Aircrew Officer Pilot

Service:Fleet Air Arm
Branch:Aviation
Level:Officer
Adventure
Combat and security
Hands on
Air Crew Officer Pilot
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The role at a glance

What you’ll do

Can you think on your feet while you’re in mid-air? You’ll need to as Pilot in the Royal Navy. At all times, and wherever you are in the world, whether you’re flying in pitch black, or carrying out a daytime search and rescue operation. This is a role that’s all about aptitude at altitude, and it goes without saying it takes a special kind of person to do it. Whether you’re flying a Wildcat helicopter or being one of the first to fly the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, you’ll become a master of mission-focused flying. 

Your role

  • Extend our reach on global missions, pushing our cutting-edge aircraft to the limit. 
  • Specialise in fixed wing or rotary aircraft flying after general flying training, and have all the support and flight time you need to become a world-class pilot.
  • Become a key part of our most essential missions, from delivering Royal Marines behind enemy lines in a Merlin Mk3 or Mk4, to providing lifesaving humanitarian aid in the Med. 
  • Pass rigorous tests to master the skill of mission-focused flying. 

What you’ll get

Skills for life

Qualifications you'll gain

  • Study for GCSEs, A-Levels, NVQs or even a degree, with funding from us
  • Gain a free foundation degree in Aviation Systems Management at 'wing', and BSc of the same name when on the Front Line

Skills you'll develop

  • How to fly state-of-the-art aviation machines on global missions
  • The ability to use your quick reaction times and work under pressure

Career progression

What you'll need

Eligibility

  • If you take your A-levels after the start of 2017, you need 72 UCAS points, including two non-overlapping subject areas; before 2017, you need 180 UCAS points
  • If you take your GCSEs after the start of 2017, you need 5 at grades 9 – 4, including English Language and Maths; before 2017, you need 5 at grades A*– C  
  • The above must include English Language and Maths
  • You must be aged 17 to 25
  • Minimum height of 151.5cm and within the healthy range for Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • A British or Irish national, a Commonwealth citizen who has lived in the UK continuously for the 5 years prior to applying, or a dual national

Skills and interests

  • Able to thrive on responsibility
  • Calm under pressure
  • A love of aviation and flying
  • Able to learn new skills quickly

 

Check Eligibility

Starting your career

Joining process

Once you’ve confirmed your eligibility, the joining process is as follows:

  • Submit an application

    Once you’ve registered your interest, we’ll be in touch to discuss your options

  • Naval Service Recruitment Test (NSRT)

    You’ll be tested on general reasoning, verbal ability, numeracy and mechanical comprehension

  • Interview

    A formal interview to talk through your suitability for the role

  • Medical and eye tests

    These are quite comprehensive and must be completed by one of our Ministry of Defence-approved doctors

  • Pre-Joining Fitness Test (PJFT)

     This involves completing a 2.4km run on a treadmill within a certain time, at a fitness centre near you

  • Interview 

    You’ll have a short interview to assess your suitability for a career in the Royal Navy, and to ensure you’re ready for the Admiralty Interview Board (AIB)

  • Admiralty Interview Board (AIB)

    This stage is unique to officers and takes place over a day and a half. It’s a competency-based assessment that confirms that you’re physically and mentally ready to become a Royal Navy Officer


Initial training

Before you begin your initial training, you’ll need to take Flying Aptitude Tests (FATs) at RAF Cranwell in Lincolnshire. These assess your ability to cope with the rigours of flying training. You’ll then progress to Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC) in Dartmouth, where you’ll spend 30 weeks, focusing on: military skills, maritime skills and initial fleet time.


The military skills phase includes learning leadership and teamwork skills, and the principles of command and management. You will put this into practice during several exercises on Dartmoor.

Aim to get yourself as fit as you can before you arrive. You’ll be doing a lot of physical exercise, and you’ll find it much easier if you’re already in good shape. There’s also a swimming test, so if you can’t swim, make sure you’ve learned by the time you join us.


Professional training

After you’ve passed out of BRNC, you will spend a further 15 weeks learning about our aircraft. At the end of this stage, you’ll go through grading. This is a set of tests that determines your suitability for life as a pilot.

Once you’ve completed grading, you’ll begin your 30-week Elementary Flight Training at RAF Barkston Heath. After that, you’ll find out whether you will be flying jets (fixed wing) or helicopters (rotary wing). If fixed wing, you’ll go to RAF Linton-on-Ouse for 49 weeks, before a further two years of fast jet training. If rotary wing, you’ll spend 30 weeks at RAF Shawbury, before a further 12 months specialising in flying your chosen helicopter.