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[Airman Aircrew Training]

No. 55 (Reserve) Squadron
Airman Aircrew Training


All Airmen Aircrew students first undergo the 12-week Airman Aircrew Initial Training Course on No 55(R) Squadron at No 3 Flying Training School, RAF College Cranwell. The course aims to accustom direct entry recruits to Service life, to teach all aircrew cadets the basic skills and knowledge, and provide general Service and character development training which will enable them to enter specialist training as smart, well-disciplined and responsible SNCO airman aircrew.

Subjects include:

  • General Service Knowledge

  • Drill and Ceremonial

  • Ground Defence Training

  • Leadership

  • Oral and Written Communications

  • General Service Training

  • Teamwork and Crew Cooperation

  • Physical Education

On completion of this course, the students are awarded the rank of acting sergeant and progress to initial specialist training.


The Weapons Systems Operator (WSOp) Course is divided into 2 phases. The common phase lasts for 28 weeks and is primarily concerned with establishing a firm academic grounding in areas such as mathematics, electronics and communication procedures. Survival training, simulator exercises and flying make up the practical element of this phase. On completion of the common phase, the students are streamed into one of 2 specializations: WSOp(EW) or WSOp(ACO). WSOp(ACO) or acoustic operators concentrate on underwater detection systems during their specialist phase of training, which lasts 18 weeks. The non-acoustic operators, or WSOp(EW) are responsible for communications and the operation of electronic warfare, radar and magnetic anomaly detection sensors. The specialist phase for the WSOp(EW) lasts 27 weeks and includes a 4 week advanced flying phase. In total it takes 46 weeks to train a WSOp(ACO) and 55 weeks to train a WSOp(EW). Having completed the course, the new WSOp is awarded their brevet. Graduates are then posted to the Nimrod or the E3-D to commence operational conversion.


The Air Engineer (AEng) Course is of 46 weeks duration and is divided into academic, flying and synthetic phases. The academic phase includes fundamental theory and a thorough grounding in airframes, engines and aircraft ancillary systems. The students practise elementary systems operations in 13 exercises flown in the Dominie aircraft where they learn the practical aspects of airmanship and aircraft operations. Advanced systems training is carried out in the Air Engineers' Procedures Trainer during 6 weeks of intensive synthetic exercises. On graduation, the AEng student is awarded the 'E' brevet. The graduates may be posted to either Hercules, Nimrod, VC 10, Tristar or E3D Sentry aircraft.


The Air Loadmaster (ALM) Course is divided into 2 phases. The basic phase lasts 8 weeks and includes elementary aircraft systems, the principles of loading and restraint, weight and balance, passenger and cargo handling, survival techniques and international air transport regulations. They also undergo a survival exercise, attend a one-week Specialist First-Aid Course and visit flying stations to experience a taste of operational flying on both fixed and rotary-winged aircraft. Having completed the basic phase, the students are streamed into either fixed or rotary-wing training according to requirements and aptitude. They spend a further 3 weeks expanding on the basic subjects with consideration to specialization, covering any additional subjects according to role. Fixed-wing students remain with 55(R) Sqn to complete a 5-week flying phase. On completion of initial specialist training, students begin flying under supervision at RAF Lyneham or RAF Brize Norton for fixed-wing aircraft or No 2 FTS RAF Shawbury for rotary-wing aircraft. On completion of training, the ALM student is awarded the 'LM' brevet and may be posted to Hercules, Tristar, VC 10, Puma, Wessex or Chinook aircraft.


Date Last Updated : Monday, December 8, 2003 10:00 AM

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