Air Engineering Officer or Hydrographer

Solusxo

Midshipman
Hi all,

I've been giving some serious thought to joining the RN (again!).

I passed out as one of the old "tifs" as it was then known in early 2003. Went to HMS Sultan for specialist training but ended up PVR'ing and leaving the service.

I put this down to age at the time possibly and my attitude towards failing. Since then I have gained a bachelor's degree in a STEM subject. Essentially it's geospatial science, hydrography, survey engineering etc with a Cat A grade.

I'm in the process of re applying but wondered what people's thoughts were regarding which branch to apply for.

My first choice would still be the air engineering route (STEM degrees for officer training), but I wonder whether the maths element of the training might be a barrier. It's not exactly on par with a BEng in engineering but is still a STEM degree.

Alternatively applying to become a Hydrographer/meteorologist. If this was to become the route for me I'd like to avoid becoming pigeon holed on one of the survey vessels for my entire career. I have worked offshore but the OPEC oil crisis circa 2014 put a halt to a lot of my work.

I've got 30+ years left to work and leaving when I did is still one of my life's regrets so it's an itch that needs to be scratched, and I'd like to look back in the future and be proud of my achievements.

If anyone has any advice for me I'd love to hear from you.

Many thanks.
 

RabC

MIA
I know I am going to get a lot of grief for this but here goes.
I was a CPOWEA and WEO on a survey boat, I left in 2000 and since then have been in the oil, gas and renewable survey sector now acting as a client rep. I tell you my history to show I do have understanding of the business.
I hated my time as a WEO on a survey boat as I have never come across a more un-military like branch of the services. I truly believe that like the Met Office is for the RAF that the hydrographers should be civvy scientists and not given military rank. If you want a military career then head the AEO route, if you want to muddle around doing your own thing then go droggy.
 

Solusxo

Midshipman
What about being the onboard weatherman on a non survey vessel? Doesnt really spike my imagination but maybe a bit more of the real thing being involved with the vessel?
 

Dusty70

War Hero
I know I am going to get a lot of grief for this but here goes.
I was a CPOWEA and WEO on a survey boat, I left in 2000 and since then have been in the oil, gas and renewable survey sector now acting as a client rep. I tell you my history to show I do have understanding of the business.
I hated my time as a WEO on a survey boat as I have never come across a more un-military like branch of the services. I truly believe that like the Met Office is for the RAF that the hydrographers should be civvy scientists and not given military rank. If you want a military career then head the AEO route, if you want to muddle around doing your own thing then go droggy.
Really ?.........I was the POSA on the Bulldog, so I was the POSA, POCA, POWTR, POSTD, POCK, Canteen Manager and.................Quartedeck PO Seaman for specials (I was also Supply Officer for a few weeks after ours had to be dragged down from the funnel naked one night pissed - but that's another dit !)

I joined from the Argonaut where I had been rated up and I must admit I had trouble sleeping the first few days as I had come from a warship with loads of officers, lookouts, comms on the Bridge and Radar and Comms people in the Ops room etc - to Bullldog where I went on the Bridge at about 9ish where there was the OOW and the helsman played noughts and crosses on the chart table whilst the ship was on auto pilot

And yes they were unmilitary in one way in that they were offloaded into the big survey boat for days on end and things were very familiar amongst Officers/SRs/JRs........but the product was supberb and world famous

and of course coming off a war canoe to only 8 SRs, 2 man cabins, in our own discrete SRs compartment (with a window !!) was superb, I for one enjoyed it, there were so many different things to do and, I had a bunch of superb LHs which made things a lot easier

PS our Mess Pres was one of the first (I believe) Charge Chief WEAs - we even had an honest to God (and about as old) CPO Shipwright...........................I don't suppose they exist anymore ?
 

Alfacharlie

War Hero
Depends if you want a lot of sea time or not?
Meto's weren't really attached to frigates/destroyers. Mainly carriers and shore side (RNAS's).
On small ships flight observer would do the job, or a leading metoc (as they were).

I'd be going engineering, but that's my opinion.
 

Solusxo

Midshipman
Also, and I know you might not have the definitive answer, but the requirements state all STEM degrees considered. Now obviously it would be lovely if I had an aerospace engineering degree, but I don't. I have a survey/geomatics degree which probably doesn't have the same level of maths involved. I wonder whether my albeit previous RN experience in the FAA and my quasi science degree would suffice? Further education doesn't bother me, but I don't know whether it would be a bar to entry on that route. If they still ran the artificer program then that would be the obvious route of entry.......... Food for thought.

I do know that my time spent offshore in a survey role wasn't what I expected. I was more interested in the survey engineering side of things such as fault finding and repairing the equipment.
 

RabC

MIA
I do know that my time spent offshore in a survey role wasn't what I expected. I was more interested in the survey engineering side of things such as fault finding and repairing the equipment.
Exactly what I ended up doing and working my way up, Engineer, Engineer in charge, PC now Client Rep.
 

RabC

MIA
Really ?.........I was the POSA on the Bulldog, so I was the POSA, POCA, POWTR, POSTD, POCK, Canteen Manager and.................Quartedeck PO Seaman for specials (I was also Supply Officer for a few weeks after ours had to be dragged down from the funnel naked one night pissed - but that's another dit !)

I joined from the Argonaut where I had been rated up and I must admit I had trouble sleeping the first few days as I had come from a warship with loads of officers, lookouts, comms on the Bridge and Radar and Comms people in the Ops room etc - to Bullldog where I went on the Bridge at about 9ish where there was the OOW and the helsman played noughts and crosses on the chart table whilst the ship was on auto pilot

And yes they were unmilitary in one way in that they were offloaded into the big survey boat for days on end and things were very familiar amongst Officers/SRs/JRs........but the product was supberb and world famous

and of course coming off a war canoe to only 8 SRs, 2 man cabins, in our own discrete SRs compartment (with a window !!) was superb, I for one enjoyed it, there were so many different things to do and, I had a bunch of superb LHs which made things a lot easier

PS our Mess Pres was one of the first (I believe) Charge Chief WEAs - we even had an honest to God (and about as old) CPO Shipwright...........................I don't suppose they exist anymore ?
I was on them when they were painted grey and meant to become part of the real navy. Trying to get “Real Navy” training into the shortcast was a bun fight, all they wanted to do was survey. Fair enough let them survey but don’t give them military authority over real matelots or expect them to be messengers of death.
 

Dusty70

War Hero
I was on them when they were painted grey and meant to become part of the real navy. Trying to get “Real Navy” training into the shortcast was a bun fight, all they wanted to do was survey. Fair enough let them survey but don’t give them military authority over real matelots or expect them to be messengers of death.
I do agree but the RN didn't help - we were classifed as ' mine hunters' and even went on some exercises with Tons - yet we were all steel with towed sonar, you couldn't make it up really (and couldn,t go out in anything over Force 5 cos of the 'bag' underneath !!!
 

Waspie

War Hero
'Weather person' on frigates etc tend to utilise the flights officer aircrew. Only vessels I ever experienced MetO's were carriers.
As the flight aircrewman I would gather the weather data for the flight commander, (pilot), and he would brief the skipper, even when not flying!
However, move on 20 + years and the advent of the ASW Merlins embarked, maybe the ships have a Met/Oceanographer to provide in depth, (no pun intended), weather and oceanography data to the aircrews.
 

Alfacharlie

War Hero
'Weather person' on frigates etc tend to utilise the flights officer aircrew. Only vessels I ever experienced MetO's were carriers.
As the flight aircrewman I would gather the weather data for the flight commander, (pilot), and he would brief the skipper, even when not flying!
However, move on 20 + years and the advent of the ASW Merlins embarked, maybe the ships have a Met/Oceanographer to provide in depth, (no pun intended), weather and oceanography data to the aircrews.
You mean "CAVOK sir"!

Then at launch it's Harry roughers?? I get ya.
 

Solusxo

Midshipman
Does anyone know why they decided to scrap the artificer training program? I do look back with a lot of regret at some of my fellow WAFU oppo's who stuck the hard yards and served alongside ground troops in afghan. Pisses me off that I was so flippant and decided to PVR. There were guys who were selected alongside me who struggled a hell of a lot more that made the final cut........ Kind of want to make amends for a poor decision made in haste and youth
 
Because it resulted in a massively top heavy WE Dept that couldn't be sustained by the ABs that were going to form the base of the pyramid.

There was also considerable frustration reported about "Tifs getting their buttons in their cornflakes whilst everyone else had to work for theirs"...

It's a bit like people complaining about food charges whilst ashore - you complain enough and you get what you ask for.

And to be honest, with Fast Track ETs, you can get near Tif like promotion timescales.
 
Anyway - to the OPs question.

Both are interesting branches. AE Officers more so than other Engineer Officers do "practical" Engineering - mainly due to the nature of aviation certification.

HMs can do the sort of ship based roles you are asking about (i.e. non-surveying). Their role is in a bit of flux at the moment, but it can be intellectually demanding and satisfying.

I'd happily do either tbh.
 

Solusxo

Midshipman
Anyway - to the OPs question.

Both are interesting branches. AE Officers more so than other Engineer Officers do "practical" Engineering - mainly due to the nature of aviation certification.

HMs can do the sort of ship based roles you are asking about (i.e. non-surveying). Their role is in a bit of flux at the moment, but it can be intellectually demanding and satisfying.

I'd happily do either tbh.
HM's????
 

Taztiff

War Hero
Because it resulted in a massively top heavy WE Dept that couldn't be sustained by the ABs that were going to form the base of the pyramid.
Certainly when the OM's were created. All of a sudden the WE branch was Officers and Senior Rates only. But it could be painful to lose your section 'WEM' to parts of ship whenever you needed him.
Seems to have reversed somewhat with ETs, my lad is a LETWE and is frequently doing jobs onboard that once would have been the remit of section Senior Rates (Tiff, Mech and POWEM). Carry out Preps for firing and then get a 'non' weapon WE senior rate to sign for them.

And to be honest, with Fast Track ETs, you can get near Tif like promotion timescales.
Agreed
 
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