Career progression, Captain and beyond?

Discussion in 'The Fleet Air Arm' started by IamBrennan, Aug 5, 2014.

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  1. I was just wondering about the career progression of a pilot officer within the FAA and I was wondering is it possible to become a captain within the fleet air arm and higher flag ranks without switching to the pwo route and being captain of a ship, is there any way to be a captain and beyond and not be a warfare officer, even if it is in a non-flying capacity? thanks.
  2. As a pilot you are still on the Seaman Officer list and, as such, you will have to tick the boxes that others of the same branch will have to. Seaman Officer implies driving boats around and if you want to rise up the ranks of Seaman Officer, because that's what you are, then you'll have to do some boat driving as well; so you'll have to get your Bridge Watchkeeping Certificate etc and do the things that Fisheads do. You'll also need a fairly broad skill set to get to Flag rank, so relying on your flying qualifications will not be enough as that will only be considered as one string to your bow. In addition to being able to fly you'll need to do something else like Navigating Officer, PWO, UnderwaterblokeO etc and you'll undoubtedly need to get behind a desk and learn to shuffle papers, usually while scowling at the Crabs and Pongos in some 'joint' headquarters somewhere.

    As you can probably see, the answer to your question is 'no'. It would be lovely to fly aircraft around all day and make Admiral but as the Royal Navy is somehow related to boats and stuff, you'll have to step out of the cockpit and learn to say "avahst me hearties, starboard ten, man the braces" and other such nautical terms.
    • Like Like x 2
  3. wave_dodger

    wave_dodger War Hero Book Reviewer

    Pontius, you're showing your vintage my friend - it's Warfare Officer these days!

    To the OP Pontius is spot on, you may make it to SO1 (Commander) as a specialist aviator but even then that's relatively rare. To get to OF5 (Captain) and higher the Navy want you to be broadly employable; you will have done ACSC (the Advanced Command and Staff Course) as one step, most likely completed the PWO course, been an XO of a frigate or destroyer; Your SO1 command tour could be a squadron or a ship if you are lucky; you will doubtlessly have been put into a staff position in a Battle Staff, PJHQ (Permanent Joint Headquarters) in J3 (operations), Air Command or MoD in the Ops Directorate to utilise any aviation/operational knowledge, or you may have been put into a broader role (Personnel Strategy, Manning or Joint Planning for example); if you are exceptionally lucky and on track for OF6 (Commodore) you could get command of a large ship or an air station - but all this time you are competing with fellow Warfare Officers, of who many will have spent the first 12-14 years of there career largely at sea.

    It's not impossible, if you set your sights high but you will need to constantly work and push to drive a distinct career path. A lot of hard work and luck to be in the right job at the right time and get the right reports.

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  4. 'Warfare Officer'!! You'll be telling me next that they got rid of the GL/SL division :biggrin:
  5. The Daughters ex had a cunning plan, go Navigator/Observer? on a Bagger (required a navi with a pilots ticket) gets your Pilots, Bridge W/K + Nav tickets, onwards and upwards.
    I think at the time Pilot was Short Commision? Navi general list/long Commision?

    May have worked if he hadn't sold a car which strictly speaking didn't belong to him.
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2014
  6. If you wish to operate aircraft past Lt Cdr you need to join the RAF.
  7. The squadron CO of NSW was a Cdr, whether that was a crab thing or the RN just falling into line I don't know. I would say the new CO of 809 NAS will be a Cdr?

    Nice bloke, well spoken until you get a beer in him, then he sounds like Barry off Auf Wiedersehen, Pet
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2014
  8. Indeed, but he's a CO first, a WAFU second. More to the point, he'll have done Staff Jobs prior to and after being SPLOT, and he'll never fly again* post Command.

    *Well, he might for a check flight or whatever, but not as a job.
  9. The same can be said about the crabs then? There's not many Group Captains if any in flying roles? Maybe royal flight?

    We had a number of 899 squadron exchange Sqd Ldrs transfer to the dark side as they had no chance of flying when they returned.

    Join the army, you'll be a captain in no time
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  10. There seems to much more cockpit time for crabs at OF5; I'm sure they have some reason for it.
  11. I'm glad for your daughter's sake that he's an ex, for Walter Mitty springs to mind. There's no requirement for an AEW Observer to have a pilot's 'ticket' and I don't know of any that have one. Perhaps some may have civilian private pilots licences but they wouldn't be military pilots of else they'd be part of the two-winged master race and not the holders of a moth brevet. Likewise, there would have been no need for him to be a pilot at all if he wanted to switch from the (then) General List and make his way up through the Fishead pipeline because he could have done exactly the same thing as a 0. Pilot and Observer could both be SL short or medium commission or transfer to GL (if they weren't one already) and have a medium (26 years/age 38 whichever is the later) or 'long' commission (depending on whether they were kept or not).
  12. I'll not have a bad word spoken of Our Dudley. As 801's junior pilot his Black Country accent was truly appreciated and allowed much taking of the piss, which he handled admirably. His later exploits as an AWI, Splot and Boss put the rest of us slackers to shame and his warbird flying continues to rile the likes of me who has to content myself with Boeing and a shedload of birds.....but I'd rather be in a Seafire or Fury (and have hair......even if it is spiky) :)
  13. Nice to see that an hoccifer who does nor speak Wardroom has managed to achieve great results.
    It would never have happened in the 60/70s.
  14. He presented me with my valedictory certificate, the regs state a senior rate has to be presented by a Captain or equivalent. The only one at Cott was the Group Captain, I said to my DO I'll drop to Cdr if Ade could do it? I didn't want some crab giving me it with a false smile and the thought that he was getting rid of another matelot!

    We had a brew and a bloody good chat, we both had a drip about JFH and he told me a few things that I found very surprising about his time in charge of NSW and the junior service watching him like a hawk waiting for a failure. A genuinely nice chap, this is sounding like an obituary, I believe he is very much alive and well.
  15. Most RAF flying stations will be commanded by a gp capt who normally remains current on one (or very occasionally several) of the types based there. If you're REALLY lucky, you get to be staish at Coningsby where, aside from Typhoon, you get to fly Hurricanes, several marks of Spitfires, and chipmunks (as well as pax flying in the Lanc and Dak)!

    There are also a few other gp capt flying posts as well such as Commandant CFS and Chief Test Pilot (which is also open to RN, RM and technically AAC).

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  16. I suppose with there being more than two RAF stations opportunities are greater, but you still have to work your way up the ranks. Stations like Wittering/Wyton for example do not have pilot "skippers" anymore.

    And with the new Blue Badged Drone pilots, they can command the all ranks cyber cafe

    VL has a commodore in charge (or it did when I was there), and he used to fly the mighty Shar occasionally.
  17. thanks for all the replies so far, another question then, what is the best route for someone to reach the higher ranks while also flying in the royal navy?
  18. 1. Land the plane/helicopter thingy first.
    2. Get a grasp of the native language.
    3. Marry a Royal.
    4. Family, not Marine.
  19. That's basically the same question you asked at the beginning of this thread and it has been answered in detail by Wave_Dodger. Read, extract the detail and stop expecting to get spoon-fed.
  20. He sounds like the perfect WAFU to me; all he needs to learn is "better dead than fish-head" and we'll be all good....
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