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Direct entry for Aircrewmen

Published: 25 Feb 2014

A change to the recruitment of rating Aircrew into the Fleet Air Arm has seen the first Direct Entry Aircrewmen join the Royal Navy since the Second World War. 

From 2014 the Aircrewmen branch for Naval Service rating aviators has opened its doors to enlist straight from career offices. Youngsters wishing to fly as Aircrewmen in Merlin Anti-Submarine helicopters or its ‘Junglie’ Commando equivalent now have an opportunity to join straight into the Branch. This chance will work alongside the other traditional sideways entry scheme that ratings from all branches of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines can apply through. 

Visiting Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose recently were several potential direct entry Aircrewmen who were given a three day acquaint that covered the Commando and Anti-Submarine aspects of the branch. “This is a great chance for young people to fly with the Senior Service”, said Warrant Officer 1 Aircrewman Steve Clay, hosting officer for the familiarisation. “The idea of this acquaint is to show them what we have to offer. I can honestly say if this is the quality of young recruits that we are attracting, then I think we are well placed for the future" 

The recruiters are hoping that the opportunity to join the Navy’s Fleet Air Arm will appeal to many more. Their path will follow a different route to other recruits but still maintain the Royal Navy’s core values of Commitment, Courage, Discipline, Respect, Integrity and Loyalty. After Basic Naval Training at HMS Raleigh, near Plymouth they will move onto leadership training and common ground school at RAF Shawbury before starting Initial Flying Training and streaming either into the Commando or Anti-Submarine cadres. 

Courses in Search and Rescue techniques, Survival and Aero-Medical instruction will be part of a central core syllabus before individuals move onto RNAS Culdrose or RNAS Yeovilton. On completion of flying training the Aircrewmen across the branch will receive their coveted Wings, before joining their respective Squadrons and frontline service. 

WO 1 Steve Clay continues, “You’ll be hard to beat a more rewarding and satisfying career in the Royal Navy or Royal Marines. There’s three Direct Entry Aircrewmen currently in training at HMS Raleigh; I’m keen to see how they get on. Becoming an Aircrewman is a challenge which brings with it accelerated promotion and an opportunity to become a valuable member of the Royal Navy’s Aviation community”.


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