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Military Aircraft: Training

Volume 506: debated on Tuesday 2 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many training hours (a) helicopter pilots and (b) trainee helicopter pilots spent on average in each aircraft type in the Royal Air Force in each (i) year since 2005 and (ii) month of 2009. (319240)

To become a qualified RAF helicopter pilot individuals undertake initial flying training. Once qualified, pilots are trained to adapt their flying skills to a specific aircraft type which is known as operational conversion unit training. Both types of training are conducted through standardised packages with a set number of flying hours for each pilot. The level of flying required of each pilot for both categories has not changed significantly since 2005.

The training hours for initial flying training for each aircraft type are:

Squirrel: 84 hours, 45 minutes;

Griffin: 77 hours.

The training hours for operational conversion unit training for each aircraft type are:

Merlin: 29 hours;

Puma: 55 hours;

Chinook: 125 hours;

Sea King: 70 hours;

Augusta Western: 28 hours.

Pilots record their own training hours within their personal log books. To determine the average training hours helicopter pilots undertake outside of these training courses would require a manual extraction of data from each individual's flying log followed by analysis. This information is not held centrally and could be obtained at only disproportionate cost.