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Fleet Air Arm Military Aviation Academy question

FAAWanabee

Midshipman
Hi I'm pretty new here so if any of these questions have been answered (which I don't think they have) please just point me in the right direction and cut me some slack! ;)
I'm 15 and currently coming to the end of year 10, so I'm studying my options for 6th form and my future career. I'm dead set on being a Naval Pilot that's for sure, and will be making sure that I have the grades and preparation to stand the best chance in doing so (I'll save you the "I've wanted to be a Pilot all my life" story). But my problem is how I'm actually going to get to the point of application. Reading up, I have found out about the 6th form and subsequent university scholarship that I can apply for. I have decided that I will definitely apply for the 6th form scholarship but its the university one that's troubling me.
Initially reading up on it, it sounds very good, getting a foundation degree for your achievement of "Wings" alone and the opportunity to further study for an Honours is very enticing stuff; not to mention the fact that I'll be able to join at 18 and through the training pipeline by 21-22 giving me an early start to my career. But the concerns I have with it and that I hope you may be able to help me with is the relevance of the degree (whether it's relevant and substantial outside the military world) and whether this whole scheme is too good to be true and isn't as good as it sounds.

As you can hopefully tell, this career choice means a lot to me and I have spent a lot of hours trawling through forums and articles not just on this ( of which there seems to be very little information about) but on the Fleet Air Arm in general. I know I'm only 15 now and have GCSEs to be thinking about but if can get any feedback on this, I will apply for the 6th form scholarship in August and get the ball rolling so I don't have to worry about Sixth forms while doing my GCSEs, kick-starting my career!

I really appreciate any responses or advice that is given to be and sorry for such a long post!
-Jordan
 
Right, as I did my AIB at 15, I suspect I should probably chip in.

The degree is frankly a nice piece of paper, but in all honesty, if you get your Wings, they are a much better way to a civilian job than a degree. If you fail to get Wings for whatever reason, then the option to become a civilian and head to uni is always available, and even if you're 21 when you start it doesn't matter much; however, starting flying training at 18 gives you a fantastic head start.

As for AIB at 15, don't worry about the lack of life experience. My AIB had me (15), 2 18 year olds and a 21 year old. The latter had obviously been to Uni, been President of Sports Clubs etc etc, whereas I'd once taken charge of my own shoelaces. It matters not: when doing the AIB at that age it is solely about potential - how you cope with pressure for PLTs, spatial awareness, essay writing etc. Don't panic if you fail, as time is definitely on your side and you can come back a couple of years later and still be at BRNC for 18.
 

Waspie

War Hero
I can't speak from a pilot's or officers perspective, however! I was back seat aircrew and most if not all of the pilots I flew with had degree's. Some relevant, others not. They ranged from aeronautical engineering to mathematics and science based subjects. My last pilot, (I was crewed up with him for over two years), had a degree in geology - no relevance to aviation but a degree non the less.

I believe the requirement for pilot is 5 GCSE's but having a good degree must go a long way to proving your academic ability.

Good luck, set your targets and go for it. We do have a few pilots, ex or otherwise and a couple of careers advisors so hopefully they will be able to pass relevant words of wisdom.
 

Pontius

War Hero
My advice would be to apply at the very earliest opportunity and take the first offer. Like ATG, I sat the AIB at a tender age but I was much older, at 16 :). I applied for and was awarded a Reserved Place and Scholarship (though I have no idea if that option is still in place). As I was attending a non fee-paying school I didn't receive any money (as was the scheme in the 80s) but I was at least guaranteed a place at BRNC upon completion of my 'A' levels. I joined when I was 18 and was on the front-line at 21. On my initial pilots course there were about 6 people that had degrees. Of the other 12 or so, most had 'A' levels and I think only one had just 'O' levels (GCSEs).

A degree is not a requirement for a pilot and, to be honest, is not relevant. I know a good number of people who have what you would call aviation degrees, Aeronautical Engineering etc but none of them have ever said it was useful during their career. As has already been suggested, a degree might only come into play if you fail the pilots course and end up looking for a job as a civvy.

My suggestion would be to apply as soon as you can for any scheme similar to the Reserved Place that I got. If you aren't successful then apply again in your second year of 'A' levels. If no joy then by all means look at degree courses but I would look at something that could get you a decent job if for some reason the RN never takes you; medicine, law, accountancy etc. If, at the end of your degree you get accepted into the Navy then you've got a good fall-back option but whatever the degree, it's really not going to help you through pilot training. The RN will teach you what they want you to know and in the manner in which they want you to learn. The guy on our course with an aeronautical degree and over 200 hours flying the Bulldog on a UAS did not pass.

So, concentrate VERY hard on your GCSEs but, also, make sure you are doing all the other things the AIB likes to see in a young candidate such as Air Training Corps (which conveniently incorporates flying, team projects, leadership training, sports etc), Duke Of Edinburgh Award, team sports and the like. Don't just have a string of A**** (or whatever they have nowadays) and no other life; the RN wants to see all-round good eggs.....just like me :grin:
 
My advice would be to apply at the very earliest opportunity and take the first offer. Like ATG, I sat the AIB at a tender age but I was much older, at 16 :). I applied for and was awarded a Reserved Place and Scholarship (though I have no idea if that option is still in place). As I was attending a non fee-paying school I didn't receive any money (as was the scheme in the 80s) but I was at least guaranteed a place at BRNC upon completion of my 'A' levels. I joined when I was 18 and was on the front-line at 21. On my initial pilots course there were about 6 people that had degrees. Of the other 12 or so, most had 'A' levels and I think only one had just 'O' levels (GCSEs).

A degree is not a requirement for a pilot and, to be honest, is not relevant. I know a good number of people who have what you would call aviation degrees, Aeronautical Engineering etc but none of them have ever said it was useful during their career. As has already been suggested, a degree might only come into play if you fail the pilots course and end up looking for a job as a civvy.

My suggestion would be to apply as soon as you can for any scheme similar to the Reserved Place that I got. If you aren't successful then apply again in your second year of 'A' levels. If no joy then by all means look at degree courses but I would look at something that could get you a decent job if for some reason the RN never takes you; medicine, law, accountancy etc. If, at the end of your degree you get accepted into the Navy then you've got a good fall-back option but whatever the degree, it's really not going to help you through pilot training. The RN will teach you what they want you to know and in the manner in which they want you to learn. The guy on our course with an aeronautical degree and over 200 hours flying the Bulldog on a UAS did not pass.

So, concentrate VERY hard on your GCSEs but, also, make sure you are doing all the other things the AIB likes to see in a young candidate such as Air Training Corps (which conveniently incorporates flying, team projects, leadership training, sports etc), Duke Of Edinburgh Award, team sports and the like. Don't just have a string of A**** (or whatever they have nowadays) and no other life; the RN wants to see all-round good eggs.....just like me :grin:


Didnt stop you telling us how to fix them though did it:-D


You know we only serviced by what was in stock ^^
 
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Ninja_Stoker

War Hero
Moderator
When to join? An interesting conundrum.

Consider you have a hypothetical twin.

You join, aged 18 after A Levels, He/She joins after gaining a non-vocational degree, aged 21/22.

Your starting pay, with or without a degree will be something like £24,971 from September if the AFPRB recommendation takes effect, so you would earn over £80,000 whilst she/he earns a degree & an average of £30-40,000 student debt.

You would also complete training by age 20-21 and have three years promotional seniority over him/her, if she/he joined after graduating. By this time you'd be earning about £31,000 plus flying pay, based on todays rates.
 

Pontius

War Hero
Didnt stop you telling us how to fix them though did it

I hardly think handing the keys back and telling the SMR that it's 'buggered' constitutes telling you guys how to do your jobs. I'm sure, secretly, you were all very grateful when I flew. After all, you'd have only been bored without another engine change or a radar replacement to do. Just think of the job security I provided :)

You know we only serviced by what was in stock

So that's why everything was just held together with wire locking. Must have had miles of it in the cable locker.......well, I assume that's what they kept in there.
 
I hardly think handing the keys back and telling the SMR that it's 'buggered' constitutes telling you guys how to do your jobs. I'm sure, secretly, you were all very grateful when I flew. After all, you'd have only been bored without another engine change or a radar replacement to do. Just think of the job security I provided :)



So that's why everything was just held together with wire locking. Must have had miles of it in the cable locker.......well, I assume that's what they kept in there.

Wire locking, HBM and chicken bones!
 

FAAWanabee

Midshipman
Thank you all for the very helpful replies. In regard to Pontius, this scheme sounds very similar to yours in that you can apply at A-Level for a scholarship and if successful, have a reserved place at BRNC at the and of it.
With what you have all been saying a degree doesn't really sound necessary whatsoever, but considering this is a degree while you learn to fly and then the option to further it to an Honours while operational in your own time seems great. Especially since I'll be able to enter BRNC at 18. The concern I have now then, is the sixth form scholarship place that I'll be applying for of which I assume you would have to go through AIB for? (once again not much information at all on the website.) Since I'm only 15, I have don't have as many leadership opportunities (especially with my school scrapping work experience until year 12 due to government cuts). However, if you wouldn't mind, I don't suppose you all could give me some help and advice I could be doing to improve what I'm doing. To give you an idea of what type of person I am, I'll list the activities I take part in:

Air Cadet (coming on two years now)
Completed D of E Bronze and am training for Silver currently
Have over 40 hours of voluntary work
School Prefect
Do regular school assemblies in front of the whole school & staff
Avid swimmer and runner
Starting a junior lifesaving course
Head of the school council for my year group
Currently gaining hours for my National private pilots license
Applying to work in a summer activity camp at a school

Once again, thank you for the responses and the advice.
 

soleil

War Hero
FAA Wannabee:

http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/Careers.../Files/CNR-PDFs/Military Aviation Studies.pdf

FAAOA Aviation Scholarship, Gliding, Royal Navy Pilots, Observers

The Area Careers Liaison Officer at your local Armed Forces Careers Office might be able to get you a place on something similar (the Special Flying Award), so ask about that too.

PS The FAAOA Scholarship and the Flying Award aren't, of course, the same as the 6th Form Scholarship. Best tip for the 6th Form Scholarship is work hard at school so that you get a good set of grades in your GCSEs and try to do things which suggest to your Area Careers Liaison Officer that you have leadership potential.
 
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Pontius

War Hero
Thank you all for the very helpful replies. In regard to Pontius, this scheme sounds very similar to yours in that you can apply at A-Level for a scholarship and if successful, have a reserved place at BRNC at the and of it.
With what you have all been saying a degree doesn't really sound necessary whatsoever, but considering this is a degree while you learn to fly and then the option to further it to an Honours while operational in your own time seems great. Especially since I'll be able to enter BRNC at 18. The concern I have now then, is the sixth form scholarship place that I'll be applying for of which I assume you would have to go through AIB for? (once again not much information at all on the website.) Since I'm only 15, I have don't have as many leadership opportunities (especially with my school scrapping work experience until year 12 due to government cuts). However, if you wouldn't mind, I don't suppose you all could give me some help and advice I could be doing to improve what I'm doing. To give you an idea of what type of person I am, I'll list the activities I take part in:

Air Cadet (coming on two years now)
Completed D of E Bronze and am training for Silver currently
Have over 40 hours of voluntary work
School Prefect
Do regular school assemblies in front of the whole school & staff
Avid swimmer and runner
Starting a junior lifesaving course
Head of the school council for my year group
Currently gaining hours for my National private pilots license
Applying to work in a summer activity camp at a school

Once again, thank you for the responses and the advice.

Mate, it sounds like you're doing all the right things. Keep up that sort of varied activity AND concentrate on the academics but I would say you're definitely looking along the right lines.

If you apply for the scholarship you will have to attend the AIB. You will be competing against the standard required and, for obvious reasons, there's no 'allowance' for age etc. It's up to you to convince the AIB that you have the potential to successfully complete RN Officer training, while the FATs will test your ability for aircrew. Within the ATC you will have no doubt undergone some leadership training. It's up to you to pester your CO in order that you can attend other courses, such as the NCO Leadership Course. Perhaps suggest they have one or two nights when the squadron can be split into groups and carry out the different tasks of crossing the imagined shark-infested custard using poles, rope, oil drums etc (i.e. exactly the sort of thing you'll experience at the AIB).

It's important to remember that passing the AIB at 15/16 years old will require a maturity found in an older person. For this reason I would recommend you ensure you are well read in current affairs (read a decent newspaper) and can put forth cogent argument to support your viewpoint on modern matters. It's important that you have opinions but even more so that you can support those opinions with sensible, well thought out and researched logic.

It goes without saying that you should know the RN, FAA and RM (to a lesser extent) inside-out but I thought I'd say it anyway :grin:

Finally, to this degree stuff. It seems to me, a grumpy, old git, that just about every course nowadays leads to a degree and everybody seems to possess one. When I did my training it certainly did not form any part of a degree course and it was all about becoming an RN officer and pilot. To a large extent this thinking still exists and the emphasis is certainly the same but with the added bonus that someone has convinced the education people that the training should attract credits which will count towards a degree. I think you will have to do a fair bit more research because dim in my beer-addled brain is the concern that you don't get a huge amount of credit for the pilots course and it will require quite a lot of additional work to get a BSc, or whatever. It's a great idea if you do get something 'free' on the way through training but I think you'll be disappointed if you think you're going to get a mortar board and your wings at the same time.
 
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