Last Updated: 09 August, 2105
1.0 Training Hierarchy
1.1 Air Officer Commanding No 22 (Training) Group and Chief of Staff, Training
The Air Officer Commanding (AOC) No 22 (Training) Group, an Air Vice-Marshal (OF-7), is the head of No 22 (Training) Group which exists to recruit and train Royal Air Force (RAF) personnel and provide trained specialist personnel to the RAF and the other two Services.
1.2 Director of Flying Training
The role of the Director of Flying Training (DFT), an Air Commodore (OF-6), is to deliver competent and highly trained military aircrew, Air Traffic Controllers and Flight Operations personnel safely and efficiently to meet Service requirements.
1.3 Directorate of Flying Training
A key element of No 22 (Training) Group is the Flying Training (FT) branch. FT provides a wide range of courses that train officers and Non-commissioned Aircrew (NCA) to the high standards needed when flying on modern operations.
FT utilise a wide range of aircraft from the light, single-engine Grob Tutor designed for Elementary Flying Training (EFT) through to more advanced training aircraft such as the twin-engine turboprop Beechcraft King Air or the advanced fast jet trainer the Hawk T2. These enable FT to provide first-class courses covering everything from the fundamental skills of flying through to the successful operation of complex systems.
Operating from 5 major airfields around the UK, with 6 smaller satellite airfields in support, FT trains aircrew from all three Services to a point where they are equipped with the skills to convert to front-line aircraft. Covering all the RAFs training requirement for Pilots and NCA, the FT system also provides training for Royal Navy (RN) fast jet trainees and is responsible for the tri-Service Defence Helicopter Flying School (DHFS) at RAF Shawbury, which trains all the Services’ helicopter pilots.
1.4 Ascent Flight Training
Ascent is a training design and delivery organisation created as a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Babcock International. Appointed as the Ministry of Defence’s Training Service Partner in 2008, Ascent has a 25-year contract to provide a United Kingdom Military Flying Training System (UKMFTS) for the UK military.
UKMFTS has delivered a revolutionary new approach to Military Fast Jet Flying and Rear Crew training using custom-built Squadron headquarters, classrooms, flight simulators, Hawk T2 and King Air 350 aircraft and crucially utilising a combination of civilian and military instructors. Ascent has achieved a MFTS programme that is affordable, demonstrably good Value for Money, and has proven capable of bringing about improvements in the quality of the equipment, training, courses and infrastructure.
In 2012 a group of four Royal Navy Observer students became the first to graduate from the UKMFTS after completing their training at RNAS (Royal Naval Air Station) Culdrose on the modified King Air 350. The facilities at RNAS Culdrose include both air and ground based Tactical Mission Trainers and an upgraded hangar and squadron building.
The bespoke Hawk infrastructure at RAF Valley is complete and built to an exceptionally high standard. The Hawk T2 aircraft, Full Mission Simulators, Flight Training Devices and Desk Top Trainers are ‘flying’ and the first RAF fast jet students graduated to their respective Operation Conversion Units (OCUs) in 2013.
UKMFTS is already delivering Fast Jet and Rear Crew training – further ahead, Ascent is responsible for the creation of new training services for basic fast jet pilot training, multi-engine pilot and rear crew training and the elementary flying training that supports these services. Acquisition of these training systems is well underway, and they will complement the existing training services from 2018 onwards.
As part of the UKMFTS, Ascent is currently exploring ways in which it can further support the UKs International Defence Training (IDT) customers wanting to undertake Lead-In Fighter Training in the UK – utilising both Fixed Wing and Fast Jet.
2.0 Aircraft Used for Training
View: Training Aircraft, for a brief description and photo of each of the training aircraft utilised by the RAF.
3.0 Pilot Training Pipelines
After completing Initial Officer Training (IOT) at the RAF College Cranwell, pilot training begins on the single-engine Grob Tutor with Elementary Flying Training (EFT). First, student pilots are taught subjects such as the principles of flight, aircraft tech and meteorology during a ground-school phase. Training then moves to essential flying skills such as taking off and landing, followed by more advanced skills such as instrument flying (which allows them to fly in cloud), aerobatics (which accustom them to flying an aircraft to its limits), formation flying and navigation.
Following EFT, student pilots are streamed into Fast Jet, Multi-Engined, or Rotary Wing (helicopter) pipelines, where they are trained in the skills required for each area. View: RAF Flying Training Pipelines (Correct: September 2011) (showing the progression for each of the areas described above).
Figure 1: Flying Training Pipelines
3.1 Pass Rates
The pass rate for commencing flying training to reaching the relevant operational conversion unit, for the following platforms, are as follows:
- Fast Jet: 78%
- Multi-engine: 93.6%
- Rotary: 91.8%
The above pass rates (RAF only) are based on a 5-year span of actual data (2011-2011 to 2014-2015).
4.0 Useful Links
- Ascent Flight Training: http://www.ascentflighttraining.net/
- RAF Training Aircraft: http://www.raf.mod.uk/equipment/trainingaircraft.cfm
4.1 Useful Documents
- Royal Navy Pilots Applicant, Boarded & Input Numbers (2015-01-26)
- Royal Navy Pilot Recruit Scores (Computer Based Aptitude Training (CBAT) & Final Board Mark (FBM)) for 2013 (2014-06-02)
- UK Military Flying Training System, Statement of Requirement (2008-05-30)