Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

Home Page

Main Menu

Quick Menu

Members' Area

What New?

About this site


Help Needed?



Sign Guest Book

View Guest Book

Link to Amazon

Online Store

Contact Me

RAF Flying Badges - Current

Pilots' Flying Badge

(Kings Crown)

Pilots Wings (King's Crown) Adopted in 1918 by modifying the RFC badge, replacing the letters RFC with RAF.

It was replaced in 1952 with the accession of Queen Elizabeth II but was reintroduced in 2022 with the accession of King Charles III

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 Officially introduced in April 2021, but was 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.
Space Operator This was probably introduced in April 2021 to coincide with the formation of UK Space Command.
Airborne Specialist Airborne Specialist Officially introduced in April 2021 to replace the Fighter Controller, Airborne Technician and Image Analyst badges.  However it could 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

Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II in September 2022, the crown on RAF badges will be changed from St Edward's (Queen's) Crown to the Tudor (King's) Crown.

This page was last updated on 25/11/23

Back to Ranks and Badges IndexRanks and Badges Index       [Top of Page]              Flying Badges - Obsolete Flying Badges - Obsolete