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Good afternoon, any comment or advice would be greatly appreciated.

So, just a brief understanding of my current joining up process. In September 2019, I officially started my application to join the Royal Navy as an Officer Pilot. This was just when I was starting my second year of A levels so I thought this would be more than enough time to be able to join at least as something when I finished college in June 2020.

I very quickly ran into issues during the medical stage. I failed the peak flow test initially which meant I was not fit for general service and suggested that I had asthma. After months of to and throw between myself and Capita, they finally let me retry and turns out it was just a shoddy technique and I passed second time easily. Unfortunately though, after passing my initial medical assessment, the Capita doctor wrote a note on my application saying "fit for service" however "unfit for trade". This would be down to having migraines on my medical record.

Now, my history of migraines is that in late high school 5+ years ago, I went through a week where I thought I had a number of bad headaches. That was then put on my record as a migraine by my GP. Now since that date, I have not had anything similar to what I had but Capita picked up on it. After talking to my AFCO, they told me to get a doctors note of their opinion which could be used to write an appeal. This is exactly what I did with the note saying something along the line of "Does not have a history of migraine" and "went through a short period 5 years ago where symptoms of a migraine was shown".

Now this is where things have just shut down. At this point, my application had transferred from Pilot to Observer. This was just a personal choice as I felt this was something I would enjoy and excel at more. With COVID my AFCO shut down for 2+ months. I wasn't able to get in contact with them at all and I couldn't find a mobile number for my specific attached officer. After they reopened, I was stuck in the predicament of my AFCO not knowing if I was able to move onto the next stage of the application. My application said PASSED but had a note of "unfit for trade" therefore my AFCO asked Capita if I could move onto the next stage. It has now been stuck at this for a good month or 2 with my AFCO not knowing what to do and Capita not replying. I ring every week and I get the same answer of Capita not getting back to my AFCO on the matter.

I was thinking that if Capita approved my application however I am unfit for trade, I would move onto the next stage but would just have to appeal at the Aircrew Selection Medical stage later on.

The questions I have would be:
- Who actually decides on trade medical status? Would it be Capita or the Aircrew Selection Medical stage?
- Do I have a chance of appealing the "unfit for trade" decision?
- Now I have transferred to Observer application, would I still need the same level of medical excellence as a pilot application?

I would really appreciate any advice or comments as I really don't know what to do and don't want to be in the same position 6 months down the line. I have a passion for aviation and I feel like it is something worth fighting for hence not backing down to a different trade.

Much appreciated,
Name deleted by Mod.
Last edited by a moderator:


War Hero
Aircrew medical standards for entry are pretty stringent due to cost of training and they generally have a deeper talent pool of applicants than many other 'trades' (branches) so are consequently rigorously applied across all aircrew specialisations.

The RAF, not the RN, are the aviation medical specialists and have the final call and possibly this is where the delays have arisen due to the fact the preliminary RN medical aspect may well have been referred to the RAF to determine whether the appeal is viable and permitted to proceed to the next stage of the medical at RAF Cranwell. There was a pause in face to face medicals due to C-19 from an RN perspective and a backlog generated despite the fact RN recruitment continued throughout however my guess is that the Army & RAF, who turned off the tap completely, have an even greater backlog to clear.

Not great news for those in the recruiting pipeline unfortunately, but the priorities with regard medicals will be given to those joining this year rather than next.

Fingers-crossed, all goes as you'd hope.
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