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Big_Lad56

Newbie
Hello, I plan on becoming an Aircrewman once I've finished College and I have a few questions that I can't seem to find the answers to anywhere. Regardless of the answers I'm still going to pursue being an Aircrewman, these are mostly pretty pointless questions that I just want to find out the answers to.

1.) Would there ever be a situation where an Aircrewman (particularly Commando Aircrewman) would have to carry a firearm with them? Like, if they were doing something in an area where there was a risk of being shot down, would the crew onboard the helicopter have anything to defend themselves?

2.) Are the flight helmets custom fitted to each individuals head or are they in standardised sizes? The only information I can seem to find on this subject is from the US Navy and by the looks of it, their helicopter aircrew have their helmets custom fitted to them but I'm not sure how the RN does it. And if they are custom fitted, does that mean they're unable to be used on future aircrew so you can keep them after you leave?

3.) How long does it usually take between sending off your application and finishing training?

Sorry if maybe I seem a bit naïve with some of my questions, I am still a couple years away from actually joining and I don't know anyone who was in the Royal Navy personally so my only real source of information is the very little that's easily accessible on the internet. Thanks!
 
Hello, I plan on becoming an Aircrewman once I've finished College and I have a few questions that I can't seem to find the answers to anywhere. Regardless of the answers I'm still going to pursue being an Aircrewman, these are mostly pretty pointless questions that I just want to find out the answers to.

1.) Would there ever be a situation where an Aircrewman (particularly Commando Aircrewman) would have to carry a firearm with them? Like, if they were doing something in an area where there was a risk of being shot down, would the crew onboard the helicopter have anything to defend themselves?

2.) Are the flight helmets custom fitted to each individuals head or are they in standardised sizes? The only information I can seem to find on this subject is from the US Navy and by the looks of it, their helicopter aircrew have their helmets custom fitted to them but I'm not sure how the RN does it. And if they are custom fitted, does that mean they're unable to be used on future aircrew so you can keep them after you leave?

3.) How long does it usually take between sending off your application and finishing training?

Sorry if maybe I seem a bit naïve with some of my questions, I am still a couple years away from actually joining and I don't know anyone who was in the Royal Navy personally so my only real source of information is the very little that's easily accessible on the internet. Thanks!
Hi there @Big_Lad56, I was an aircrewman albeit many many years ago so what I am about to answer is historic so could have changed, (although I doubt it).

Q1. Yes you do/will carry 'small arms' when on operations where the use of weapons is authorised. For example, in my day, Northern Ireland was such an area. We used to patrol over there frequently and we carried small arms. For me, it was an SLR, now it would be the SA80. Plus a 9mm pistol, (and a monstongerous survival knife - non issue). Officers carried a 9mm sub machine gun and a 9mm pistol. The risk of being shot down in bandit country was always high so SA was authorised for our protection. You also have to be small arms qualified which means annual tests on a firing range.
In those days, LSW's or life saving waistcoats aka 'Mae Wests' had no provision to hold a pistol, last I observed during the Gulf and subsequent Ops, LSW's did have a holder for the 9mm. No idea which is current, I was always issued a browning maybe the RN has sourced another 9mm since! Also the aircraft/helicopter has no stowage for SLR/SA80. It was simply 'secured' close in case of use.
You may also receive training on a larger LMG, fired from the back door. (Cracking good fun). Pic below of the GPMG in action!

Q2 Flight helmets albeit look the same, like all helmet shells come in differing sizes, it is the lining that is adjustable. As all heads are different the helmet is again fitted to the individual. If serving on a single helicopter flight with no survival equipment specialist embarked you will be issued with two helmets which will both be fitted for your head. This is for crash protection. When worn, your head should not be able to move inside the helmet. The shell effectively holds the wizardry inside, communication set and the adjustable fabric lining. Fitting is done prior to initial wear and then several flight hours later to ensure it is fitted correctly. Unlike motorcycle helmets the shell is not the important piece, the inner fabric is designed to retain your skull in one piece until a aviation doctor can remove it in the event of a ditching.
You do not keep any of your flying kit upon leaving. The most favoured of mine was my Seiko chronometer. Really - really annoyed at having to return it. You will have to keep your gloves and flying boots secure. They are probably the most common items to mysteriously 'disappear'!!!!!

Q3 Absolutely no idea. That is domain of the recruiters and they are the only ones to advise. Last I heard there were two courses a year.

The training is hard and will test anyone/everyone. Apart from your aircrewman training the biggest worry is always the medical. Even the brightest stars have failed the medical. There is nothing you can do to prepare for that. You are either fit/well and work or you have some ailment even your parents won't know about. The medical has the highest failure rate. That said. Don't think about it there is nothing you can do to prepare.

It took me a while to get my wings but when I did I never looked back. No two days the same. I would do it again in a heart beat.
Good luck, any more 'naive' questions just message me or post. (Unless you ask you never find out.)

819NAS-Otterburn-GPMG-1.jpg
 
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Thanks! The reason I was wondering about the helmet is because I would probably end up forming an emotional attachment to it and not want to give it up. Anyway, you’ve been a massive help.
 
Thanks! The reason I was wondering about the helmet is because I would probably end up forming an emotional attachment to it and not want to give it up. Anyway, you’ve been a massive help.
You will go through many many helmets in the course of a full flying career. And having seen what 'mates' can do to helmets of unpopular aircrew - I'd forget any attachment to it!!!!
 
You will go through many many helmets in the course of a full flying career. And having seen what 'mates' can do to helmets of unpopular aircrew - I'd forget any attachment to it!!!!
Don't know what you mean with that comment.
We thought we were helping when we applied boot polish to the leather headband.
As it is leather it needs to be polished doesn't it? :)
 
Don't know what you mean with that comment.
We thought we were helping when we applied boot polish to the leather headband.
As it is leather it needs to be polished doesn't it? :)
I know of!! A certain Obs who upon not being very grateful of being assisted out of a ditched Sea King. He was trapped by his seat life raft in the escape window. Another member of the crew then removed his own safety gear and dived back under to cut the life raft from the now unconscious Obs and drag him to the surface. His, (Obs), helmet was lubricated with some body fluid shortly after!!
I always cleaned inside my own helmet thank you with a mix of water and Hibitane!! Stops spots!!!
 

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