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Raw recruits flying high at west Royal Navy air bases

By WMNlynbarton  |  Posted: February 19, 2014

  • The Fleet Air Arm in action

  • The Fleet Air Arm in action

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Would-be Royal Navy aviators are set to go straight for their wings after a shake up in recruitment saw Westcountry air bases receive their first direct entry aircrew since the Second World War.

The aircrewmen branch of the senior Service is now allowing enlistment direct from career offices to the Fleet Air Arm.

It will still be possible for raw recruits to join the Royal Navy and then move onto its flying service, but is hoped the change in rules will broaden knowledge and appeal of the Fleet Air Arm.

A number of potential recruits have just completed a visit to RNAS Culdrose where they got a taste of what life could be like.

Hosting officer Warrant Officer 1 Aircrewman Steve Clay said it had been an instructive three day course.

“This is a great chance for young people to fly with the Senior Service,” he said.

“The idea of this acquaint is to show them what we have to offer. I can honestly say if this is the quality of young recruits that we are attracting, then I think we are well placed for the future.”

The Fleet Air Arm direct recruits will follow a different route to other Royal Navy newcomers but maintain the same values.

After basic training at HMS Raleigh, near Plymouth they will move onto leadership training and common ground school at RAF Shawbury, near Shrewsbury, before starting initial flying training and streaming either into the commando or anti-submarine units.

Courses in search and rescue techniques, survival will be part of a central syllabus before individuals move onto RNAS Culdrose or RNAS Yeovilton.

On completion of flying training the aircrewmen will receive their coveted Wings, before joining their respective squadrons and frontline service.

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