'll be free weekends, if it isn't possible to have housing there; your training will last about 16 months. WiFi in accommodation isn't always great, but you will basically have phone and SM/Skype to keep in contact.

Once you are in your job, you would need to consider whether your family would move with you. As an airman you'll have a relative amount of stability and will be looking at a few years in each post, and you would be eligible for married quarters. If you already own or rent your house, you wouldn't be alone in living on base during the week and going home at weekends or on breaks between shifts. However, there will be commitments that keep you on camp, like guard duty, parades, secondary duties (activities with clubs and societies for your career progression, and in support of the station). You'd also have to think about the length of the commute, if you just had a Saturday and Sunday off. You could also have periods of a few weeks or several months away with exercises or on operations. If your wife works, could she get another job if she moved? Does she drive? If she lived at home, would she have a support network when you aren't there? What would you want to do about your child and school?

There's a lot to discuss in general with your wife, but not a lot you can plan until you are a lot further into the training process. Plenty of people do manage a military career and family.
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