One of the most fulfilling and exciting jobs has to an RAF pilot. You will become one of the most highly trained pilots in the world and operate in a variety of environments from the arctic to the desert. Joining the RAF is a fairly rigorous process, as they’re not just looking at pilot competencies, but also officer qualities and thus potential leadership skills.
Initially, you will be asked to attend a presentation at your local Armed Forces Careers Office (AFCO) before being called forward to attend aptitude testing at RAF Cranwell. This involves approximately 6 hrs of aptitude testing on a computer where you will be assessed for your suitability in all roles within the officer cadre.
If successful at the aptitude test, you will be invited to attend a filter interview at your local AFCO. This is designed to determine whether you have the potential to pass the interview at the Officer and Aircrew Selection Centre (OASC), again at RAF Cranwell. On successful completion, you will be asked to attend a medical evaluation and invited to attend a 2 day selection process at the OASC. This will encompass an interview and various leadership exercises to assess your potential as an officer. These range from individual theory exercises to practical command based assessments. You will also be required to complete a fitness test, which takes the format of the bleep test (a running exercise).
If successful you’ll be offered a course at Initial Officer Training (IOT), at RAFC Cranwell. This is an intensive course that will train you in everything from field craft to leadership and military/defence doctrine. It’s 10 months long, and is conducted through the prestigious College Hall Officers’ Mess, which has graduated esteemed characters such as Rory Underwood and Sir Frank Whittle. This is a tough course, both mentally taxing and physically challenging. Upon successful completion, you will be commissioned into Her Majesty’s Royal Air Force.
As a commissioned Officer, you will then proceed to Elementary Flying Training (EFT), currently conducted on the Grob Tutor. In no time at all you will be flying the aircraft solo, and moving onto other disciplines, such as aerobatics, instrument flying, low level navigation and formation flying. A tough course with a steep learning curve, but incredibly exciting and rewarding as you master each discipline and progress through each milestone. For any aviation aficionado, this course is so enjoyable, that you’ll wake each morning raring to go. EFT consists of approximately 60 hours of flying training. Upon completion, you will be graded and ranked amongst your peers through a process called streaming. This will determine where you go next; Fast Jet, rotary or multi-engine. Where ever you end up, you will have an exciting and fulfilling career, conducting aviation at the pinnacle of skill and competence and involved in such diverse experiences, you’ll never get bored!
A mini-blog article from a retired TWA Captain discussing the benefits of emotional intelligence and understanding how it can make you a safer and more understanding pilot.