Most of the organisations previously controlled by Personnel and Training Command is currently assigned to 22 (Training) Group. Many future RAF pilots will make their first flights in either a Grob Viking T.1 glider or Grob Vigilant T.1 motorglider of the Air Cadet Organisation (ACO), or on the Grob G115E tutors of the Air Experience Flights (AEF). ACO’s aircraft are flown by members of the RAF Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR) and the Air Training Corps in 27 Volunteer Gliding squadrons, plus the Air Cadet Central Gliding school at RAF syerston, Nottinghamshire. RAFVR personnel are also present at the AEFs, which are co-located with the University Air squadrons (UAS).
Student pilots join the RAF either as Direct or Graduate Entrants and complete a 30-week Initial Officer training course at the RAF College Cranwell, Lincolnshire. they proceed to the Elementary Flying Training (EFT) phase with the tutor, on which the student accumulates at least 60 hours. Direct students fly at one of the three Elementary Flying Training Squadrons, while graduates usually fly more hours at one of the 14 UASs. After passing a Final Handling Test, they are streamed for either the fast-jet, multi-engine or rotary-wing syllabus.
Basic Fast Jet Training (BFJT) involves 120 flight hours at RAF Linton-on-Ouse, North Yorkshire, on Short Tucano T.1s of 72(R) and 207(R) squadrons of 1 Flying Training School (FTS). Successful students pass to 4 FTS at RAF Valley, Anglesey, where they undertake advanced and weapons training on HS Hawk T.1 and T.1A variants with 19(R) and 208(R) squadrons. Those who pass the course are awarded their ‘wings’ (the RAF Flying Badge), and most progress to operational conversion units on front-line types.
Around half the student pilots destined for multi-engine training are directly streamed for it. They complete 30 hours on Slingsby T-67M Fireflies detached to RAFC Cranwell under the Multi-Engine Lead-In (MELIN) preparatory course. The other multi-engine students are diverted from other streams, with both groups meeting when posted to train on the Beech B200 King Airs of 45(R) Squadron, part of 3 FTS.
Since 1 April 1997, when the Defence Helicopter Flying school (DHFs) opened at RAF Shawbury, Shropshire, RAF basic and advanced stages of rotary-wing pilot training has been undertaken on the Eurocopter Squirrel HT.1. After mastering the type in around 70 hours, trainee helicopter pilots learn multi-engine techniques during 65 hours flying the Griffin HT.1. Pilots destined for the Sea King then undertake a further 15 hours on the Griffin at the Search And Rescue Training Unit at RAF Valley.
Student WSOs fly in Tutors before completing low-level sorties in 76(R) Squadron (part of 1 FTS) Tucano T.1s from RAF Topcliffe, North Yorkshire, before progressing to 55(R) squadron at RAFC Cranwell. After completing a common basic module, WSOs are streamed for specialisation with fast-jet, maritime, air transport or rotary-wing aircraft. students destined for the last-mentioned leave Cranwell for the DHFs at RAF Shawbury. Fast jet WSOs depart Cranwell for RAF Leeming to gain experience in the rear seats of 100 Squadron’s Hawks before joining one of the Tornado forces.
To guarantee the quality of its new pilots the RAF invests in training its own instructors. This task is the primary role of the Central Flying School (CFS). Formed on May 12, 1912, the CFS is the world’s oldest-established flying school. it currently trains Pilot Navigation instructors (QPNI), Navigator Instructors (QNI), Helicopter Navigator Instructors (QHNI), Helicopter Crewman Instructors (QHCI), Air Engineer Instructors (QEI), Air Electronics Instructors (QAEI) and Weapons Instructors (QWI).