VictoriaSponge98
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Hi, a bit of background, a few years ago I finished my engineering degree and went straight from uni to work as cabin crew. I have always been a complete av geek and wanted to work on aircraft. I dreamed if being a pilot, hence doing the engineering degree, but spending hundreds of thousands on training for often little job stability to become a commercial pilot is not financially realistic. Cabin crew seemed like the next best thing. Anyway, I absolutely loved working as crew but like a lot of others was recently made redundant, and I can’t see many crew job opportunities anytime soon!
I’d never really considered the joining the RAF until recently, and I’ll admit that I’ve not done huge amounts of research yet, but I do meet the minimum requirements for applying for a pilot role, amongst others (although obviously I know that there’s meeting minimum requirements and actually being suitable).
Is a pilot role just a bit of a pipe dream. Obviously it’s hugely competitive anyway, but is it the sort of thing that most candidates will have prepared for since they were tiny?
What other roles involve flying? The only obvious one I could find was air and ground steward, but I would now prefer something where I could put my degree to good use.
I should add that I am also female, and quite a girly one at that! I wouldn’t say that I’m intimidated by joining the RAF because of this but I’m certainly not typical ‘Alpha Male’ material!
If anyone has any thoughts it would be appreciated as I could use some guidance. Thanks
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Nevi
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Im sure you know there is a huge jump between cabin crew to RAF pilot. It seems that you loved working as cabin crew and that is what is inspiring you in this way. Have you looked at the other careers provided by the RAF that may be more like the cabin crew job you used to have? Pilots are such a small percentage of the workforce and are completely useless without the many many people that work around them. Sure it’s not as ‘cool’ as zipping round in some jet - but its in no way less important. You have an engineering degree (hats off to you) have you looked at the more technical roles? Why fly a plane when you can fix one?
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VictoriaSponge98
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(Original post by Nevi)
Im sure you know there is a huge jump between cabin crew to RAF pilot. It seems that you loved working as cabin crew and that is what is inspiring you in this way. Have you looked at the other careers provided by the RAF that may be more like the cabin crew job you used to have? Pilots are such a small percentage of the workforce and are completely useless without the many many people that work around them. Sure it’s not as ‘cool’ as zipping round in some jet - but its in no way less important. You have an engineering degree (hats off to you) have you looked at the more technical roles? Why fly a plane when you can fix one?
Thank you, you do make a very good point, and it is something that I will definitely look into. I think that I just still have this dream of actually flying which has never left me (I appreciate that might sound a bit naive given at the minute it seems like a luxury to have a job, let alone one that you enjoy!). A B757 captain who was ex RAF suggested that I should join about a year ago and I’d never given it much thought until now, but the engineering side does seem like a solid possibility
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Nevi
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(Original post by VictoriaSponge98)
Thank you, you do make a very good point, and it is something that I will definitely look into. I think that I just still have this dream of actually flying which has never left me (I appreciate that might sound a bit naive given at the minute it seems like a luxury to have a job, let alone one that you enjoy!). A B757 captain who was ex RAF suggested that I should join about a year ago and I’d never given it much thought until now, but the engineering side does seem like a solid possibility
Honestly, the fitness requirement for pilots is gruelling. That’s what put me off. Even then if you meet it you’re competing against others (many who have practically trained their whole lives in the hope they get in) and you still may not get in.

Without a doubt flying is cool. My favourite part of the holiday is flying there. But I really think your skillset would be better suited to a technical role than a pilot role. You’ll still get amazing perks and the chance for foreign postings and be able to get up close to these cool aircraft with a job like that. If anything - the pilots should admire those people for allowing them to be up there lol
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RAF_Adam
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(Original post by VictoriaSponge98)
Hi, a bit of background, a few years ago I finished my engineering degree and went straight from uni to work as cabin crew. I have always been a complete av geek and wanted to work on aircraft. I dreamed if being a pilot, hence doing the engineering degree, but spending hundreds of thousands on training for often little job stability to become a commercial pilot is not financially realistic. Cabin crew seemed like the next best thing. Anyway, I absolutely loved working as crew but like a lot of others was recently made redundant, and I can’t see many crew job opportunities anytime soon!
I’d never really considered the joining the RAF until recently, and I’ll admit that I’ve not done huge amounts of research yet, but I do meet the minimum requirements for applying for a pilot role, amongst others (although obviously I know that there’s meeting minimum requirements and actually being suitable).
Is a pilot role just a bit of a pipe dream. Obviously it’s hugely competitive anyway, but is it the sort of thing that most candidates will have prepared for since they were tiny?
What other roles involve flying? The only obvious one I could find was air and ground steward, but I would now prefer something where I could put my degree to good use.
I should add that I am also female, and quite a girly one at that! I wouldn’t say that I’m intimidated by joining the RAF because of this but I’m certainly not typical ‘Alpha Male’ material!
If anyone has any thoughts it would be appreciated as I could use some guidance. Thanks
Hi

As long as you meet all of the entry and eligibility criteria listed on the role page on the RAF Recruitment website you can submit an application. It's how you do at Officer and Aircrew Selection that will determine whether you get to be a pilot in the RAF. You'll have the same chance as everyone else who submits an application does.

With regards to other roles, have you had a good read through all of the roles listed on the website? Aircrew roles are primarily involved with flying, but others do too. If you have an engineering degree, have you thought about an Engineer Officer? You'll work on aircraft, although not as 'hands on' as the technicians, you'll also travel if/when your Sqn goes on exercise or operations etc.

We do advise everyone to apply for the role they want to do as you could be doing it for a long time, so it needs to be right for you.

Kind regards
Adam
RAF Recruitment
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Drewski
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(Original post by VictoriaSponge98)
Is a pilot role just a bit of a pipe dream. Obviously it’s hugely competitive anyway, but is it the sort of thing that most candidates will have prepared for since they were tiny?
What other roles involve flying?
Yes, it's competitive. But so is becoming commercial cabin crew. You did that...

Look at WSO and WSOp roles for other things in the air.

With pilot, bear in mind the age limit.

(Original post by Nevi)
Honestly, the fitness requirement for pilots is gruelling. That’s what put me off. Even then if you meet it you’re competing against others (many who have practically trained their whole lives in the hope they get in) and you still may not get in.
It's the exact same fitness test every other officer has to pass. There are a few more medical tests first, but they're not really things you can prepare for. In terms of actual physical fitness, the standards required are not onerous.
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user_name1234
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Sorry to hear about your redundancy. I know too well the hard hit that the aviation industry has had.
If you meet the requirements for Pilot; give it a go. Someone has to do the job - why shouldn’t it be you?

Yes the process is hard, but it’s hard for a reason and as @drewski said - Cabin crew selection is no easy feat and you did successfully passed that. Alternatively (again as suggested) - there’s the roles of WSO.

Don’t let anyone put you off or so ‘oh it’s too hard to become a pilot - don’t bother’. They tend to be the ones who didn’t give it their all (Or weren’t fully committed) and fell at the first hurdle only to then spread their negativity to others.

The very best of luck.
Last edited by user_name1234; 1 month ago
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Surnia
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F, ex-RAF Engineer Officer, happy to answer general questions.

As an ex-RAF Recruiter as well, I can say that the vast majority of people don't train their whole lives to join up. What they have done, and not necessarily with a particular career in mind, is that they get involved in activities. They do societies and clubs at school and uni, scouts or cadets, charity work, mentor, volunteer, play sports. And what's more, they take on responsibilities within those activities; they are life's natural doers and organisers and leaders. You've got something of an advantage here with your job, but probably there are other things you've done and are doing that can show the 'leadership potential' the RAF looks for.

Ultimately, it doesn't matter what grades you have or how many sit-ups you can do above the pass rate; if you meet the minimum requirements listed on the recruitment website, you are suitable to join and during selection you aren't judged on those things anyway. There's a whole raft of other tests and there's no telling who will get through or who won't. I was at OASC with the daughter of an RAF officer and she failed miserably at interview, and I've seen graduates fail the AST and those who've come out of their shell since Filter Interview to win awards during Basic at Halton.

if you are good enough you'll make it and the competition doesn't matter. You only ever see a small percentage of who you are up against anyway, so whilst you need people on board with certain of the exercises, you concentrate on how you are doing and that's all that matters.
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VictoriaSponge98
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(Original post by Drewski)
Yes, it's competitive. But so is becoming commercial cabin crew. You did that...


It's the exact same fitness test every other officer has to pass. There are a few more medical tests first, but they're not really things you can prepare for. In terms of actual physical fitness, the standards required are not onerous.
Thank you, you have reassured me that It’s not a completely crazy idea...

(Original post by user_name1234)
Sorry to hear about your redundancy. I know too well the hard hit that the aviation industry has had.
If you meet the requirements for Pilot; give it a go. Someone has to do the job - why shouldn’t it be you?

Don’t let anyone put you off or so ‘oh it’s too hard to become a pilot - don’t bother’. They tend to be the ones who didn’t give it their all (Or weren’t fully committed) and fell at the first hurdle only to then spread their negativity to others.

The very best of luck
Thanks 🙂

I’m genuinely leaning towards just submitting a pilot an application and seeing what happens. Ideally I would prefer to wait a few months or so as I do like to over prepare; I feel like I could do with learning a lot more about the RAF and it’s operations in general before applying. On the RAF website it states that you can apply for a pilot role now, but how often do they recruit? Is it a year round thing with a target number of recruits or do they have periodic recruitment windows?

With regards to the WSO and engineering officers (thank you for the suggestions), I had a quick look on the RAF website and I would definitely be interested and their upper age limits are much higher so am I right in thinking that I could pursue those after an unsuccessful pilot application?

Thank you all for the help and apologies for all the questions 🙂
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VictoriaSponge98
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(Original post by Surnia)
F, ex-RAF Engineer Officer, happy to answer general questions.

As an ex-RAF Recruiter as well, I can say that the vast majority of people don't train their whole lives to join up. What they have done, and not necessarily with a particular career in mind, is that they get involved in activities. They do societies and clubs at school and uni, scouts or cadets, charity work, mentor, volunteer, play sports. And what's more, they take on responsibilities within those activities; they are life's natural doers and organisers and leaders. You've got something of an advantage here with your job, but probably there are other things you've done and are doing that can show the 'leadership potential' the RAF looks for.

Ultimately, it doesn't matter what grades you have or how many sit-ups you can do above the pass rate; if you meet the minimum requirements listed on the recruitment website, you are suitable to join and during selection you aren't judged on those things anyway. There's a whole raft of other tests and there's no telling who will get through or who won't. I was at OASC with the daughter of an RAF officer and she failed miserably at interview, and I've seen graduates fail the AST and those who've come out of their shell since Filter Interview to win awards during Basic at Halton.

if you are good enough you'll make it and the competition doesn't matter. You only ever see a small percentage of who you are up against anyway, so whilst you need people on board with certain of the exercises, you concentrate on how you are doing and that's all that matters.
Thank you this is exactly what I needed to hear! If you don’t mind my asking, how many of your colleagues were women? I was one of the only girls on my course and uni and I wondered whether it was similar numbers of female engineers? It’s not something that bothers me particularly but I’ve now just become accustomed to working in a mostly female environment and was curious
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StriderHort
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(Is Loadmaster Sgt still an RAF thing? I'm sure that's a role I looked at yonks ago, that sounds...kinda cabin crewy? )
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RAF_Adam
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(Original post by VictoriaSponge98)
Thank you, you have reassured me that It’s not a completely crazy idea...


Thanks 🙂

I’m genuinely leaning towards just submitting a pilot an application and seeing what happens. Ideally I would prefer to wait a few months or so as I do like to over prepare; I feel like I could do with learning a lot more about the RAF and it’s operations in general before applying. On the RAF website it states that you can apply for a pilot role now, but how often do they recruit? Is it a year round thing with a target number of recruits or do they have periodic recruitment windows?

With regards to the WSO and engineering officers (thank you for the suggestions), I had a quick look on the RAF website and I would definitely be interested and their upper age limits are much higher so am I right in thinking that I could pursue those after an unsuccessful pilot application?

Thank you all for the help and apologies for all the questions 🙂
Hi

The entire application process normally takes between 3-9 months from start to finish. But it's going to take longer currently, for obvious reasons. You have plenty of time to get ready for the different stages of the process if you apply now. Recruitment is constant all year round with intakes for phasew one training as people pass Officer and Aircrew Selection.

You'll be advised on your options at every stage of the process if you're unsuccessful for any reason.

Kind regards
Adam
RAF Recruitment
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VictoriaSponge98
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(Original post by RAF_Adam)
Hi

The entire application process normally takes between 3-9 months from start to finish. But it's going to take longer currently, for obvious reasons. You have plenty of time to get ready for the different stages of the process if you apply now. Recruitment is constant all year round with intakes for phasew one training as people pass Officer and Aircrew Selection.

You'll be advised on your options at every stage of the process if you're unsuccessful for any reason.

Kind regards
Adam
RAF Recruitment
Perfect thank you
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AlphaTango
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You can put up to three roles on your application. If your dream is to be a pilot and meet all the basic requirements, then put it as your top choice there’s only one way to find out if you’re good enough.

With your degree as stated it opens up the world of engineering officer, an entirely different role to pilot and still competitive.

If your desire is more aircrew then WSO could be an option it depends what you really want to do.

All three of those roles require a certain skill set and are competitive, the selection process is tough. The RAF constantly recruits in most roles it’s just the number that are selected that changes depending on demand and training pipelines.

As for male/female the vast majority of employees are men this does vary role to role (pilot is especially male dominated) but don’t let that put you off there will be plenty of like minded talented women that you can spend your time with they just might not work directly with you day to day.
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Surnia
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(Original post by VictoriaSponge98)
Thank you, you have reassured me that It’s not a completely crazy idea...


Thanks 🙂

I’m genuinely leaning towards just submitting a pilot an application and seeing what happens. Ideally I would prefer to wait a few months or so as I do like to over prepare; I feel like I could do with learning a lot more about the RAF and it’s operations in general before applying. On the RAF website it states that you can apply for a pilot role now, but how often do they recruit? Is it a year round thing with a target number of recruits or do they have periodic recruitment windows?

With regards to the WSO and engineering officers (thank you for the suggestions), I had a quick look on the RAF website and I would definitely be interested and their upper age limits are much higher so am I right in thinking that I could pursue those after an unsuccessful pilot application?

Thank you all for the help and apologies for all the questions 🙂
It's kind of "if they are accepting applications, they are recruiting". Yes, there are quotas, but there's no telling where they are in that as people drop out at different stages of selection and training, so apply when you are ready (though it's advisable to check your medical records to make sure there's no obvious showstoppers and ensure you already meet the fitness standards). RAF_Adam would know how many roles you can apply for, so you could put pilot and maybe 2 others? Not sure these days.
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Kerzen
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VS

In which discipline is your Engineering Degree?
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Surnia
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(Original post by VictoriaSponge98)
Thank you this is exactly what I needed to hear! If you don’t mind my asking, how many of your colleagues were women? I was one of the only girls on my course and uni and I wondered whether it was similar numbers of female engineers? It’s not something that bothers me particularly but I’ve now just become accustomed to working in a mostly female environment and was curious
My experience personally and in general is that female engineer officers and techies were a minority. There was a time when there were more female pilots than female engineer officers!

The most F Engineer Officers I've come across in any one place is 4; once on a flying station, once in an office at an HQ job, but that was exceptional. At the other extreme I've been the only female on the engineering rosta of a flying squadron; there other 5 Engineer Officers, all male, but one of those was the boss and he 'headhunted' me into the job. I've also had jobs where I've deputised for my bosses and that was on merit, so being female has never been a problem; it's what you make of it and how you do the job

That said, there were other females around the squadron in admin or Ops or logistics, and stations had a fair few female officers across all the roles, so you can have a girly cadre to get together with.
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VictoriaSponge98
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(Original post by Kerzen)
VS

In which discipline is your Engineering Degree?
Design and manufacture BEng, so it might not be quite as easily applied to the RAF as say electrical or mechanical would? It is accredited to IET though and bizarrely enough I’m sure partly to IMechE.

(Original post by Surnia)
My experience personally and in general is that female engineer officers and techies were a minority. There was a time when there were more female pilots than female engineer officers!

The most F Engineer Officers I've come across in any one place is 4; once on a flying station, once in an office at an HQ job, but that was exceptional. At the other extreme I've been the only female on the engineering rosta of a flying squadron; there other 5 Engineer Officers, all male, but one of those was the boss and he 'headhunted' me into the job. I've also had jobs where I've deputised for my bosses and that was on merit, so being female has never been a problem; it's what you make of it and how you do the job

That said, there were other females around the squadron in admin or Ops or logistics, and stations had a fair few female officers across all the roles, so you can have a girly cadre to get together with.
Thank you, it’s good to get an idea of what it might be like
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Kerzen
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VS

I was going to suggest looking at Engineering in the Royal Navy too, in case you found that of interest.

I know that you are also interested in becoming a pilot; it's a good idea to have a back-up plan in that case, as only a small percentage of the people who start the application process for that role actually get to begin their training at BRNC.

https://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/enginee...BoCX9MQAvD_BwE

https://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/careers...-air-arm/pilot

Good luck with whichever route you choose - these roles are good jobs whichever of the three Services you opt for.
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BareFacedLoady
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(Original post by StriderHort)
(Is Loadmaster Sgt still an RAF thing? I'm sure that's a role I looked at yonks ago, that sounds...kinda cabin crewy? )
Loadmaster is most definitely NOT cabin crew....despite the odd brew being made for the captain!

Happy to help out with any questions on the Loadmaster (WSOp) role
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