Pilot promotion prospects.

Discussion in 'The Fleet Air Arm' started by Blapto, Mar 18, 2006.

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  1. In the RAF, a lot of the most senior officers were pilots at some time in their career. I do want to be a pilot in the FAA (filling out an Officer Information Form right now) but I'm curious (not worried!) about promotion prospects for pilots in the FAA.
    I was told by a Lieutenant Commander (works with the RNR) that he regards the FAA as the elite of the RN as they can pick and choose their candidates, whereas all the other branches are having difficulty recruiting.
    So, as a pilot, am I ever likely to see a command/reach Commodore?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Virgin and BA are both recruiting at the moment.You will never get served coffee by a dolly in your jsf!
  3. silverfox

    silverfox War Hero Moderator Book Reviewer

    Hate to shatter any illusions here, but the last time I was in contact with the AIB (about 6 months ago) the pass score required by a Warfare Officer was higher than that needed for Aircrew. People were applying and being told that they had not made the grade for Warfare Officer, but did thay fancy being Aircrew. The knock on effect was that those Aircrew failing grading during their second phase at BRNC were chopped without the option to transfer. (v frustrating for the staff who had expended time an effort on people who would have made good officers in the round - in fact those who were worth this did a swift re sit of the AIB and re-appeared at the College a few months later!!).This may have changed but it serves as an example of how perceptions can change.
  4. I thought aircrew were warfare officers?
    I'll still go for aircrew anyway, and then warfare officer if I fail FATs/medical.
  5. It depends on how your career pans out. If you do 1, may be 2 flying jobs, then get your Bridge Watchkeeping Ticket, become a PWO, pass your Command Exams, pass both XCAB and SASB, do well when you take your shiny ship to FOST and are lucky, then you'll have a fighting chance of promotion to 1* and beyond.

    If you want to fly continually, get no experience outside of a NAS, generally slag off the fish-heads, you'll be lucky to push for 2 1/2, maybe 3 stripes if you pass your air Command Exams and broaden.

    The long and short of it is that the Navy requires Ship and Boat drivers, and nearly all 2 - 4* officers have had 2 or 3 Sea Commands. If you want to reach high rank by flying then I'm afraid it's the RAF for you!

    *edit for poor england
  6. Agree totally with alfred. If you want to drive ships, then you need to go down the PWO route. There are a few Cdrs who get SASB'd and have never been a PWO, but nowadays, they are very few and far between.

    If you want to have a great job and work with great people, join the FAA. If you want back stabbing and snobbery, book yourself on the PWO course.
  7. I would suggest that how far you go up the promotion ladder is down to two factors, how able you are at the job. If you are a duffer you won't get that far, but if you are average or above it will depend very much on how promotion orientated you are. On the other hand every promotion has it's price and for may there comes a time when that price is too high. But then again life is about choices, and high rank does not always bring happines.

  8. perhaps things have changed since i left,but to my knowledge all aircraft carriers and air station captains were pilots most of which ended up wth a flag rank.
  9. Having had experience of all 3 CVS, and 5 COs, I can state none were pilots, and 2 were Submariners. Can't speak about Naval Air Stations, however I suspect these are WAFUs (but again, they're most likely to have had time as a Fishhead).
  10. Seadog

    Seadog War Hero Moderator

    The old man at RNAS Culdrose is a pilot (Lynx IIRC) and has had at least two sea commands, most recently HMS Bulwark.

  11. In my day Pilots were mostly fixed wing and we had real flight decks

    The pilots /observers that lived long enough as a Lt got Two and a half and a desk job!!

    They used to have a Commander [Air] but the Captain was usually Exec Branch next step Commodore or Flag rank.
  12. come now greenie.Captains of eagle 57 to 59 were captain m le fanu and captain j b frewen,both pilots,same eagle ten years later,captain j e pope. all flag officers of fleet air arm were pilots,commando carriers tended to have general service captains.
  13. Hig --thats a sprinkling-----considering the carriers we had then
    Victorious,Ark Royal ,Albion ,Bulwark ,Hermes etc etc.

    Carrier Captains at that time were senior Captains and the big ship confirmed their move to Flag Rank as next !!

    I was on Hermes 2nd commission --Capt O'brien. 1961---
  14. wave_dodger

    wave_dodger War Hero Book Reviewer

    Absolute beauty, I hate to even imply that I don't accept this but I don't - For the AIB grades for a WAFU to be less than a Warfairy would require a minor miracle. We get hundreds more applicants for aircrew than we need, thats why the eyesight bar still exists [see how many current aircrew have glasses and still fly] the AIB pass grade is yet another limiter.

    As for warfairies - if you've a pulse and own you're own eyes you're likely to get into BRNC.

    The booties require the highest score, and I do believe a skooly got the highest ever score (last year).

    Bottom line is that if you want to reach the highest positions in the Navy, you'll need to be a warfare officer or an aviator that leaves flying very early and does a PWO job, then gets XCAB'ed (selected for XO or small ship drive), mind you you'd till get flying pay :x
  15. Wave dodger is right, warfare officers generally have AIB pass marks on the low side, pilot can be quite high depending upon the number they require for each year. RM Officers and UCE RN Officers generally require the highest marks as there is serious competition for the RM guys and UCE is a big risk to take on someone at age 17 or 18 then letting them go to uni for 3 or 4 years!

    The top score ever thing is quite funny, you always hear about it but I would be very surprised if it were to be a schoolie as, let's face it, they're pretty useless when it comes to being officers, come to think of it why do we need lts lecturing on maths, I know plenty of chiefs who would be much better suited to the job of teaching maths, etc to jnr rates, whether they'd want to is another question! Whoops, went off topic...

    If you want to be a career aviator, Cdr is the highest you are ever likely to get. If you join as a warfare officer and sub-specialise in aviation (P or O) you've got a fair chance at getting past that and even further. Look at the number of past and present flag officers (non Engineer) who are submariners or FAA, it seems to set them apart from the 'pure' General Surface X branch.
  16. 4 people I knew in the 80s
    1. Pilot still flying and a Lt Cdr
    2. SOBS now Rear Admiral
    3. observer now Commodore at Yeovilton
    4. Pilot currently Commander

    the skipper of Hermes in 82 was a buccaneer pilot & went on to flag officer naval air command

    so swings & roundabout imho
  17. 4 people I knew in the 80s
    1. Pilot still flying and a Lt Cdr
    2. SOBS now Rear Admiral
    3. observer now Commodore at Yeovilton
    4. Pilot currently Commander

    the skipper of Hermes in 82 was a buccaneer pilot & went on to flag officer naval air command

    so swings & roundabout imho
  18. wave_dodger

    wave_dodger War Hero Book Reviewer

    empty_vessel, I'm taken aback 8O that a member of the Fleet Air Arm (nice tie - much better than those hideous stable belts) could be soooo unkind about the skoolies, Who else would you have to poke fun at and ignore during met briefs?

    Its actually a reasonable point, never understood the logic myself but hayho they didn't want me to be a warfairy so why shouldn't I take up their kind offer I only had to do one skooly job then I escaped into the depths of the Fleet.

    It really really was a skooly last year (he is a Tefal head in the extreme, PhD, TA Officer the works), and I think a Bootie before that.

    Happy flying!
  19. As an aside, one third of all (ie 2 of the 6) current Vice Admirals (and a Rear Admiral or two) in the RN are aviators - not a bad hit rate for any branch!!! And one has even made 1st Sea Lord in the past, and the only naval officer who shagged Princess Di was a pilot. ;)

    Of course, there are always the 54 year old Lt Cdr jobs to fill as well, but what a quality of life you get out of it. Fly Navy baby! And when you get bored, go and fly BA, take a pay cut, and come back occasionally with a little "R" to fly Navy some more!
  20. the_matelot

    the_matelot War Hero Moderator

    The current FOMA, Cdre Charlier's previous appointment before he took up his current deskjob was as CO of HMS Cornwall.

    And a very good CO he was too!;)

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