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PILOT
CURRENTLY RECRUITING
Aircraft Analysis & maths Gaming & computers
PAY DURING INITIAL OFFICER TRAINING
£31,000+
+ Benefits
PAY AFTER 3 YEARS SERVICE AND PROMOTION TO THE RANK OF FLT LT
£47,000+
+ Benefits

As a Royal Air Force Pilot you will fly fast-jets, transport aircraft or helicopters.

Already applied? See what the next steps are >

What will you do?

You’ll be streamed to fast-jet, multi-engine or rotary-wing (helicopter) aircraft depending on operational requirements and your flying ability. You are then likely to specialise in this type of aircraft throughout your career. Tasks undertaken as a pilot of one of these types of aircraft could be:

 

  • Conducting air-to-air combat
  • Taking part in ground attack missions
  • Delivering humanitarian aid
  • Flying military support
  • Ferrying troops into combat
  • Delivering equipment and supplies
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What's it like being a pilot in the RAF
Flight Lieutenant Chris Gordon explains how he joined the RAF and what his job involves as a Chinook pilot
Minimum education requirements
  • GCSEs at Grade C/4 or Scottish National 5  at Grade C in English Language, Maths and at least three other subjects.
  • Have at least 2 A2 Levels/3 Highers at Grade C or above (excluding General Studies, Critical Thinking or Citizenship Studies) which must total a minimum of 64 UCAS points
RAF Pilot flying A400 Atlas, receiving fuel from RAF Voyager mid-air
Requirements
  • The minimum age to apply is 17-and-a-half years old. The maximum age on entry to Direct Entry Pilot is age 23, Phase One training at RAF Cranwell must be started before your 24th birthday. To accommodate the process, candidates are to submit an application before their 23rd birthday.
  • Be a citizen of the United Kingdom or holder of dual UK/ other nationality
  • Commit to minimum 12 years service
  • Meet the health and fitness criteria
  • Pass a Fitness test - Details below
  • Candidates must be able to swim - see details below

 

View all entry requirements >

RAF Pilot in F35B airborne with other F35Bs beside
CAREER, TRAINING
& EDUCATION
At any level or position your personal success is vital to make us succeed too. We are dedicated to your future, as it is essential to ours. You will receive basic and specialist training in your field and we even provide the option to pay for your education. The experience you gain with the RAF will equip you to work at the top of your field, both in the UK and overseas.
01
Phase one training
Initial Officer training
white stopwatch icon for duration 24 weeks
white map-pin icon for location RAF Cranwell
You’ll begin your career with us at the RAF College Cranwell in Lincolnshire where you’ll complete your Initial Training Course.
02
Phase two training
Specialist training
white stopwatch icon for duration 1.5-2 years
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Your specialist training begins with Elementary Flying Training where you’ll fly the Tutor or Prefect aircraft.
03
First tour
Specialist training
white stopwatch icon for duration Ongoing
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During your first tour, you will probably be posted overseas for anything from a few days to a few months.
04
Your career prospects
Specialist training
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You will join the RAF on an Initial Commission of 12 years.
05
Ongoing development
Development
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As a Pilot, you will have opportunities for further professional development throughout your career.
06
Transferable skills
Development
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white map-pin icon for location As assigned
The skills and experience you gain throughout your career as a Pilot in the RAF are valuable.
07
In-service degree
Specialist training
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white map-pin icon for location As assigned
An In-service degree for Aircrew is available for some roles.
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WHY JOIN
THE RAF?

Thanks to subsidised food, travel, accommodation and free gym you get more money in your pocket.

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Benefits icon for Rent from £75p/m
Rent from £75p/m
Benefits icon for Free gym
Free gym
Benefits icon for Subsidised food
Subsidised food
Benefits icon for Health care
Health care
Benefits icon for World travel
World travel
Benefits icon for Training
Training
WHAT HAPPENS
AFTER APPLYING
Joining the RAF takes several steps. Below is an overview of the process. The purpose of this process is for us to gauge whether you’re the right person for the RAF and for you to show us all of your skills and experiences that have made you who you are.
1
Aptitude tests
2
Selection interviews
3
Health Assessment
4
Fitness test
5
OASC
6
Familiarisation visit
7
Offer of service
1
Aptitude tests
Stage 1 of 7

The first step in the application process is a series of Computer Based Aptitude Tests (CBAT). These tests ensure we match the right candidate to the right role. They take place over one day at the Officers and Aircrew Selection Centre at the RAF College Cranwell in Lincolnshire, and measure your ability to perform specific tasks such as:

  • How well you respond physically to visual information
  • Your ability to interpret information in two dimensions and devise a three-dimensional solution
  • Your ability to complete several tasks simultaneously
  • Your natural abilities, including deductive reasoning, spatial reasoning, work rate and concentration, and verbal and numerical reasoning
2
Selection interviews
Stage 2 of 7

Selection interviews help us get to know you a little better – and vice versa. You’ll get to show your skills and experience, and we’ll answer any questions you have about joining the RAF. The first of these interviews happens on-line and covers the following topics:

  • Family life
  • Education
  • Work experience
  • Special interests or hobbies
  • Interest in the RAF
3
Health Assessment
Stage 3 of 7

You’re legally required to meet certain medical standards, and must pass an occupational health assessment to show you’re fit for military duty. As part of this assessment we will check your overall health, focusing on areas like hearing, eyesight and body mass index.

 

We’ll also investigate any past illnesses and screen for health issues that may prevent you from carrying out your role. View details below for more information about the health standards you’ll need to meet.

4
Fitness test
Stage 4 of 7

A good level of fitness is critical to joining the RAF, it’s also something that must be maintained throughout your career. You’ll need to complete a Pre-Joining Fitness Test (PJFC). This will take place at a local gym near to you, and includes a 2.4km run, push up test and a sit-up test.

 

The performance level you’ll need to meet differs by age and gender. Please refer to the entry requirements below for more information about the health standards you’ll need to meet. You can also find help, and a training plan, to assist you in your preparation here.

5
OASC
Stage 5 of 7

This will be your second visit to the Officers and Aircrew Selection Centre. OASC lasts one day, but you will arrive the day before. During this time the officers will be assessing your leadership, teamwork, communication, motivation, and problem solving.

 

The day will end with an interview. The first half of the interview covers your achievements at school and college, in sports, your community, at work, and as a cadet, scout or guide.

The second half explores your motivation for joining the RAF – what you know about current affairs and the RAF’s role in the national and international arena, current operations the RAF is involved in and your knowledge about the RAF and the role you've applied for.

 

6
Familiarisation visit
Stage 6 of 7

This takes place over 2 days and is designed to give you an insight into officer training. You’ll be issued with your initial kit, including your boots, attend lectures, and also repeat the fitness test taken at OASC.

7
Offer of service
Stage 7 of 7

Once you’ve successfully completed each phase of the application process you’ll be invited to a provisional offer of service interview at your nearest AFCO.

 

This is to ensure that you understand the terms and conditions of service in the RAF, are fully committed to joining, and prepared to commence training.

ENTRY
REQUIREMENTS

The maximum age on entry to Direct Entry Pilot is age 23, Phase One training at RAF Cranwell must be started before your 24th birthday. Candidates are to submit an application before their 23rd birthday.

Applicants must also read all of the sections below and make sure they meet all entry requirements before submitting an application.

EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS
  GCSE GCSE 2017 Scottish National 5
Mathematics C Grade 4 C
English Language C Grade 4 C
Three other subjects C Grade 4 C

Have at least 2 A2 Levels/3 Highers at Grade C or above (excluding General Studies or Critical Thinking) which must total a minimum of 64 UCAS points.

If you hold a UK degree at Grade 2:2 or higher (or acceptable alternative) you only need Mathematics and English Language at a minimum of GCSEs a Grade C/4 or Scottish National 5 grade C

You can see what the RAF accepts in lieu of GCSEs & A Levels here.

NATIONALITY & RESIDENCY

You must be a citizen of the United Kingdom or holder of dual UK/ other nationality.

Whether or not you were born in the United Kingdom, you should have resided there for the 5 years immediately preceding your application but candidates with a minimum of 3 years may be considered.

Following the MOD announcement that the UK Armed Forces will now be able to recruit commonwealth citizens without the 5 year residency requirement, please note that the RAF continues to apply standard residency requirements for security clearance,  ie, DV employment requires 7-years UK residency immediately prior to enlistment; SC requires 3-years. 

FITNESS REQUIREMENTS

You must be physically fit to complete both initial and specialist training, and to do your role effectively. To check your fitness levels, we put every candidate through at least two separate fitness tests as part of the application process.

The first of these is the Pre-Joining Fitness Test (PJFT) which takes place at a fitness centre local to you. This consists of the following:

  • 2.4km (1.5m) run on a treadmill (set to zero incline)
  • Achieve the required number of press-ups - within 60 seconds
  • Achieve the required number of sit-ups - within 60 seconds

The second fitness test will take place at RAF Cranwell as part of your familiarisation visit. This consists of the following:

  • Achieving the required score on the Multi-Stage Fitness Test (MSFT or Bleep test)
  • Achieve the required number of press-ups - within 60 seconds
  • Achieve the required number of sit-ups - within 60 seconds

How fit you need to be to pass these tests can vary depending on role, age and gender. The requirements are listed on the charts below (Male and Female).

MEN - 100% pass rates:
AGE 2.4 Km Run Multi-Stage Fitness Test Press-ups Sit-ups
  (Mins) (Score) (No.) (No.)
15-16 11.39 9.03 20 35
17-29 11.11 9.10 20 35
30-34 11.36 9.04 19 32
35-39 12 8.09 18 29
40-44 12.26 8.03 17 26

 

WOMEN - 100% pass rates:
AGE 2.4 Km Run Multi-Stage Fitness Test Press-ups Sit-ups
  (Mins) (Score) (No.) (No.)
15-16 13.54 6.07 10 32
17-29 13.23 7.02 10 32
30-34 13.47 6.08 9 29
35-39 14.13 6.04 8 26
40-44 14.48 5.08 7 23

You can see the protocols for Press Ups & Sit Ups here:

PJFT/PRTC/Fam Visit Protocols

You can download an MP3 file of the Multi-Stage Fitness Test below, listen to the introduction file first:

RAF MSFT: Intro

RAF MSFT: Bleep Test

You can see a video demonstration of the PRTC Fitness Test here:

RAF Fam Visit Fitness Test

A 12-week fitness plan with detailed information to help you get ready for all of the fitness tests can be downloaded here.

To train as aircrew in the RAF, you must be able to pass the RAF Swimming Test as follows: Swim 100 meters without rest, using any front or sidestroke. Tread water for 2 minutes. Get out of the deep end of the pool unassisted, without the use of steps or the bottom of the pool.  All personnel attempting the test must wear clothing commensurate with that worn for their normal operating activity, which for aircrew is a flying suit.

RAF SWIMMING TEST

To train as aircrew in the RAF, you must be able to pass the RAF Swimming Test as follows: Swim 100 meters without rest, using any front or sidestroke. Tread water for 2 minutes. Get out of the deep end of the pool unassisted, without the use of steps or the bottom of the pool. 

 

All personnel attempting the test must wear clothing commensurate with that worn for their normal operating activity, which for aircrew is a flying suit.

HEALTH REQUIREMENTS

Candidates joining the RAF must be medically fully fit, both physically and psychologically, to meet the challenges of military service, during which they will be expected to deploy, potentially at short notice, to locations world-wide that are remote from established medical care. 

 

Certain medical conditions could preclude entry to the RAF. Further details can be found in this document. 

Before your application, please note that Body Mass Index Requirements are as follows: 

Age Male and female minimum Male and female maximum Male maximum with additional assessment Female maximum with additional assessment
18 + 18 30 32 32
16 to < 18 17 27 27 27

Calculate your BMI here 

 

Eyesight requirements vary for different roles. A requirement to wear glasses or contact lenses may be allowed for aircrew. 
 
If you are unsure about any health criteria, please continue your application and your eligibility will be assessed at the medical examination stage.  

 

During your application, the Medical Risk Assessment that all candidates undergo is there to make sure that you are healthy enough for the intense training required by the RAF. Your application will be rejected if you fail to meet the minimum acceptable medical standard for entry. Your medical history is confidential and is not disclosed to those not authorised to hold this information. 

BACKGROUND CHECKS

YOU MUST

  • Declare any previous spent and unspent convictions
  • Check if you qualify under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 through this summary
  • Have a basic background check to get Security Check level clearance
DISQUALIFYING FACTORS

YOU CAN'T APPLY FOR THE RAF IF YOU:

  • Have been or are member of a group that stirs up racial hatred and violence
  • Are waiting to appear in court, or have unspent convictions. You may also have to declare spent convictions for certain roles
  • Misuse drugs, solvents and anabolic steroids. But each case is considered upon its own merits
  • Have tattoos, brands or bead implants that are obscene or offensive. 
    Any permanent or temporary tattoos, whether ordinarily visible or not, must not be obscene or offensive (eg, racist, anti-religion or belief, crude, overtly sexist, homophobic, drug related or of an extreme political nature). Tattoos may be worn on the side and back of the neck but tattoos on the back of the neck must not extend above the natural hairline (scalp tattoos are not permitted).
  • Have body piercing which causes holes that do not close up
  • Declare yourself to be an 'undischarged' bankrupt

Beard Policy:

A revised facial hair policy has been agreed by the Air Force Board which will allow serving personnel to wear a smart, neatly-trimmed, full-set beard whilst maintaining high standards of appearance. The length of acceptable beards is between Grade 1 (2.5mm) and Grade 8 (25.5mm).

The wearing of beards during Phase 1 and Phase 2 training is currently under consideration and details will be advised when available.

If you don’t have any of the above, you might still be able to apply. For more information please contact us.

APPLY
NOW
Got what it takes? Start your application here.
RAF Pilot carrying equipment walking out to line of FGR4 Typhoon jets on concrete apron