The Selection Process for Joining the Royal Air Force as a Pilot

The Selection Process for Joining the Royal Air Force as a Pilot


Becoming a pilot in the Royal Air Force (RAF) is a dream for many aspiring aviators. Flying some of the most advanced aircraft in the world while serving your country is an opportunity like no other. However, the journey to donning the coveted wings of an RAF pilot is challenging and highly competitive. In this article, we will guide you through the selection process, providing a comprehensive overview of the steps involved.

Step 1: Eligibility Check

Before you embark on the path to becoming an RAF pilot, it’s essential to ensure you meet the eligibility criteria. The RAF has specific age, nationality, and fitness requirements. Additionally, you must have at least 5 GCSEs (including English and Maths) at grade C/4 or above, and you should be on track to achieve at least 96 UCAS points from your A-Levels (excluding General Studies).

Step 2: Online Application

The first formal step in your journey is to complete an online application on the official RAF recruitment website ( This application is your chance to showcase your passion, commitment, and motivation for a career as an RAF pilot. Be sure to provide accurate and detailed information.

Step 3: Aptitude Testing

If your online application is successful, you will be invited to undertake a series of aptitude tests. These tests assess your cognitive abilities, including numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning, and spatial awareness. Your performance in these tests helps determine your potential for success in pilot training.


Step 4: Selection Interview

Following successful aptitude testing, you will be invited to a selection interview. This is a critical stage of the process where you will be assessed on your motivation, character, and suitability for an RAF pilot role. Prepare thoroughly by researching the RAF and its values, as well as demonstrating your knowledge of the aircraft and your commitment to serving as a pilot.

Step 5: Medical Assessment

The next step involves a comprehensive medical examination to ensure you meet the RAF’s medical standards. Your vision, hearing, and overall physical health will be assessed to ensure you are fit to undertake pilot training.

Step 6: Fitness Test

To become an RAF pilot, you must meet specific fitness standards. You will be required to pass a fitness test, which includes exercises such as running, push-ups, and sit-ups. Maintaining good physical fitness throughout your application process is crucial.

Step 7: Pre-Initial Officer Training (Pre-IOT)

Successful candidates move on to Pre-IOT, a four-day residential course designed to prepare you for the next stage of officer training. Here, you will undergo leadership and team-building exercises, reinforcing the RAF’s focus on developing well-rounded officers.

Step 8: Officer and Aircrew Selection Centre (OASC)

The final hurdle before starting pilot training is the Officer and Aircrew Selection Centre (OASC). This comprehensive assessment evaluates your leadership potential, adaptability, and ability to perform under pressure. The OASC also includes a pilot-specific aptitude test to determine your suitability for flight training.

Step 9: Specialist Officer Training

Upon successful completion of the selection process, you will commence your specialist officer training as an RAF pilot candidate. This training includes ground school, flight training, and the opportunity to fly a variety of RAF aircraft.


Becoming an RAF pilot is a highly rewarding but demanding journey that requires determination, commitment, and a passion for aviation. The selection process is rigorous, aiming to identify individuals who possess the necessary skills and qualities to excel as officers and pilots in the Royal Air Force. If you dream of taking to the skies as an RAF pilot, use the information provided in this article as a roadmap to guide you through the application process, and visit the RAF’s official recruitment website for the most up-to-date information and guidance.


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