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C-17 Pilot

Royal Air Force


RAF Brize Norton

What qualifications do you have?

CertHE Management and Leadership received on completion of Officer Training in RAF

Tell us about your job

How would you describe your current role?

I pilot a 4-engine aircraft, capable of carrying loads larger than most other aircraft, around the world, either in a war-type role (movement of aircraft/armoured vehicles/troops) or carrying humanitarian supplies. I have to keep up to date with current operating procedures for the aircraft while preparing for upcoming flights by obtaining funds, checking routes, charts, diplomatic clearances, etc. non-standard routes can take up to a week to prepare.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Job security (21 years contract) good pay and the ability to travel to many countries around the world.

What do you enjoy least about your job?

Long working hours (typical working day of 16 Hours), rapidly-changing timetable (been sent to Middle East with 15 minutes notice)

Who or what inspired you to follow your particular career path?

When I was young (~9 Years old) I wished to be an astronaut, through research, the best route was to become a pilot, and so I concentrated my study following that route. I did 30 weeks Officer Training, 7 Months Elementary Pilot Training, 12 Months Advanced Pilot Training, 2 Year Tour as a Nimrod Pilot in the Maritime Reconnaissance Role, and a 9 week simulator training in Oklahoma, USA for C-17 conversion.

What advice would you give to any young person considering a STEM career?

A Levels in Maths and Physics are desirable but not compulsory but ability to do mental arithmetic is very important, start practising now (do random maths puzzles in your head, complete countdown maths challenges without paper, etc.). Make sure your fitness is up to scratch, university is another unnecessary aspect of your education but still worth considering. Get funds together, the first few months of training can be expensive and the initial pay is poor (don’t worry, it rises rapidly after training).

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