Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation


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RAF Flying Badges - Current


Pilots' Flying Badge

(Queens Crown)

 
Weapons Systems Officer/Operator As inertial and satellite based navigation and automated sensor systems became the norm, the traditional duties of the Navigator and AEO started to change.  This aircrew category was introduced in April 2003 to reflect these changing roles.

It will eventually be the only badge awarded to 'Mission Aircrew'.  The first examples were awarded in May 2003

Reserve Pilot (Air Experience) Reserve Pilot (Air Experience) Flying badge Introduced in April 2020 for non-Service staff pilots in Air Experience Flights  (i.e. pilots who lack a RAF flying badge)
Reserve Pilot (Glider) Reserve Pilot (Glider) Flying badge This is to be introduced in April 2021, but is optionally available from April 2020, replacing the previous Air Cadet staff and Instructor glider pilot badges.
Preliminary Flying Badge (Pilot) Preliminary Flying Badge (Pilot) Flying badge Introduced in 1949 it is awarded to members of the University Air Squadrons who have achieved the required standard of flying proficiency (roughly equivalent to a civilian PPL)
Parachute Jump Instructor This flying badge was introduced in 1945.  Parachute Jump Instructors (PJIs) are classed as honorary aircrew.
Fighter Controller Introduced in 1983 and worn by Fighter Controllers serving aboard Airborne Early Warning aircraft.  It will be replaced by the Airborne Specialist badge in April 2021.

Airborne Fighter Controllers are classed as honorary aircrew.

Airborne Technician With the introduction of the Boeing Sentry AEW Mk 1 in 1991, there became a need for a qualified electronics technician to be carried to maintain the mass of electronics systems.  Airborne Technicians are actually ground tradesmen who can return to normal ground servicing after an airborne tour. It will be replaced by the Airborne Specialist badge in April 2021.

Airborne Technicians are classed as honorary aircrew.

Image Analyst With the introduction of the Sentinel R Mk 1 into No 5 Sqn there became a need for Imagery Analysis's and this flying badge was introduced.  It will be replaced by the Airborne Specialist badge in April 2021.

Image Analysts are classed as honorary aircrew.

Airborne Specialist Airborne Specialist To be introduced in April 2021 to replace the Fighter Controller, Airborne Technician and Image Analyst badges.  However it can be worn, if privately purchased, from April 2020.

This badge will be awarded to any personnel classed as honorary aircrew.

The badges shown on this page are provided courtesy of RAF Flying Branch & NCA Trade Advisors at the Ministry of Defence

This page was last updated on 15/06/20

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