A pilot in the British Armed Forces is a key position in the UK’s defensive and reactive capabilities. Pilots may fly fighter jets, transportation planes or tactical helicopters and can be deployed all over the world. Deployments can be military or humanitarian. Qualified pilots receive an attractive salary and benefits package.
Once a pilot has completed training they become an officer and start on a salary of £34,670. Pay can increase with promotion through the officer ranks, such as Lieutenant, Squadron Leader and Wing Commander. Pay awards at higher levels will depend upon qualifications, experience and performance.
Besides the salary, a pilot also receives a range of additional benefits. While on mission or at a military base, all accommodation and food is supplied. The RAF also provides free medical and dental care. A pilot is also entitled to six weeks paid holiday per year, as well as the eight standard public holidays. The RAF also have very competitive pension payments, which depend upon length of service and rank. Pilots may also be able to study for higher university qualifications paid for by the armed forces.
To become a pilot in the armed forces, a candidate must have a certain level of educational qualifications. The minimum requirement is 2 A levels - in any subjects other than General Studies and Critical Thinking - at grade C or above (or equivalent) as well as 5 GCSE grades at C or above (or equivalent). These GCSEs must include English language and a B grade minimum in maths. A candidate must also be a UK citizen or hold dual citizenship with the UK.
There are three branches of the British Armed Forces that offer opportunities for pilots. The RAF is the dedicated aerial warfare arm. The Air Army Corp is the flying department of the army, while the Fleet Air Arm provides aerial capability to the Royal Navy. The salary is the same for each branch.