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RAF fighter pilot - The W1nners' Club


So, you are now sans emploi, Zonder een baan, Senza lavoro, ohne Arbeit, sin empleo or as we say to people that have just been sacked from The W1nners’ Club – without a job.

The coming months will be fraught with difficulty as you gradually scale back on things like Fitness First or Virgin gym memberships and join your local budget gym where they don’t supply free towels.

On top of that, you’ll have to contend with every prospective employer asking you why you got sacked from your previous jobs in interviews.

Fear not however, because as usual The W1nners’ Club is here to lend a helping hand.

Have you ever considered becoming an RAF fighter pilot?

You’ll get to do lots of flying around at supersonic speeds and if you’re really lucky or unlucky depending on which way you look at it, you may even get to have a go in an ejector seat.

If flipping the bird at enemy aircraft like Tom Cruise did in Top Gun sounds like it might be your bag, becoming an RAF fighter pilot might be just the career change you’ve been looking for.

Here’s what you’ll need to do to become successful:

1.    Get down to your local armed forces careers office


You may initially be greeted by a bored sigh when you first wander in and tell them you want to be a pilot because the lovely bods at the AFCO get about 450 applicants for every pilot training space available, but they’ll consider your application if you’re between 17 and 26 years old, have a minimum 5 GCSEs and 2 A-Levels and can also show that you’re an active individual with leadership skills. On that basis therefore, infirm Pensioners that don’t know their two times table and are of a nervous disposition need not apply.

2.    Attend a presentation on officer selection


After doing all the bureaucratic stuff like filling out forms and watching the relevant DVDs, you’ll need to attend a presentation on officer selection. You’ll be shown lots of fancy slides about how the RAF is structured, what’s required of an officer and how the interviews will be structured for the selection process etc. Be sure to take lots of notes and whilst you won’t need to be a professional plane spotter at this point, it’ll certainly help if you don’t believe a Fokker is someone that you don’t like very much.

3.    Attend a filter interview


This will take the form of a one-to-one with the AFCO commanding officer and will cover things such as your education, and life achievements etc. Make sure you brush upon this area because not knowing what year you left school won’t exactly inspire any confidence that you can handle the controls of a Harrier Jump Jet. Whilst on the subject of Jump Jets, you’ll need to know for how long and where you’ll be doing any training in that aircraft and other fast jets such as the Typhoon, Tornado, Hercules, and Nimrod. You’ll also be expected to show some wider RAF knowledge such as who we’re at war with at the moment, where our bases are currently positioned in the world and which operations certain aircraft are being used for.  If this sounds like a lot, it’s because you’ll need to demonstrate that you have the qualities to be an officer in Her Majesty’s Royal Air Force goddammit!

4.    Attend the Officer and Aircrew Selection Centre


If by the grace of dear God you actually manage to get through the modern day equivalent of the Spanish Inquisition that is your filter interview, you’ll now have to brace yourself for the business end of things by attending the OASC at RAF Cranwell. This is the last stage in the officer selection process and over four gruelling days you can expect to be prodded, probed and poked (don’t worry – it’s all legal) to see if you’ve got what it takes to make the grade.

The process will involve the following:

(a) Aptitude Test

This will involve half a day of tests that will range from fairly standard numerical reasoning assessments to the near impossible, ‘cancel some coloured diamonds on a screen with an inverted joystick and rudder control whilst doing calculations and trying to remember a combination of alphanumerics that change every few seconds.’ That’s right – flying a jet fighter is pretty tricky stuff!


(b) Group Exercise Phase

This part will basically be a bit like The Crystal Maze meets The Krypton Factor (anybody who knows what these TV shows are is far too old to become a Fighter pilot BTW) and involves fictional scenarios where you’ll have to work as part of a team to solve specific problems. You’ll also be required to cross a large hangar without touching the floor using nothing but the various items of equipment that are supplied, and if we’re not mistaken this is a popular game that sometimes gets played at children’s birthday parties…..

 (C) Interview phase

This will be very much like the filter interview you had previously only now you’ll be up in front of double the number of RAF bods that you were previously. Again, you’ll have to discuss your achievements and motivation for joining the RAF etc. They may even expect you to discuss international and current affairs to see how you express yourself and convey your ideas – so no intimating that you want to join the RAF because you have the top score among your mates on Afterburner* and definitely try to think of a good explanation as to why you got sacked from your previous job.

(d) Medical phase

………for obvious reasons. There’s no point having an ejector seat if you’re going to get wedged in the cockpit when it fires!

(e) Fitness Test

This will take the form of a bleep test which isn’t unfortunately set up to measure how often you’re able to swear within a given time period. You’ll be required to sprint between given points in time with a bleep sound that gets progressively faster. You’ll also be required to show how many sit ups and press ups you can do etc. so it’d be a good idea to get some fitness training done beforehand. After all, Tom Cruise didn’t have a beer belly on Top Gun now did he?


Good Luck!


*Again if you’re old enough to know the game Afterburner, you’re probably too old to get into the British Legion let alone the RAF!


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