Pilot hopeful.


Hi All,

I am currently serving as a WE. I have for some considerable time wanted to transfer to Pilot. I have passed my FATs for Pilot and ATC and was awaiting my date for AIB. I soon found out that the mob had stopped recruiting for the foreseeable future. I decided then to go for ATC instead, even though it was not what I really wanted to do. My date for AIB has now been booked for November. I found out today however, that pilot recruitment will reopen in april. My question is - is this true, can I go to AIB as a pilot candidate now or do I have to wait, should I just go with ATC as it has taken ages for me to get a date, or should I wait to sit AIB for pilot if I cant go now, bearing in mind that i will be at sea for deployment shortly?

Any advice or answers will be greatly appreciated,




Book Reviewer
I don't know about aircrew recruiting reopening. Your DO should be able to call NCHQ and get a firm answer. What I can say is you really need to think hard about this decision. If you've always wanted to be a pilot can you not wait. Do you think you would be happy as an ATC, there is a world of difference in what they do. You really need to be 100% certain, too many people go to BRNC and try to change only to be denied. Best wishes with whatever you choose.
Things, of course, have changed since I was involved in this sort of thing but an option for you and your DO to investigate is attending your original AIB date KNOWING you will not accept an ATC offer. That is, you are up-front and let the AIB know you wish to attend the AIB (citing your reasons, including operational ones) but you're not prepared to accept an ATC offer IF you pass all the requirements for Pilot.

This was the procedure I employed with a CW candidate in my division. He was phaffing over his original choice of Pilot and wanted to chance his luck as Observer to get an earlier AIB. We applied for Obs (it was ultimately his decision, of course) and he got an AIB date. He then got cold feet because he had always wanted Pilot, so we did what I have suggested above. Things were vastly different then but we drafted a letter to the AIB explaining the situation and how keen he was to attend at the earliest possible opportunity. It worked out well and he was allowed to keep the original date. Unfortunately I lost a great lad from my division :cry: but he went on to fly those things where the wings whizz around over your head.

At the end of the day, the peeps at the AIB are not stupid. They know you want to get the selection completed as soon as possible and, especially for serving personnel, there is a desire on their part to get that done as well (age, future operations etc being good reasons). Be honest, tell them why you opted for ATC and explain that it's really not what you want. Let them know you'd like to attend the AIB but you're prepared to wait for Pilot. I seem to recall Ninja Stoker saying the AIB has a shelf life of one year (but please don't quote me on that, as my beer-addled brain might be hallucinating again), so there may be very good reasons for you not being able to attend the AIB and then standing by for the best job in the RN. However, by Nov 2012 they may well have started up the Pilot sausage machine again and you'd be in a good position at the front of the queue.

Definitely time for honesty with the AIB and yourself. As Wave Dodger said, don't go to BRNC hoping to change things. It has happened in the past but I would be willing to bet a lot of £££s that switching from ATC to Pilot in today's environment would not happen. If you're not going to be happy in ATC then don't do it, even if it means attending the AIB later and waiting for Pilot.
Last edited:
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
The_Caretaker Miscellaneous 0
The_Caretaker Miscellaneous 0
B The Fleet Air Arm 22

Similar threads