FAA Pilot career progression


Hello, I'm 16 and will be studying A levels next year hopefully. I was just wondering if anyone could answer some questions for me.

I have always been passiontate about aviation and been set on becoming a pilot when I leave school. But I also have been around boats and sailing so I know that I'd suit and enjoy being aboard a ship, recently I've had a growing interest in the RN so I was wondering what the career progression would be like for an F-35 pilot (rotary too) in the future since the 'Warfare Officer' role has caught my eye. I can see myself doing either of these jobs (given that I get into the military) but can't help feeling that I'd be disappointed that I didn't choose the other career. So would it be possible to go from a pilot to navigating the ship or working in the ops room?

Or should I stick with the RAF lol.


War Hero
So would it be possible to go from a pilot to navigating the ship or working in the ops room?
Somebody more 'in the know' should be along and give you an update but in my experience, many aviators became PWOs (Principle Warfare Officers - ie Warfare / Operations Officers) on board frigates and destroyers before moving on to command and higher.
It is career progression, many (that should be most) aviation officers have the situation awareness skills which transfer to driving a war canoe. Saying that, other non-technical skills matter as well (being an all round nice bloke etc.)

As with any service - you get out what you put in.
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War Hero
Good luck with trying to navigate a ship with the Crabs :)

It used to be that the FAA and General Service were quite separate and to go and drive ships involved converting from Supplementary List to General List and a whole host of other nonsense. Nowadays it is much more 'joined up' and if you want to fly the F-35 and, also, do a bit of fisheading, then it's much easier than it was in days of old. You will still need to make the decision about whether you want to progress mainly down the flying route, in which case you won't get the ticks in some of the warfare boxes that you may need to become an admiral, or if you want to go for the stars, which will mean climbing out of the cockpit and learning to say 'yo ho ho', 'avast' and 'let go springs'.....or whatever the Cod Faces do.

There are some very senior people around with wings on their sleeves, so it certainly is possible.

Best not mention the Junior Service again ;)


War Hero
In my time (many years ago) I knew a lot of aircrew both pilots and observers who stopped driving aercraft and started driving ships
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