Soldiers from across the British Army now have the opportunity to apply to become an Army helicopter pilot much earlier in their careers after the British Army Air Corps announced the minimum rank to become an Army helicopter pilot has been lowered.
FILE PHOTO: A British Army Apache AH1D makes a snow landing inside the Arctic Circle in Norway. UK MOD © Crown copyright 2021 – photo by Corporal Jamie Hart
The minimum rank to become an Army pilot was recently lowered to allow privates with a recommendation for promotion to lance corporal to begin their transition to a flying career.
The previous minimum was substantive lance corporal with a recommendation for promotion to corporal.
While in training, selected pilot aspirants wear the rank of ‘local sergeant’ and are paid the same as corporals.
If they qualify, they are promoted to sergeant and are deployed to front-line units usually flying either Apache or Hellcat helicopters in places like Oman for desert flying, Norway for Arctic conditions or off HMS Queen Elizabeth or HMS Prince of Wales aircraft carriers.
An Army Air Corps statement said the new rule was one of the biggest upheavals in the way the AAC recruited, selected and employed soldier pilots since its formation in 1957.
“The initiative is a result of Project Morden, the AAC’s personnel transformation project, which see’s the benefit of a more agile SNCO pilot workforce that can meet the challenges of modern warfare and operation of 21st century helicopters,” an AAC spokesperson said via Twitter.
“With the advent of 1st Aviation Brigade Combat Team and the introduction of AH-64E, now is an exciting time to join the AAC and be at the forefront of the technological revolution the Army is currently going through.
“The AAC is seeking soldiers from across the Army to come and see if they have what it takes to become an Army pilot.
“Our pilots come from all backgrounds and cap badges.”