Discussion in 'The Fleet Air Arm' started by Cavok, Sep 16, 2007.

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  1. Is it true the FAA are desparately short of Observers. As an ex navigator (AD) would the Navy consider retreads?

    Civvy St is extremely dull.
  2. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    Hello & welcome to RR.

    Not sure about shortages in this particular category, there's certainly no shortage of aircrew enquirers & whilst the RN has different (higher) age limits than the RAF, the only definitive answer can be given by your local Officer careers liaison officer (RN) at your nearest AFCO.

    Re-treads are not uncommon, but I suspect age may be the limiting factor, even if you're qualified. Otherwise, you would've applied to re-join the RAF.

    Best of luck to you, either way.
  3. Slight case of a thread hi-jack, but because its a related topic I thought I'd bung this in here instead of starting a new thread:

    I just sat my FAT's yesterday at RAF Cranwell, and failed pilot but passed "reasonably well" for observer; so I'm trying to find out a little bit more about observer training, but there is precious little in the official RN literature.

    As far as I understand, after the initial ten months basic officer training at Dartmouth, observers undertake a seven month basic navigation course followed by eleven months advanced/operational training, but where? Also I'm curious as to what the career prospects are for observers when they're in the mob and when they leave.

    I really would like to forge myself a career as an aircrew officer, but cannot really seem to find much on observers, even after trawling a bit on here, so any help would be much appreciated.

    Thank you!
  4. As far as I'm aware observers still do their training at RNAS Culdrose on 750 sqn in the Jet steam Aircrafts. This was the case when I was based there in the ops room (in the tower) back in 2001 & 2003
  5. Up to date info from the AFCO, but from memory the basic Obs course is at Culdrose then advanced/ ops is subject to a/c type.

    Opportunities are Lynx, ASW or AEW, training at Yeovilton or Culdrose respectively.

    AEWs are essentially fighter controllers and can also do the FC qualification to serve in CVS or T42s as ships company. There are also opportunities to fly fixed wing in AWACS.

    Some aircrew do PWO training, in the past it tended to be that ASWs would go PWO(U), AEWs PWO(A), but there is no distinction now.
  6. Should probably add, no specific career routes in the afterlife, other than the generic Warfare Officer opportunities; flipping burgers, stacking shelves etc.

    Probably more seriously, there are lots of opportunities where ex RN can go into new avenues when they leave. General management, project management etc. The specialist skillset of an observer is pretty limited in utility outside, so you need to exploit the broader aspects of the job.
  7. I know of at least two observers who are now flying for airlines and one observer who is flying fast jets!

    The career path can be varied and exciting and depends largely on what aircraft you go front-line on. Even then a lot of people change aircraft types further down the road to enhance career prospects.

    The best way for you to learn is to get yourself on a potential officer acquaint course at Culdrose or Yeovilton and ask Observors you meet what their experiences are.
  8. As an obs you can also later go along the Warfare route and go PWO, and then go onto command a warship.
  9. wave_dodger

    wave_dodger War Hero Book Reviewer

    I can support Cleartofires assertion but add that at least one, who is a good mate and currently fly's for astreus spent almost £90K of his own money getting civilian licenses for CTPL. Observers get a lot of air time and command time but if they want to fly and command a/c they have to convert and thats expensive. I am sure some WAFU will tell us that the RN have added in a retention incentive which is freebie CTPL quals for both Pilots and Observers - some pilots have already been given this.

    As for careers - I know lots of aircrew of all varieties. In the mob they've all done really well, esp. the observers who tend to be bright individuals (I really can't believe I am writing this). Those that have done well have gone on to be PWO's, XO's and a few have driven. Indeed a good friend in an ex-pinger pilot, who was Ops on a T22 with me, has done staff course, XO time on a T22 and is now driving one on a world trip!

    Plenty of opportuntities, if I were joining today If I was offered either I'd snap up the offer
  10. I have got to say, although pilot seems the natural choice to a potential aircrew candidate, as an observer in the RN you have a real future. I was selected as an observer 22 years ago (I wanted to be a pilot of course but I passed better as an observer and therefore pilot was not offered to me) and I am still in the Navy and have flown on 4 different squadrons and two aircraft types. It set me up perfectly for transfer into a Full Career as a Principal Warfare Officer, which is very much like being an observer but with more people to interact with therefore PWO course is less of daunting prospect. After that you can go as far as you are competent to do (and probably further in some cases!). I have done OK.

    As for where to head - after your Basic Course (Culdrose) you will be streamed Lynx (Yeovilton), Merlin (Culdrose) or Seaking ASACS (Culdrose). You can indicate your preference. In my opinion, and being 'purple', ASACS is the way ahead - you will be very much part of the expeditionary ways of the Fleet.
  11. wave_dodger

    wave_dodger War Hero Book Reviewer

    How purple is yr location? So purple its a virtual building site?
  12. I know where you mean - I have left there for a daylight refam - back once the building is finished!
  13. wave_dodger

    wave_dodger War Hero Book Reviewer

    Good move, this whole site is a mess, in more ways than one!
  14. Dear Cavok... bored ? Try bungy-jumping.
  15. Thanks for your advice - tried it 7 times and bored of that as well. Perhaps I need to get on the end of the sonar with an elastic rope
  16. Cavok,

    Have you considered the RAAF? They are DESPERATELY short of their new Air Combat Officer (ACO) specialisation (combined WSO/FC branch), especially with their impending FA-18F and Wedgetail deliveries.


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