Discussion in 'The Fleet Air Arm' started by Red_, Jan 31, 2009.

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  1. hello all :)

    I'm currently branch chagning to aircrewman and have my AFG in two weeks. i have trawled through all the posts but can only find posts by officers about their aptitudes. i was wondering if anyone out there has any information on what to expect and the sort of things they will test me on. asides maths that is.

    any help would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Like Scouse, I'm an ex crewie. But I did my selction in the dark ages so wouldn't have a clue about the new system. Sorry.
  3. Red,

    Are you going Pinger or Junglie?
  4. i'm looking to go pinger because of my ops background but would not be disappointed if i was selected for junglie
  5. Pinger grading for me consisted of a maths test on the very first morning. These where then done daily and got progressively harder with less time to complete. Other subjects included the dalton computer, gram analysis, aircraft systems, aircraft roles, target knowledge and quite a few others that i have forgotten about. Importantly though, all the subjects are taught to you first (with exception of maths, speed times distance, etc). The instructors are looking for you to be able to learn quickly, move on to a new subject and regurgitate all the information you have received. Also, expect to do a few fitness tests and make sure your better than RNFT standard, after all the first part of your course will be survival, with combat survival featuring at some point of flying training. You will also get to fly. This will most likely be a winching circuit using some weighted bags to a spot on the ground. Again this is to see if you can transfer skills taught on the ground to the airborne environment, not everyone can.

    Overall its a good, rewarding few weeks.

    It's a good time to get into the branch. Promotion is very good, flying pay can become pensionable at a certain point and service to 55 is available. Also worth considering is the variety of the job. Merlin roles are many and varied, exchange tours on green RAF merlins and Nimrod are up and running, SAR tours on Seaking, UAV operator in Navada, Army Air Corp exchange, ground tour in Virginia plus a few other jobs here and there.

    Hope that helps a bit. God luck and congratulations on choosing to branch change to the best job in the Navy.
  6. Thank-you airy-fairy that information has been a big help. Im really looking forward to joining the branch.
  7. Sod all to do with the extra dosh then!!! :wink:
  8. Pingers get paid more than Junglies? That hold true for officer pilots/observers as well?
  9. Rating aircrew get paid the same, regardless of trade (pinger, jungly or SAR). It increases with time done the same as NCA in the RAF. Not to be confused with flying maintainers or Lynx winchman, both of which are paid less :D
  11. Thats a big step in the right direction. Really pissed me off as a waspie getting less than a pinger and having no one to turn to when I had a problem.

    Wonder if the MOD will consider back pay for me!!!!!! :lol: :lol:
  12. You're embarking on the best branch change you could wish for so expect your Aircrewman instructors to test you fully!
    Be prepared to work hard during grading, the branch can only afford to choose the best.
    The Dalton computer and all manner of speed times distance plus fuel calculations will be drummed into you. Find one if you can before you go on to flying grading and practice as much as possible if you can.
    Grams and other analytical problems will come your way too particularly important in the Pinger's world..
    Information retention is a must in this job as is mental arithmetic.
    Practice this without the use of a calculator and do it in your head i.e 45% of 5220 is..
    You'll fly one sortie in a Merlin I suspect with some winching practice.
    You'll enjoy being on the 'con' giving verbal instructions when winching...
    Hope you get through the medical too and the best of luck :)
  13. Red, Having recently completed Grading this is my guidance.

    Grading is a doddle, on your first day bimble in to the Chiefs office (dont knock), Smack him on the back and say "Now then shippers when does my flying pay kick in". He will probably hand you a set of wings there and then!


    Much of what you have been told has some similarity's with the present Grading. Firstly you will go to RAF Cranwell to the Officer and Aircrew Selection Centre, here you carry out about 4 hours of sycometric testing on computers. Then you go to Shawbury. Here you will be graded for both Cadres of Aircrewman (ASW and Commando), depending on you and your performance you will be offered one or the other. You will need to be very good at maths, Dalton computer, DR Navigation and fuel calculations. You will fly Some Navigation Sorties, as well as a winching Sortie. These flights are conducted in a Squirrel.

    You will then go to Cornwall where you will conduct the ASW side of things, my course found this side a little bit less challenging than Shawbury with things running at a less intense pace. You will then go in the Simulator and probably fly in a Merlin. The emphasis here is on the ASW subjects.

    You will then go to Yeovilton for a day to conduct a strengh test. Which basically involves pulling in a fcuk off long heavy rope in a set time, from a hovering Jungly Seaking. Apparently this for the special forces side of things.

    By this stage you have a feel of which Cadre you wish to join, Most of my course did not know about the Jungly side of things on staring Grading and by the end we all wanted to be Commando Aircrewman except 1 due to location. We lost a couple of lads in the first 2 weeks due to failing on some aspects. One thing that is apparent is that the Graders have license to thin you out if they think you are unsuitable for Aircrew at any stage for any reason.

    Finally you return to Shawbury for final tests and interviews. The grading was incredibly intense, you really are tested to the hilt, mentally and your ability to learn quickly, even how you conduct yourself socially to your ability to stand in a room on your own and address a crowded room of officers. Without a doubt the hardest thing I have ever done. When you pass you feel like you have really acheived what you thought a few weeks earlier was impossible. Take one day at a time and good luck, dig deep!
  14. thankyou so much for the heads up i really had no idea what to expect.

    would it be easier to take my own car or do the lot by train?

    again, many thanks
  15. As an aside from one who removed himself from his second BFT. (Passed on 3rd attempt).

    If it's really what you want, forgo all else until you qualify. The worst mistake I ever made in my whole life was in 1985 when I removed myself from course. All because I got headaches after navigation flights.

    My reasoning being, if this is what the rest of my life is going to be like then sod it - I'm off. Bad move. It was only the pressure of course. Like all training it is tough but it's only to test you. Life in the field is superb and the best career bar none. I later went on to give nav training to the observers on a pinging squadron.

    I read all the wannabe pilot threads and think to myself - taxi drivers. They take the back seat ops boys to their place of work and fly em home at the end of the day.

    Go for it and DON'T give up at any cost. The pain and hard work DO bear fruits.
  16. hello all

    well my five weeks of aircrew grading are finished and i'm happy to say i passed WOO HOO!!! i volunteered and was selected for pinger so just like to say thanks to everyone who gave me advice and a heads up of what to expect your guidance was invaluble and also to anyone who hould read this in future wanting to go aircrewman commando or asw drop me a line and i will endeavour to help i'm starting course in 4 weeks

    thanks again
  17. Congratulations, that's excellent news!
  18. A big well done mate.

    Just keep your head up and focused on those wings.

    My wife was very good during my training. I used to stay at Culdrose at the weekends just be around the lads during the training phase. Even the weekend piss ups were valuable training aids!!!!!!!!! :wink: We walked talked and breathed flying. It's the only way.

    The secret is team work. If an individual on course is struggling with a particular subject, help him. There may be an occasion when he will be able to assist you further on in the course.

    Again, very well done. :thumbleft:
  19. Well done Red :wink: :wink: Bloody pingers everywhere, :wink: :wink: in my previous life i had to straighten the paddles out and de roll the drum after the pingers got a birds nest on the reel, change the litmust paper on the Wessexs . Thought im out of here!! aircrewman for me Ha! Ha! but not pinger :wink: :wink:
  20. Well done Red, you're going to find it a challenge at times but as another ex Pinger Crewie myself I can tell you that if you can hack the training, you'll find the job front line really rewarding. I started as an AB in 1980, got my Aircrewmans Wings in 1985, enjoyed flying so much I went for a commission in 1989 and got my Pilots Wings in '91. You're just getting into the pipeline before the introduction of Merlin Mk2, which is going to have a major effect on guys trying to transfer across in the next 3-4 years. I know the instructors who'll be taking you through and they're firm but fair, show them you're determined and willing to put the effort in and they'll dig out for you in return. Oh and try and keep a clean slate with the Feds - a couple of courses back the CACMN was totally threaders with some guys on course who he had to keep going to table/court with!

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