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Pilot shore life, sea life and family life

Good evening,

I was previously considering joining as a reserve but, have noticed due to the age relaxation that I now tick all the boxes for becoming my dream job; a pilot. And I am completely willing to leave my full time job for that.

Before we all say “not another one” I’m 30 (new age limit is 34) with a mechanical engineering degree, chartered and already have 25% of my Private Pilot License completed with perfect eyesight. So I don’t think this is a total pipe dream (he says).

So here is my question; I get that I’m signing up to a warship that doesn’t have a schedule but, is it possible to have a family life? I’m getting married next year so that weighs very heavily on my mind.

I’m not worried about the 30 weeks at BRNC or even seatime perse I am just curious about how much “land time” comes after the fact. Are you only on land for literally 6 weeks of the year? Or are you assigned a ship, go on operations for six months and then have some time at RNAS Yeovilton, therefore allowing for some “normal” family life? I realise that theoretically yes 6 weeks and that’s your lot could happen but, is that other people experience?


War Hero

Something to bear in mind is the fact that Service Family Accommodation will be available to you; I know that this isn't the answer to your question, but I've pointed it out because what it does mean is that your spouse will have support and companionship from other families in exactly the same situation when you are away. There are organisations which offer support to families, too; the Naval Families Federation is very good; it sends out a regular magazine called Homeport, which is a good read. The RN Community Centres offer all sorts of activities too.

I think that if you look at your question logically, you will see the answer yourself. Your question is "is it possible to have a family life?". The answer has to be "yes", otherwise the majority of the Fleet Air Arm's pilots would be single; most of the ones I know are actually married with children, so there is obviously a way of combining the job and family life.

Something which I would say to you, by the way, is that wondering whether you can combine the Pilot role and family life is a reasonable thing to do, but I honestly wouldn't recommend letting it weigh heavily on your mind. The most important thing for you to focus on at this stage is how you are going to navigate the next 12 months, because you are contemplating applying for a role which appeals to many applicants, but getting through all the stages of the process is a real challenge. There is immense competition for this particular role and it's important to make sure that you are at the top of your game, for want of a better expression. Even getting to the AIB is no guarantee of a place at BRNC, so be sure that you put your heart and soul into navigating your application. Why not start now?

I would recommend that you get cracking now - it will make it easier for you to plan your wedding next year if you have a better idea of where you will be. Bear in mind that successful applicants at AIB don't necessarily get the next start date at BRNC. You might find that you start at the beginning of 2021, meaning that how the year unfolds is going to be driven by BRNC, so starting now is a good idea - that way, you will have a better idea of your availability next year.

By the way, start to pick up Navy News at W H Smith so that you are up to date on deployments etc. I would also suggest going to the air day at RNAS Yeovilton.



War Hero
Having culinary skills comes in handy when on SAR crews and having to feed one selves or if you find yourself in a survival situation!!
Never knock a pilot with a frying pan!!!!!
Where is Dapperdunn when he is needed?


War Hero
It may be beneficial to talk to your intended spouse about how they view the situation. Their support is vital especially for what is a very intense period. i.e Joining for officer training then when that is successfully completed moving on to trade training.



I'm in a similar situation to you, although not as far down the career path. I'm 26 with a degree in civil engineering. I've realised I've spent the past five years training for a job I don't actually enjoy, so I also was intrigued at seeing the easing of the age restrictions for aircrew.

Let me know if/when you apply and how you get on (with regards to the "stigma" for older FAA applicants).
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