Flying Doctors(Specialists in Aviation Medicine)

Hi Guys,
Another newbie with a few questions,hope someone can help. I am currently a medical student considering a career as an MO in the navy.I also have a strong passion for flying and I'm wondering if i can combine the two in the navy. I am aware that the army has SAMs(Flying Doctors),is this the same with the navy? Can i join as a pilot initially and transfer to the medical branch after gaining my wings? Any info appreciated.Cheers


War Hero
The best people to ask are the AIB or a Careers Officer. I can't see why not though.
I know we had a couple of Air Engineer Officers who were also pilots. That is to say they were employed as pilots rather than Engineers when appointed as such.


War Hero
About 9 years ago I knew a naval doc with his pilots wings. He had joined as a doc and then later been trained as a pilot, something to do with better being able to understand aviation medicine. I don't know if they still do it though. I would concentrate on being a MO, and then anything else is a bonus.


ABdoc, in short, there should be no reason why an RN medical officer should not transfer for flying duties. Indeed, the precedent has been set on several previous occasions. However, after 6(?) years of doctor school, the RN will probably expect you to join as a Doctor, unless you sign up as a direct entry aircrew officer, which kinda negates all your medical training??? The most recent flying doctor went through the Sea King pipeline before getting promoted to Surgeon Commander and becoming Principal Medical Officer of RNAS YEOVILTON. Aside from actual flying duties, there is a sub-specialisation in the medical world of Aviation Medicine where you will be trained in the peculiarities of medicinal matters at high altitude.
Hope this helps but I would recommend joining as a Surgeon and then volunteering to transfer to flying duties. As always, it'll depend on which of the trades is shorter of man (or woman) power.
Best of luck.
Thanks for all your posts.As has been advised, I will join up as a doc and try for flying duties afterwards. Had a word with the recruiting officer yesterday and he suggested that I contact the medical recruiters directly.cheers

LBV : Could you please tell me how recent did the MO qualified?Cheers


Airbornedoc - hate to burst your balloon but I think it's unlikely to happen.

If you join as a cadet, the RN invests a vast amount of money in your medical education. If you try to "jump ship" as soon as you qualify, the powers that be could view the whole thing as not getting their money's worth. You need to ask permission to branch transfer, and for this reason you may be refused.

In addition, after spending 5-6 years in medical school, then doing F1 and F2, would you really want to throw this all away? In the current medical climate you would not be able to combine the two careers - doctor and pilot/observer. You would have to spend lots of time in the air, therefore de-skilling medically. Also, with the ST pathways you would not be able to take the required time out.

There may be a couple of MOs with wings, but they are few and far between. I can only think of one (and he's pretty senior).

So, the simple answer is that you would join as an MO and probably stay as one. You could do General Duties time in an Air Station and get experience of aviation medicine (or each of the new carriers will have a specific aviation MO on board). During such time you'd definitely get in the air, but I don't think you'd be able to get your wings.

Anyway - to transfer from MO to WAFU would entail a paycut - and don't let the WAFUs tell you otherwise!!!



War Hero
I remember that in the late 70s we had a doc with his wings at Lossiemouth. I believe that he was a specialist in aviation medicine


There is still an option for Av Med docs to learn to fly and spend two years with a frontline squadron. Not that it happens very often. The last person I know of who was hoping to head down this route was unable to pass flying grading.

You would not take a pay cut, but add flying pay to your doctor's salary.

Now that would be serious pop star wages!



Bit of a misunderstanding. I meant you'd take a paycut if you branch transferred to WAFU - obviously if you remained an MO but got wings on top of that then your cheque book would say Coutts at the top!
Cheers for all your post.Very informative indeed.Any further inputs are still welcome.At the moment, I'm waiting for a reply from the naval medical recruiters. Just a few questions for the docs,aviators and all.
I have read on the RN site, that Docs can specialise in aviation medicine, Isn't it a requirement to do the pilots course? I read n article by a naval doc Surg Lt Cl**** H****r who did the DAvMed course,did she do the pilots course afterwards? Does one get to travel around lots more in the navy than other services? Sorry for the long post.Cheers

PS. Dont think I will enjoy a paycut to transfer branch but pop star wages will be highly welcome!!!
The only flying doc I have seen was at Yeovilton 74/75 when Prince Charles was flying training, there was a flying doc on the same sqdn, and all because of charlie I would think...