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The Fleet

Aircrew Officer (Pilot and Observer)

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    Average pay:
    RN and RM Officers and Ratings Rates of Pay 2007
    Age on entry:
    17-26
    Nationality:
    British or British/ dual citizenship
    Qualifications:
    At least 140 UCAS points and 5 GCSEs (A*-C)/ 5 Scottish Standard Grades (1-3)/ equivalent, including English and maths
    Gender:
    Aircrew Officers can be men or women

    View Brendan's bebo page at: http://rogue911.bebo.com

    Job description

    As the Pilot or Observer of a Royal Navy aircraft, you will be right in the front line of operations, making vital tactical and operational decisions under pressure. Your role will be to get the Royal Navy's power in the air to the right place quickly and effectively, whether flying a fast jet armed with air-to-ground or air-to-air weapons, or transporting a troop of Royal Marines Commandos and their equipment by helicopter. The challenges of flying with the Royal Navy will meet your expectations - no matter how ambitious you are.

    On board

    Role: Pilot
    Name: Matt Punch
    Age: 25

    What is a typical mission?
    Two hours' flying allows us to get Royal Marines Commandos 90 miles from home base - and HMS Ocean allows us to take the front line anywhere. We also fly low to see if roads are safe and are geared up to airlift casualties.

    As a junior Officer, is it hard to command experienced people?
    The Royal Navy command structure works on leadership and delegation. The team works on mutual respect - you put your life in these people's hands.

    What is it like on an overseas mission?
    It's changed. Usually you take over duty from another squadron, so you move into an existing base with computers set up. You can e-mail home.

    Role: Observer
    Name: Lauren Hulston
    Age: 27

    What is it like working on a ship at sea?
    Very focused. We may be flying through the night and sleeping through the day. All your time is spent planning, briefing, flying and de-briefing.

    You go through at least two years' training to join a front-line squadron. What was the toughest part?
    The Aircrew Survival Course is the most gruelling challenge I have ever undergone in my life - but the most satisfying to have completed.

    And what are the rewards?
    Having a job where I have never been bored, and where I've never thought 'I don't want to go to work tomorrow.'

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