Navy Pilots: Fleet Air Arm

Actually it wuz on at 11pm, not 10. My mistake. I watched it. Two episodes.

Mostly about a trainee pilot doing his first deck landings in a Gazelle, on the back of a small ship, and the investigations into two non-fatal Merlin prangs..... due to sticky rotor brakes.

You'd think an experienced pilot would notice that effect on engine revs alone, or are they really that powerful?

Not bad though.....
 

Bagwafu

Midshipman
Actually dodgy rotor brake - design error that has now been fixed.

And yes the engines are very powerful - enough power when at full power to override the rotor brake, create sh*tloads of friction hence heat hence fire hence crash (basically).
 

slim

War Hero
Helicopter engines are really powerful. In fact on the Manchester our pilot tried to lift the ship (forgot to disengage the harpoon) Funny though the shear pin didn't shear but bent, so the M1 managed to remove it and the flight gathered for an official presentation of shear pin to rather embarrassed pilot.
 

RM2PhD

MIA
So when are the Navy going to let other ranks fly choppers, then? Only thing I never liked about RN. Their officer class were just a tad too elitist for my liking. One reason why I punched one. But that's another story.
 

Six_and_a_Half

Lantern Swinger
Probably about never.

It's the same case with the Brylcreem Boys. All pilots and observers are commissioned officers. The only way a rating will be able to fly a helicopter would be to become an upper yardman.

Alternatively, I believe aircrewmen are given an elementary amount of flying training, so you would just have to be in air at the time when the pilot and observer for some reason lose the ability to fly the aircraft.

Do the Army allow OR's to fly as pilots and observers? I don't actually know in their case.
 

slim

War Hero
Peter said:
Probably about never.

It's the same case with the Brylcreem Boys. All pilots and observers are commissioned officers. The only way a rating will be able to fly a helicopter would be to become an upper yardman.

Alternatively, I believe aircrewmen are given an elementary amount of flying training, so you would just have to be in air at the time when the pilot and observer for some reason lose the ability to fly the aircraft.

Do the Army allow OR's to fly as pilots and observers? I don't actually know in their case.

It used to be army policy to get as many soldiers as possible qualified as pilots. This came about when some boffin found out that a Landrover and fully equipped trailer was more expensive that a Scout helicopter, so if a private can drive a Landrover, sergeants can fly helicopters. I believe that they did a two year tour and were then returned to unit. Meant that in the event of a war there would be plenty of pilots who only needed refresher training. I did a job at Middle Wallop and met a bootie staff sergeant instructor in the mess. However I cannot see the RN bringing back rating pilots.
 

bruiser_loose

Midshipman
RM2PhD - and RM Officers aren't? I would like to disagree with you there. Anyway, anybody in the know would not use the term 'chopper.' We reserve the word 'chopper' for RM officers!

The reason the RN have commissioned officers as Pilots and Observers is a legacy from when nuclear weapons were part of the armament. It was deemed (whether rightly or wrongly) that Officers were needed in aircraft to see that the mission was carried out. When the 'instant sunshine for submariners' weapons were taken out of service that was not changed.

Whether it should be has been a topic for much debate since. It works the way it is, so why change it. The make-up of Squadrons and Flights is well-balanced and introducing NCA as P/O would make future appointing, sorry, assignments more difficult.

INCOMING!!
 

Magic_Mushroom

War Hero
Army types often question RAF (and therefore by association RN) policy to officer only pilots and WSO/Observers.

The RAF ceased recruiting SNCO pilots and navs in the early 60's due, as Bruiser suggests, to the V-Force and the US requirement that aircrew involved in nuclear weapons delivery should be officers. The last RAF Master (WO) Pilot retired around 89 (I met one at Binbrook on the Lightning sim in 87).

The officers only policy has continued for several reasons as I understand it:

1. In a survey done in the 90's very, very few RAF/RN candidates at OASC who passed aircrew aptitude tests failed to demonstrate equal suitability for commissioning at that location (or for RN candidates at AIB).

2. RAF and RN aircrew have traditionally operated more complex aircraft than their AAC counterparts including multi-engined aircraft. This made them more sught after in civillian aviation and therefore commissioned service (and its associated quality of life) was viewed by both services as a retention issue.

3. The pay differences between SNCO and junior officer aircrew is actually not that great, although I acknowledge that the latter's pension costs are higher.

Interesting to note that the RM have now also gone to all officer aircrew I believe. As an aside, the AAC only now have pilots with all their Observers and Gunners now retired or remustered. However, their door gunners are going through a bit of a career enhancement to bring them more in line with RAF WSOps and RN POAcmn I believe.

MM
 
It would seem to me that skills and ability to fly should be more important than educational background, and education and opportunity are the only difference why most orficers are orficers and most ratings are ratings.

Ther are some bloody awful officer pilots, and probably some excellent would-be rating pilots, if only given the chance.

The RAF had no problem recruiting sergeant pilots during WW2 when life expectancy was about three weeks.

There is a kind of elitism going on.

When I first joined up, there were still some senior ratings who had piston engine taxying certificates, though the last of the rating pilots who actually left the ground whilst in control had long gone.

I applied for aircrew whilst an apprentice, already having the educational requirements, but was turned down because I was too tall (6ft 4ins). Well actually it wasn't the overall height that got me, it was the length of my thigh. If I had had to bang out during basic fixed wing training I would have lost my legs against the windscreen.

The guy who applied with me made it. Eight years later he was dead.
 
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