How to Become a RAF Pilot

Written by rhomylly forbes
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How to Become a RAF Pilot
Being an RAF pilot is a satisfying career. (flight of the Royal Air Force Aerobatics team the Red Arrows image by Tamara Kulikova from

The British Royal Air Force (RAF) is just one branch of England's military system. The RAF offers several careers including noncommissioned air-traffic controller, engineer, air cartographer, gunner and, of course, pilot. While basic training in the RAF is the same for all recruits, becoming an RAF pilot requires weeks of extra training beyond the basics. Once you successfully complete that extra training, you will be an RAF pilot and ready to protect your country and the world.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Meet the basic requirements. In order to be an RAF pilot, you must enlist in the RAF. The minimum requirements for enlistment are these: you must be a British citizen or British national, be at least 15 years nine months old and be physically fit. If you meet these requirements, you can apply to join the RAF.

  2. 2

    Begin the process. You can apply to join the RAF online at or in person with a recruiter. Once your application has been processed, you must take and pass the Airman/Airwoman Selection Test (AST) which tests you on verbal reasoning, mechanical aptitude, mathematics, memory, electrical comprehension and spatial reasoning.

  3. 3

    Take the health and fitness tests. All potential RAF recruits must pass an occupational health assessment given by the RAF. The test includes vision and hearing tests and a discussion of any past injuries or illnesses you may have had. You must also pass a prejoining fitness test at a nearby Armed Forces Career Office (AFCO) facility or local gym, which includes a timed 1 1/2-mile run and a specific number of press-ups and sit-ups. The time limit for the run and the number of press-ups and sit-ups are different for men and women.

  4. 4

    Complete the application process. You will need to schedule a selection interview at a nearby AFCO facility. Dress nicely and bring your resume with you if you have one. If you pass this final application hurdle, you will be given an "offer of service" to sign and return. This is your contract with the RAF and spells out details such as length of service.

  5. 5

    Complete basic training. Basic training for airmen and airwomen takes place at RAF Halton in Buckinghamshire and lasts up to 11 weeks. During basic training you will work on physical fitness, basic military procedure and the basics of air power and RAF history.

  6. 6

    Sign up for additional pilot training. If you have successfully completed basic training, you will be able to take pilot training, which is open to both airmen and airwomen. Once you've completed this training, you will officially be an RAF pilot.

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