How to Become a Pilot in the RAF

Becoming a pilot in the RAF is the coveted dream of many young aspirants. It is a career full of risks, dangers and thrills and therefore there are many who are drawn to this life of excitement and adventure. This is probably the reason why the competition is intense and the selection procedure is so tough that there is only one seat per 450 applicants!


Every candidate desirous of applying to become a pilot in the RAF should fulfil the following criteria

  • Be between 17.5 and 25 years
  • Be a citizen of UK or Ireland or could hold dual UK citizenship
  • Score 5 grade C or above in GCSE
  • Score grades A-C in any two A levels

If you have been regularly involved in school sports and taken part in community activities, it would certainly add value to your application. If you happen to be a member of the Air Training Corps, your chances of getting selected would be much higher.

How to Apply

  1. You can obtain the necessary forms from the nearest Armed Forces Career Office after which you can begin the application process. You also have the facility to apply online at Your application will then be processed following which you will undergo the AST(Airman/Airwoman Selection Test which assesses your mechanical aptitude, memory, verbal reasoning, mathematics, spatial reasoning and electrical comprehension.
  2. Next you will need to take the physical fitness tests. This includes an occupational health assessment which consists of vision and hearing tests and an evaluation of your entire health history. There is also a pre joining fitness test at a AFCO (Armed Forces Career Office) where your physical strength and endurance will be tested. This consists of a timed 1.5 mile run and a stipulated number of push-ups and sit ups specific to men and women.
  3. If you clear the physical fitness test successfully, you will be called for an interview at the nearest AFCO. Don’t forget to carry along your resume and dress appropriately to make a favourable first impression. If you clear the interview, you will be given a contract with the RAF that elaborates the details of your service which you have to sign and return.
  4. You will then proceed to complete the thirty weeks of Initial Officer Training.  Here you will not only build upon your physical fitness but you will also learn about RAF history, the basics of aviation and military procedures. By the end of this course you would be a commissioned officer of the RAF
  5. You will then be asked to sign up for elementary flying training where your aptitude will be assessed and you will be selected to fly a jet, multi engine or rotary aircraft. You would then receive further training in the type of aircraft assigned to you.

What is the RAF and what is it’s role?

RAF stands for Royal Air Force and is one of the branches of Britain’s military force. Its main role consists of defending the country by air to air combat or could be deployed as part of support force or to provide humanitarian aid anywhere in the world. RAF pilots generally have a tenure of 12 years.

Besides pilots, the RAF also offers careers to air traffic controllers (non-commissioned), engineers, gunners and cartographers and the basic training is the same for all the new recruits. RAF pilots go on to undergo a few weeks of extra training upon the successful culmination of which, you would be officially included as a pilot in this elite force.

Related Content:

  1. How to Become a Fighter Pilot
  2. How to Become a Navy Pilot
  3. How to Become a Commercial Pilot
  4. How to Become a Helicopter Pilot in the Coast Guard
  5. How to Become a Navy Fighter Pilot

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