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Military Aircraft: Manpower

Volume 464: debated on Tuesday 16 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of those who set out to be pilots of (a) Eurofighter, (b) GR7 Harrier, (c) Merlin, (d) Lynx, (e) Sea King, (f) Chinook and (g) Apache were successful in each of the last three years. (157076)

After extensive early flying training, the RAF personnel are streamed, according to aptitude into one of three streams: Fast-jet (FJ), Rotary-wing (RW) or Multi-engine (ME). All of the Army personnel go to RW, most of the Navy personnel follow this same route, although some go on to FJ training. All of this ab initio training is conducted within the Air Force system.

Following successful completion of ab initio training pilots enter an Operational Conversion Unit (OCU) where they learn to operate the specific aircraft type for which they have been selected. The following table shows pass rates for pilots entering the OCU:

Successful (percentage)

2004-05

Typhoon

100

GR7 Harrier

92

Merlin

100

Lynx

100

Sea King

100

Chinook

94

Apache

95

2005-06

Typhoon

100

GR7 Harrier

100

Merlin

100

Lynx

100

Sea King

100

Chinook

100

Apache

98

2006-07

Typhoon

97

GR7 Harrier

100

Merlin

100

Lynx

98

Sea King

100

Chinook

94

Apache

89

Notes:

1. All totals have been rounded to the nearest whole percent.

2. Factors affecting success include: Failure to achieve course standards, medical downgrading and premature voluntary retirement. Unsuccessful candidates may be given employment elsewhere within the Service.