Pilot/Observer entry

Discussion in 'The Fleet Air Arm' started by rici, Aug 21, 2008.

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  1. Hi,

    I have been looking into joining the RN as a pilot, and I have a question about streaming as pilot or observer if you don't mind.

    I have read that you apply as 'aircrew' and then you are either streamed as pilot or as observer, and don't have a choice in the matter.

    Is this true? If so then it seems a bit of a gamble applying as I really want to fly the aircraft.

    Could anyone clarrify?


  2. Hi Richard!

    One of the RN Recruiting guys will be looking in on the forum later and will answer your question, I'm sure.
  3. Most who don't make the grade as a pilot end up as observors. Most who don't make the grade as observors end up as warfare officers
  4. Thanks for the quick replies.

    I would much rather be a Warfare Officer than an Observer.

    If I failed to make the grade as pilot, would I be offered a choice, or simply be told that I could take Observer, or not join the RN?

    Thanks for your help once again;

    best regards,

  5. Don't discount Obsvervor. An observor is basically a flying warfare officer anyway. There used to be schemes where you could split you career between flying and driving the ship. I'm sure Ninja or Supermario will give the up to date info.
  6. I'll tell you what my ACLO told me at my sift interview, as I'm doing the exact same:

    'Don't discount Observer, as it's effectively the same job as warfare officer, but you're only taking shite off the guy next to you rather than the whole bridge. And there's many an old observer now driving ships, and not many pilots.'

    You can always do a sideways move back onto ships at a later point in your career, and don't forget the all-important flying pay you still get as an observer!
  7. Used to be schemes? Do we not have any Admiral Pilots anymore? No Flag Officer Naval Air Command? No Flag Officer Carriers and Amphibious Ships? Please tell me that they are still there. Or do we have three Admirals, Rear
    , Vice, and Admiral of the Fleet and thats yer lot?
  8. Hi,

    The honest answer is you should go for the job you most want. If after attending the Flying aptitude you are not selected for Pilot, then they might offer you observer, but you can still say no and go for another trade. But as most people have already said you should discount Observer. You still get to go up in the aircraft, you operate all of the countermeasure, Navigation, weapons systems etc. The easiest way to liken it is the pilot is the Taxi driver the Observer does everything else.

    But don't worry they can not force you into any job, you chose which one you want to join BRNC as.

    Hope this helps

    Neil - Supermario

  10. I thought we still have those schemes but didn't want to give anyone a bum-steer. Sounded better than "I don't know"
  11. The answer is that you all join BRNC on an initial commission - either as direct entry aircrew (P or O) or as a Warfare Officer. In order to fly then drive (ie Command) ships later you have to join as as Warfare Officer, get ticketed (a long process now governed by EU shipping regulations) then get lucky and get selected for aircrew duties. There is no guarantee of flying duties - it all depends on your aptitude scores and more importantly spaces available/slots needed at the time - you chose your branch and take your chance (as my friends in the aircraft handling branch tell me all the time - they really dig their jobs).

    It is not fair to say all Observers are failed pilots - I applied for both and was offered Observer based on a higher aptitude score and performance at AIB. If I had refused I have since found out I would have been offered pilot, but I didnt and therefore wasnt. I have no chips on any shoulder, I really enjoy my role and as one gets more senior the challenges subtly change from being one solely concerned with fighting the aircraft to a multitude of reponsibilities both in the air and on the ground - the pay is the same until you hit the highest levels of flying pay (12 years+) when the pilots get about 2 quid a day more to try and keep them from joining the airlines - which by then is either too late or not applicable as they are staying anyway.

    Direct entry aircrew will stay in the aviation world for most of their careers, whilst Warfare Officers who train to fly will do tours in the aircraft interspersed with more traditional Seaman Officer type tours on ships.

    Thats about it.

  12. Be careful about relying on joining up as a Warfare Officer intending to go flying - the time limit is strictly applied. You've got at least 3 years from the first day of BRNC until you are qualified in the Warfare world before you can apply to go flying. It's not impossible and there are more than a few "GL Wafu's" out there. OTOH it is also possible for you to gain your Navigational Watch Certificate and Bridge Warfare Qualification as a Direct Entry Aircrew, and then move onto the PWO route.

  13. Thank you for all your help, thats just what I wanted to know!

    What I was really worried about was being going to BRNC after being forced into a role I was less than happy with.

    From a selfish point of view I was thinking of the long term; ie. opportunities if I stay in the RN, and the skillset I would have if I become a civilian later in life.

    DE aircrew (Pilot) is the way for me I think! (I really want to fly helicopters), gives me a chance in the civilian world if I leave; yet still have a shot at becoming a PWO if I stay in the RN (or remain in the FAA of course).

    I realise that is about the Navy first and foremost, but I like to have a plan!!!

    Well, thanks again!

  14. If you tick the box for pilot and not observer in your application, and you fail pilot in the aptitude tests, will they offer you observer (assuming you pass that?). Also, I have read on other forums that should you tick the box saying you will accept pilot or observer you are more likely to get picked for observer, assuming the requirement to fill these places is greater the pilot, than someone who ticked just pilot. (sorry for that long sentence)

    I have a massive preference for pilot, but I would accept observer if I failed as pilot. Would ticking observer as a second choice decrease my chances of getting pilot, assuming I did equally well in aptitude and passed AIB?


  15. Hi all, (first post).
    Passed my FAT's in July and I think I managed to sneak a peek at what my scores were for ATC, observer and pilot. For now I will keep the scores to myself, but I was wondering if any of you guys on here would know what the minimum score for pilot is at the moment? Can anyone help? Also, what is the likelihood of getting offered observer rather than pilot if your aptitude scores were higher for observer than they were for pilot? Any help would be greatly appreciated. :thumright:
  16. You want the score above 120 at least. Anything above 130 is very good :)
  17. I was told by the AFCO that 130 is required at the present time to get a place at BRNC for pilot.

    What score did you get?
  18. Very much agree here. Obs are PWO's in the air and get paid a tad more too. (Worth factoring in).

    Pilots are deemed taxi drivers, flying the workers to and from the action. The real tactical stuff is carried out by the back seat guys. (The fun bit is flying I suppose! but boring sometimes too).

    Try a 4 hour CASEX and see how boring a helicopter pilots lot can be!
  19. Pilots are the most handsome, intelligent and debonair occifers that the RN has. They are exempt from menial tasks and their only problem is finding out which knickersbelong to the attractive young ladies who fawn all over them.
    How do I know this...............................................Pilots have told me :w00t:
  20. Richard

    Fully understand the way you are thinking but I advise you NOT to say anything about using the Navy to give you the skillset you might need in later life at any interview fror the RN, as that kind of remark tends to go down like the proverbial lead whatsit!! What they want to hear is that you are mustard keen to get into the Navy to fly in the military.

    Best wishes


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