Meet the RAAFie with five wings

One current-serving Royal Australian Air Force woman recently earned her third aircrew badge making for a five-wing career (so far?)

CAPTION: Main – Royal Australian Air Force Air Refuelling Operator Flight Lieutenant Ingrid Van Der Vlist at the business end of a KC-30A MRTT and, right, with her five wings. Photos by Corporal Jesse Kane.

Flight Lieutenant Ingrid Van Der Vlist qualified as an air refuelling operator on the KC-30A multi-role tanker transport in July.

In her current role Flight Lieutenant Van Der Vlist controls the air-to-air refuelling hoses and boom on the in-air refuelling tanker during flights.

Her new qualification puts her in a cohort of fewer than 20 air refuelling operators in the Royal Australian Air Force.

Flight Lieutenant Van Der Vlist previously served as a RAAF crew attendant – earning a one-wing crew badge.

She then transferred to the Army, qualifying as a helicopter pilot – double-wing badge.

And recently returned to the RAAF, collecting her third aircrew badge.

Double-wing aircrew badges are worn by officers in the Australian Army and Royal Australian Air Force while Army and RAAF non-commissioned aircrew wear single-wing badges.

All aircrew in the Royal Australian Navy wear a double-wing badge with officer badges sporting a royal crown on the central element – the crown missing from NCO badges.

Wikipedia says aircrew wing badges are commonly referred to as brevets – but this is technically incorrect because brevet is French for diploma or certificate.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: The initial version of this story referred to Flight Lieutenant Ingrid Van Der Vlist having ‘seven wings’. This was a ‘deliberate error’ 😉 which we fixed after Jess (in comments below) pulled us up on it. We have offered Jess a prize for picking our clever ‘deliberate error’. More than 1500 people viewed the story before Jess corrected our late-night, whiskey-affected carelessness 🙂
Mea culpa – using the ‘royal we’ above 😉

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5157 Total Views 2 Views Today

Posted by Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

10 thoughts on “Meet the RAAFie with five wings

  • 13/02/2021 at 4:41 pm
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    Interesting in my time in the RAAF 1975 to 1995 including clothing design and development and a long time collector and history buff we never call the wings single or double wings in fact this story is the first time i have ever heard that term, officially known as full wing or half wing never single or double, just an observation

    Reply
  • 27/10/2020 at 2:14 pm
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    There’s nothing wrong with calling the Flying Badge a brevet. You quoted Wikipedia stating that it is incorrect because brevet refers to a certificate. The original meaning of brevet was an official letter. Those who have been awarded their wings are certified as having passed a series of tests and being combat ready (baseline). Therefore, the wearers of them are officially certified as being ‘type’ ready on that aircraft.

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    • 27/10/2020 at 2:38 pm
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      I agree with you John.

      Reply
  • 06/10/2020 at 1:47 am
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    Truely Impressive Skills to be mastered by 1 serving member. WELL DONE

    Has any individual ever qualified for wings or brevets in all three services ?

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  • 05/10/2020 at 2:52 pm
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    Re the Navy wings, As well as the Crown on top, don’t forget the RAN Pilot wings have a laurel around the anchor, the Observer wings have no laurel but do have an O around the anchor and the LS – WO Aircrewman just have the anchor in the middle.
    Regards,
    Devo
    (BAC 2/2001)

    Reply
  • 29/09/2020 at 11:40 am
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    I count five wings? The ones on the cloth badge are a duplicate of the metal ones closest to her fingertips.

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    • 29/09/2020 at 11:43 am
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      Hi Jess. After 1500 views, you are the first to pull me up on the ‘deliberate error’ 🙂
      Send me your postal details via editor@militarycontact.com and I’ll send you a ‘spotters prize’.
      Brian Hartigan
      Editor

      Reply
  • 29/09/2020 at 8:19 am
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    Not quite right about non-commissioned aircrew wearing a single wing badge. Aircrewmen in the Navy wear a gold double wing badge with the only difference being the absence of the crown.

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    • 29/09/2020 at 8:33 am
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      True but the RAN is the only service where NCOs wear a full set of wings. NCOs in both the RAAF and ARA only wear brevets (half wing)

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    • 29/09/2020 at 8:34 am
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      Thanks Tiger – I’ll amend the story.

      Reply

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