Initial/Filter Interview

As you may well know, the interview comes after the selection test. While there are no time limits in the interview, you may have to think in your feet a bit more but it helps if you know what to expect.

Once you have passed the AST, you will have a presentation. This presentation takes place at your AFCO and it’s purpose is to give you an insight into life in the RAF. You’ll watch a couple of DVD’s and you should be taking as many notes as you can. These notes will come in handy for the interview, as a lot of the information will answer a lot of the questions you will get asked.

You will also get a nice little information pack which will include two booklets (one on Basic Training at RAF Halton and one about Fitness) and a fact sheet telling you everything you need to know about the trade you’ve applied for. Pictures of all of these below.

Click on the pictures to enlarge

Nice pictures of a 29 Sqn Typhoon for all the aircraft geeks ;-)




Fitness booklet. Not needed for the interview, but gives some very useful tips and advice.

You will also get a fact sheet like this for whichever trade you've applied for.


If you’re a bit of an RAF geek like me, and you like to know everything that’s going on, you’ll be fine. The interview was by far the easiest stage for me. I found the train journey to the interview more stressful than the interview itself. 

Preparation is even more of an important factor here than it is for the AST. Mainly because the AST is largely testing your natural ability, and the interview is purely testing your knowledge and whether you’ve done you research or not.

This was my first ever interview for anything, which should have made it excruciatingly daunting, but it really wasn’t. I had started my research and revision about 2 months prior to my interview. As I mentioned, I am a bit of an RAF geek (aircraft especially) so I generally knew about all the main bases and aircraft before I started which put me in a good position. However, I still did plenty of research on these to back up my existing knowledge.

This amount of research is a bit excessive, but I like to know that I’ve done more than enough. You won’t be asked questions that go into anywhere near as much detail as you can see on my notes. Ignore the messy handwriting (It’s neater than that when it has to be!) and my drawing… I think I might have been a bit bored when I did that.


So what can you expect to be asked at the interview? Here are some of the questions I was asked –

  • What have you chosen the RAF specifically and not the Army or Navy?
  • How long have you wanted to join for?
  • What influenced your decision to join?
  • What steps have you taken to gain better knowledge of the RAF and the application/selection process? (Good idea to mention the RAF Careers pages on Twitter and Facebook. Check these out if you haven’t already, they answer a lot of questions!)
  • What have you applied for?
  • What does that trade do / What is its role within the RAF?
  • Where is your training (Both phases, you should know where, how long for, and what it involves)
  • What qualifications will you gain during your Phase 2 training?
  • What have you done to prepare physically?
  • What is the role of the RAF as a whole?
  • Can you name some of the main UK bases? (Name a few main UK bases until they stop you)
  • What do you know about the aircraft at any of these bases?
  • Where are the RAF overseas?
  • Why do the RAF have overseas bases?
  • What operations are the RAF currently involved in?
  • What qualities do you think RAF personnel need? (Remember R.I.S.E. – Respect, Integrity, Service and Excellence)
  • What is your opinion on armed combat? (My interviewer then gave me a ‘scenario’ which went a bit like this – As a new recruit on your first tour, It’s likely that you’ll be put on guard duty at the gate. Imagine a car pulls up, a man jumps out with a gun and begins to fire in your direction, you have a rifle, so what do you do?’) I definitely had to think on my feet for this one as I didn’t expect it at all, but the answer seemed fairly obvious.
  • What is NATO?
  • When was it formed?
  • How many member countries are there?

Obviously these are just a few of the questions. The idea being that these are the ones that you may have to do a bit of research for. All of the other questions will be about yourself. (Education, jobs, sports teams, responsibilities and your life in general).

Again, much like the AST, confidence is a big part of the interview. Look smart, be enthusiastic and confident, and you’ll be well on your way to impressing your interviewer and passing.

That’s about it for the interview to be honest. Make sure to ask any questions while you’re there if you have any. There will be an opportunity for this at the end of the interview.

Best of luck if you have the interview any time soon!


97 thoughts on “Initial/Filter Interview

  1. Hi, could you maybe send me the page on the presentation notes please. I have my presentation tomorrow and just wanted to be prepared for the sort of things that will come up and be ready to answer any questions?

    • Hi Ryan

      The presentation isn’t a test or anything so don’t worry too much! It’s basically to give you the information on what to expect at the interview. You may get some informal questions on identifying aircraft but none of it is on the record. It’s just to give you some useful info which will make your interview easier.

      Topics covered at the presentation include the role of the RAF, core values, the benefits and challenges of RAF life, aircraft, and it will also provide you with some questions that you’ll be asked at the interview.

      Just write down as much as you can to help with your interview revision and preparation.

      Good luck.

  2. Hi I have my interview next week and this blog has given me some great info. I was just wondering has anyone been asked about current operations or news headlines in this interview?

    • Hi Matthew

      Current operations is definitely something you should be expected to know. It’s fairly easy at the moment as you have a fair bit to mention with Iraq/Syria, Baltic Air Policing etc.

      Other news headlines won’t be covered, unless they are RAF/defence/NATO related, and even then it will b very minimal. It’s the Officers interview which focuses quite heavily on national and global headlines/current affairs. The airman interview doesn’t cover the same stuff.

      Best of luck!

      • Thank you! I’ve got it tomorrow at 2 feeling a bit nervous about it right now I’ve revised it all a lot just hope my nerves don’t take over haha

  3. Hey Ryan.

    Firstly, I would like to say thank you for sharing your journey with us. I can imagine it has helped many others as it has done with myself. I recently just passed my interview, last Thursday to be precise and your shared information has definitely helped prepare me for my initial interview. I am just wondering how long after passing your interview does it take to conduct your fitness and medical test. I am going for Provost officer and I have been told I will have to wait around 3 months for OASC and that a private company Capita will be in touch to arrange my fitness/medical test so just wondering roughly how long that would take.

    Kind Regards,


    • Hi Karl

      You’re welcome for the blog and the information here. I’m overwhelmed with how many people have commented and messaged me saying how much they’ve benefited from it.

      Unfortunately, I can’t give you an accurate answer to your question. Capita can be a bit slow, but some people have also heard back really quickly. It depends a lot on how busy they are, and how much your trade/branch is needed and therefore how much priority your given. Speaking from a personal perspective, my medical was roughly a month after my interview. This can be longer or shorter. Usually, the medical comes a few days after the fitness. Mine was 6 days after, however once again this can be longer or shorter.

      Hopefully luck will be on your side and you’ll be getting through it all soon. Best of luck for the rest of your application.


  4. Best piece of advice is just be open and honest. Don’t try and blag questions. If you think you know something but aren’t sure, then say you aren’t sure. Don’t start making things up because they’ll know you’re lying and then it comes down to the core values (Respect, Integrity, Service and Excellence). You’ll become very well acquainted with these at Halton but they’re massively important. It basically comes down to ‘be honest’.

    I’m sure all the revision will pay off!

  5. During my presentation I was told I need to prepare at least three topics related to armed services. I don’t know how to prepare for them as my Interview date is approaching fast. Could you please help me?

    • Are you applying for an Officer branch? I personally didn’t have to do that for my airman interview but I would just look at a select few newspaper or websites. Obviously nothing like The Sun, or Daily Mail. But have a look at things like The Telegraph and look at defence news. There are new stories almost every day. I keep up with the news because it interests me and believe me, there’s plenty to research and talk about if you spend a bit of time looking. Feel free to ask any more questions if you have any.

      If not, all the best for your interview.

  6. Hi Ryan,

    Just wanted to say thanks for the Blog!

    I’m currently preparing for my interview and this has definitely been a big help. Much appreciated.

    P.s Through reading your other Blog entries I noticed that I’ve applied for the same branch you’re currently doing. Do you know anything about intake regarding this particular branch i.e am I likely to have a long wait if successful in my interview?


    • Best of luck for your interview!

      AMM’s have been going through the process quite rapidly for some time now. It did slow down for a period but I’ve heard things are moving pretty swiftly for them again now. However, this is not to say that you’re going to fly through the process quickly. There are many variables which determine how fast you go through. The biggest factor is Halton basic training courses. Fingers crossed they have a few spaces here and there and you shouldn’t be waiting too long.

      If you have any questions about life as an AMM then please feel free to ask. I’m currently working as an AMM on a Typhoon squadron.

  7. Thanks mate,

    Good to know. I just wanted to have a rough idea of what to expect.

    Great stuff. Are you enjoying it and has it been pretty challenging? It’s been a while since I’ve been out of education, so I’ve really had to brush up on most things especially my Maths and Physics; not going to lie, it kind of worried me a bit!

  8. Had my interview Tuesday 8th March.

    Read these questions the night before so thankyou for the insight.

    “Comfortably passed” my assessor said. Feedback was then given about my interview – and he also pulled me up on my timings for Halton training e.g Day 1 – 24 General Service Training etc etc – he accused me of being wrong on the itinerary timings. (He was going off the Halton guide given to us at AST presentation, whereas I was going off the website itinerary) I pointed this out and he then realised that the booklet was out of date – I was correct. All he gave me was a “fair comment” reply haha.

  9. Hi Ryan this thank you for posting your experience for us to learn from, when you did your interview did you have to discuss 10 current affair topics ?

    • Hi Oliver, thanks for the kind words.

      No, that’s for an Officer interview where you need 5 national and 5 international news stories. You don’t need to know that for non-commissioned service. If it’s Officer you’re going for then let me know as I’m in the process for that at the moment.

      • Yes I am currently applying for provost officer, this is the part that I have had the most trouble with.
        What branch are you applying for ?

      • Honestly, the current affairs is probably the part of the interview which is easiest to revise for. You just need to pick some stories that actually interest you and learn about them. Make sure you have an opinion on them though because the interviewer is likely to ask how you would act in the situation of your chosen news article.

        I’m applying for pilot.

    • Hi, I just want to know something, I have applied for HR officer (REGULAR), am I going to be asking to discuss 100 current affair topics?

      • All officer interviews will or should include current affairs. The best guideline is 5 national and 5 international. Know them inside out. You will list all of them, and then they will pick one national and one internation and test how deep your knowledge is on both and then ask for your opinions.

  10. Hi Ryan! This blog has helped me loads although I’m applying for Supplier, but this is the first blog I’ve come across, and I appreciate all the helpful ideas you’ve posted on here. For your interview were you asked detailed question’s regarding the aircraft’s as they’re quite confusing for me as they’re so many of them and such long names for them. Did you get asked much about the aircraft’s? Also what would you recommend to do for the AST please as I have mine in 2 weeks. Scary!

    • Regardless of what you’re applying for, this blog will cater for all parts of your selection. I’m glad you’ve found it useful.

      You’ll be expected to know basics on RAF aircraft. You’re joining an air force and all trades and branches are ultimately in support of getting aircraft in the air so we can fulfil our role. Therefore, you’d be naive to think you could join without a clue about what aircraft we operate and where from. That’s not to say you have to go into crazy detail! Obviously a Supplier is not expected to have the same knowledge that an Aircraft Technician would. You should know our current aircraft and where they’re based. So for Typhoons, instantly you should know they’re based at Coningsby and Lossiemouth. What do they do there? Provide QRA. That’s the basics. You could say there are 4 Squadrons with typhoons at Coningsby, XI(F), 3(F), 41(R) and 29(R). XI & 3 Sqn mainly provide QRA, 41 Sqn are the Test & Evaluation squadron (testing new aircraft components and configurations) and 29 Sqn is the Operational Conversion Unit for pilots straight out of training on the Hawk at RAF Valley. However, this is way deeper than you’ll be expected to know. But guess what – if you know this kind of stuff – massive tick in the box. Just do your research and learn what aircraft are where for now. Then look into squadrons. Then look into what those squadrons do. Take baby steps to begin with and your knowledge base will soon increase.

      As for the AST, work against the clock. You can prepare all you like. You can do mental maths, you can practise verbal reasoning by skim reading news articles looking for partciular info. But if you’re not setting time limits while you practise, you may as well not practise at all. The test itself is fairly easy. There’s nothing too challenging in there but the time limit will make you flustered and suddenly the easiest question in the world becomes impossible. Practise putting pressure on yourself and you’ll be in a good place by the time you come to sit the AST itself.

  11. Hi there Ryan. I have my interview tomorrow morning and hoping this time tomorrow I hope I can send you a message saying I passed. It would be great as I am going on my family holiday in a little over a week for 2 weeks and so I can just kick back and relax (however, I will still be running every day to improve my time). I, like other people have found your blog extremely helpful in aiding me with my preparation and as much as I wish I could jump the whole procedure right to the end, I am enjoying each stage and the challenges it brings. I will keep you posted. Regards. Jo

    • Hi Jo,

      Sorry for the late reply. I’m busy at RAF Halton completing a flying scholarship this week and next!

      Really happy to hear you passed your interview. That should take a lot of the pressure off and you’re sensible enough to realise you now need to smash the fitness all the way through until you start basic training. Starting early helps and you need stamina more than anything when you’re training.

      Please keep me posted and I wish you all the best. And enjoy the holiday!

  12. Hey, just passed my interview and I wanted to say thank you for the above information. It was very handy and gave me some great insights for the preparation.

    I had an interview for the role of WSOp today (5th AUgust 2016) and was asked the following, in addition to the above (should this help anyone);

    – The standard things about yourself (11-18, 18-present)
    – Why you want to join the RAF (over Navy and Army)
    – What the Navy do/ what the role of WSOp involves
    – Values and behaviours expected of you joining (mentioning RISE was welcomed)
    – “If you were on a helicopter, transporting troops being shot at, how would you feel? Would you be prepared to shoot the enemy” – Obvious, as Ryan’s example mentioned
    – 5 global and 5 UK current affair topics (going in depth with 1 from each list you provide). The interviewer tried to argue points to me about the topics, but he valued the fact I stood by ground and didn’t change my opinion (form your own opinion)

    I wasn’t asked anything about current transport, operations or locations, but this isn’t to say others won’t get asked (especially at OASC too).

    • Many thanks for the extra information, I’m sure many people will find it beneficial. The only thing that may be different for regular airmen/women interviews is the current affairs question. I’m fairly sure you were only asked that as you’re going for NCA, whereas someone just going for a standard trade and going through the basic recruit process wouldn’t be required to know it. Of course, it always helps to be over prepared than under prepared!

      Congrats on passing the interview. How confident are you for OASC? I’ve just put in my commission application so I’ll be finding myself there in the not too distant future too!

  13. Yeah quite possibly but if it helps someone out applying for WSOp, then great! And as you said, better to be over prepared than under. It can only assist with your future career in the RAF too.

    Thank you. I’m quietly confident. Just need to pass the medical and fitness. Good luck buddy!

  14. Hi, I am considering applying for Aerosapce Battle Manager and I am wondering whether you are asked about previous work experience and whether it would affect my chances if i have none. Also, how long did it take for them to contact you after you registered interest?


    • H Antony, ABM is an officer branch where as this blog is focused on airman trades. However, I’m currently applying for a commission to be an officer in the branch of pilot – so I can help!

      Officer roles are leadership based. You need to be able to demonstrate that you are outgoing and give examples of where you had lead people or been in charge of something. Captain of a sports team, head boy/girl at school, all the usual kinds of things.

      Most officers have been to university and done adventurous pursuits or been a part of the UAS and again, may have got leadership experience from that. Those who haven’t been to university have usually been working previous to applying. There are also some younger ones who go straight from A-levels and apply. You have to keep in mind that if they are going to recruit an officer so young, they need to be mature beyond their years. A typical officer cadet selected after A-levels may have reached a high rank with the cadets or had some kind of outstanding contribution to a charity for example.

      Without knowing your age and what your previous education/experience is, I can’t really advise you much further.

      Once you register interest, you should be sent an online application. You fill all of that out and then you’ll receive an email stating that the application has been received and you’ll be contacted about attending a P2 presentation which aims to educate you about life as an officer in the RAF.

  15. Hi Ryan, i’m very early in the process as ive just received my presentation appointment so bare with my lack of knowledge! Im just aiming to begin revising as soon as possible so i can be as prepared as possible. You mentioned in a previous reply about how the interview process for an Officer differs from the non-commisioned service in regards to questions involving current affairs etc. I find this interview guideline the most helpful online but is there other things i should be preparing for which your set of questions includes? Or, am i okay to be dependant on yours as i know you mentioned it does prepare for all aspects of RAF roles!

    Also, im feeling quite concerned about my application as i was told after being quite succesful in my A-Levels that applying for an officer role is the correct thing to do. However, after reading your most recent reply i’m doubting this! As i say, im very early in the process and if you think i should reconsider and apply through the non-commissioned service then please give me any advice on this you can. Thank you.

    • Hi Jack,

      Thanks for the message. Prepare for a fairly lengthy reply!

      Being prepared is good and by reading this blog you’re definitely doing the right things. Please don’t just rely on this blog though – there are plenty of other good sources too! The main difference between a non-commissioned interview and an officer interview is the depth in which you are expected to know things. The topics are relatively similar. You’ll have two parts in your interview. The first part is all about you and for an officer interview, this means being meticulous with dates and descriptions of everything you did. For officers, they will want a lot of detail on your leadership and adventurous experience. Again, you’ll need to talk them to death with details until they ask you to stop.

      Current affairs is a big deal for an officer interview too. You’ll need 5 UK and 5 international stories. They don’t need to be relating to military. However, you need to know each story inside out with facts and figures. They’ll likely pick one story for the UK and one international an you’ll be expected to know them in detail. My advice is to choose stories you’re actually interested in. You’ll find it much easier to gather information on something which naturally spark your interest. Don’t pick stories because you think it’ll sound good in the interview.

      Don’t be dependant on the questions you see on this blog. This is merely a guideline for non-commission interviews. So it definitely shouldn’t be used as the sole source of information for officer interviews. I do have something that will help you massively though so expect an email with that later.

      Ignore my recent comments. If you feel confident enough to go for officer, go for it. Going own the non-commissioned route with the intention of commissioning later is an option but I wouldn’t recommend it. There are too many variables that could hinder your application later on. This was the option I took and I don’t regret it but it’s probably better to go for officer directly if that’s your ambition. The only benefit of going around the mountain first is that you can pick up more information along the way – but then they expect you to know more than a civvy when it comes to interviews so you can’t win really. If you’re confident, apply directly for officer. Don’t waste time doing it the other way. If you aim for officer and you fail, you can retry in a matter of months, maybe a year depending on what you fail. If you go for non-commissioned trades first, you’re looking at about 2 or 3 years before you can even think about applying. It’s entirely up to you and nobody should make a career/life changing decision based on one persons advice. Do what you feel is best for you.

      Any other questions then please ask. Also look out for an email shortly!

  16. Hi, many thanks for all this blog information. I have my interview tomorrow and struggling to find enough information out there about the different aircraft and where they are based e.g typhoons at Lossiemouth I think?

    • Hi Linda

      Sorry I couldn’t answer your question in time for your interview! I hope all went well. The information regarding aircraft, squadrons, and bases is all readily available to find online. Sometimes it just takes a bit of perseverance to get the latest info.

      Just for future reference, Typhoons are indeed based at Lossiemouth and also at Coningsby too. A nice way to break it down is to think about fighters being based at Coningsby, Marham & Lossiemouth. Transport aircraft (C17, Hercules C130, A400, Voyager) being based at Brize Norton, and ISTAR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance) aircraft being at Waddington (Sentinel, Rivet Joint, Sentry, Shadow). Although, Waddington is in the latter stages of having its runway resurfaced so the ISTAR fleet is scattered around various bases in Lincolnshire currently.

  17. Hi. Yes passed interview waiting for date for medical now ☺was told will need to improve military knowledge for final interview so thanks for any help in advance. This is a very helpful blog at each stage that’s for sure!

    • Great! Congrats on passing. Yes, the final interview is definitely something you need to be well prepared for. It’s just as important as the first one so if there’s anything you’d like to know then just leave a comment on here.

  18. Hey I got my interview on Monday the 3rd October.
    Applying for the Survival Equipment Fitter or Squipper as they are called.
    After reading your blog I can safely say I am prepared and it has eased my nerves for it, been preparing non stop after the presentation.
    Thanks it really has helped me a lot in preparation

    • Thanks Zack and you’re welcome.

      All the best for your interview and I’ve no doubt you’ll be a squipper on a squadron like our Typhoon squadron here at Coningsby in the not too distant future!

  19. Hey, I have my interview on Wednesday 12th October for RAF Police. Has anyone else attended the same interview and if so could you let me know what sort of questions they ask or if its generally the same as mentioned above?
    Thanks all

  20. It did go well thanks! Passed! Waiting for my nedical and fitness now which im dreading as ive had a really bad chest infection AND Ive strained a muscle in my foot, both of which has impacted my fitness 😢
    Heres hoping I can get back to at least the minimum level in 2 weeks 😥

  21. Hi Ryan,

    I am attending my P2 presentation for Communications and Intelligence branch (officer) next week and have recently stumbled upon your blog.
    Leaving a thank you for the detailed information, quickly realising I have some serious researching to do on military knowledge.

    What would you say is the typical time the interview would be scheduled after the presentation?

    Thank you.

    • You’re welcome.

      Please be advised this blog is intended for the airman application process, not officer. While there are some similarities, be aware that the officer interviews will be a lot more in depth on military knowledge and will also involve the current affairs topics (which the airman interview doesn’t – at least nowhere near the same level).

      I went for a P2 presentation a few months ago and I know people there were getting interview dates within the month. It may not be so quick for some. A lot of us were applying for pilot though and they were keen to get us off to aptitude testing and then back in for an interview within 4 weeks. I’d expect a little longer, but you may be lucky.

      All the best and if you have any further questions regarding military knowledge such as aircraft/bases/squadrons/ops then feel free to message me. I’ve been serving for over 2 years now and spent 14 months as a mechanic on a front line typhoon squadron so I’m sure I could give an insight if needed.

  22. Hi Ryan,
    I’m 16 and preparing my first steps to apply for WELBECK DSFC and as I’ve been informed I need to apply to the RAF as an officer. My knowledge is not the best of yet however as an Air cadet for the last 2 years I’ve been able to go on camps and physically experience life in RAF (obviously on a much more basic level than I will be). I’ve been working on my fitness and AST and reading your blog and comments so I can make notes to revise wider knowledge. I was just wondering if you had any more advise regarding preparation or anything else I should be aware of? Thank you so much for this blog, it has been very enlightening and interesting indeed. 🙂

    • Hi Amy

      Thanks for the kind words, I’m glad it has been of use.

      My first point I really need to stress is that this blog is designed for airman/woman entry – not officer. The process to join as an officer is much different and requires completely different preparation. You can forget the AST all together.

      It’s great that you’ve had the opportunity to get on some station visits and get a taster of RAF life. The recruitment guys love that stuff. Your enthusiasm and willingness to do research will also aid you massively.

      As always, my best tips (for airman or officer) is know more than you are required to. If, for example, you’re required to know what aircraft the RAF operate, make sure you know the aircraft and then go on to look at squadrons that operate those aircraft. People like to focus on the really big things like operational deployments but most people know that the RAF are in Cyprus and the Falklands etc. On the contrary, if you can say the RAF operate typhoon multi-role aircraft and they have two front-line squadrons at RAF Coningsby (3 & 11) which fulfil the commitment of QRA South… now you’re getting somewhere. It’s all in the finer details.

      There are 100 more hints and tips I could give but without more specific questions on your part, I’m not sure what to say. If you have any other questions then please ask and I’ll get back to you asap!

      • Thankyou I understand now. I have difficulty in finding out such intricate details about the officer process however I have continued general research as advised and as preparing for a potential presentation and interview in 2 weeks time.

        Thankyou again greatly for your time.

        Hope all is well,

  23. If you need any specific clarification then feel free to ask as always. If I don’t know the answer myself then I think I have friends at almost every stage of the officer selection process currently so I can get pretty much every question answered.

    The presentation is basically just to help you. You won’t get tested on anything or asked questions. It’s actually optional but I think you’d be foolish not to go to it. I thought I knew the process pretty well but I still learnt a few things at the presentation so just take lots of notes and it will help for your interview.

  24. Hi Ryan

    I have applied for WSOp and I have my filter interview in two weeks. Do you have any advise on which current affairs to revise? At the P2 presentation I think I recall the Officer saying don’t use Brexit try and look for some that others may not talk about.



    • I think the general idea is to choose things that interest you. Don’t choose topics that everyone else is going to choose. If you’re the 5th person they see, and you’re the only one who doesn’t talk about Brexit, that’s going to make you more interesting and memorable straight away. In contrast, don’t start talking about irrelevant news stories about bottles of milk being stolen in rural villages, for example. Nobody cares about this. Make sure the topics are of interest to you and somewhat relevant. They don’t have to be directly RAF or military related at all.

  25. hello, I have my interview in just less than 2 weeks for Welbeck DSFC and these have really helped me prepare, however some answers I don’t know and cant find, where would you recommend me looking?

  26. How soon after the selection interview do you find our if you have passed? I did mine today but was told to wait for an email. I’m assuming some people are told on the day. Hope it isn’t bad news.

  27. Hi Ryan, read through all of your blog and was wandering if i could ask you some questions! iI’m currently in the process of joining as an Aircraft Tech Mechanical too and have my interview very soon!

      • Sorry for the late reply! Been so busy! No I didn’t! First i’ve heard! Is there an easier way for me to contact you? Email, WhatsApp, Facebook etc? Cherrs!

  28. Hi thanks for all the great info! When you say the training for aircraft techs is changing – in what way are they changing? I am applying for this role as we speak with my AST on Thursday Thanks again

  29. Hi Ryan,
    I have just passed my AST and I need to start making my notes to revise from, I have passed for the Aircraft Technician]( Avionics) role. I was wondering if you could help me by telling me what I could do with researching and where on the website I can find this information.

    • So the two big things you’ll be expected to know the most about are your training and the aircraft we operate. You’ll also want to know a fair bit about what the RAF does, where it does it and why it does it.

      Starting off with the basics – your training. Now, there’s a bit of a grey area here because there are some significant changes coming in regarding training of aircraft technicians, however it seems to me after speaking to various people that the AFCO’s and recruiters aren’t expecting you to know anything about it. In some cases, they don’t even know themselves. For the purpose of your interview, I’ll run you through how training is currently.

      You will do your 10 weeks at Halton, and then move onto Cosford.

      You will do 6 months at Cosford learning how to be an Aircraft Maintenance Mechanic (AMM). This includes basic aerodynamics, hand skills, and most importantly, how to competently complete a flight servicing.

      After 6 months, you will be posted onto a flying squadron. On your first posting you will mainly do AMM work (servicings, see ins, see offs etc), however you will also partake in some mechanical/avionic work. This is not only to ensure you complete your NVQ Level 2 (for which it is a requirement to complete work of both avionic and mechanical trades), but also to ensure you have sound knowledge of aircraft systems and this will help you when you return to Cosford.

      Your posting will be 18 months (on average). Mine was 14 months. You will then return to Cosford for a 9 month avionics course. This will obviously go into a lot greater depth regarding electronics and all the electrical systems on aircraft.

      Once you graduate, you will then be sent back out to a flying squadron as a fully trained avionics tech. At this point, you will have the rank of SAC(T) which stands for Senior Aircraftman (Technician). Apologies if you already knew that but some don’t! You will also complete NVQ Level 3 during this posting.

      Hopefully that clears up your training a little bit. In summary:

      Halton – 10 Weeks (AC/Aircraftman)

      Cosford – 6 months (AC/Aircraftman)

      Flying Sqn – 12-18 months (NVQ Level 2, LAC/Leading Aircraftman, and will gain promotion to SAC/Senior Aircraftman after 1 years service and completion of Trade Ability Tests)

      Cosford – 9 months (SAC)

      Flying Sqn – Indefinitely (NVQ Level 3, SAC(T))

      Okay, onto aircraft. I like to break it down nice and simple. I just group aircraft together and it seems easier for people to understand.

      Multi-Engine/Transport (Big stuff!) – Brize Norton.
      C17, C130, Voyager, A400M Atlas. I’ll leave it down to you to research squadrons if you want to go that deep. I wouldn’t say it was a requirement, but it will look good if you can throw a few squadrons in there. I’ll give you one for free – 99 Sqn operate the C17!

      Intelligence/ISTAR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition, Reconnaissance… AKA secret spy stuff!) – Waddington.
      Sentry, Sentinel, Rivet Joint, Shadow, Reaper UAV.

      Helicopters – Benson & Odiham.

      Chinook, Puma. We don’t operate Merlins any more as they have all gone to the RN.

      Fast jets. Coningsby, Marham, Lossiemouth.
      Typhoon (4 squadrons at Coningsby, 3 squadrions at Lossie), Tornado (3 Squadrons at Marham), F35 (due in service early 2019 at Marham).

      If there is anything else you would like more clarification about or more detail then let me know!

  30. Hi, I am just about to make notes on the stations in the UK and Overseas but I am unsure which stations I need to learn about, because it says that you need to know the main UK bases.

    • Well obviously the main ones in the U.K. (Brize Norton, Coningsby, Waddington, Scampton, Cranwell, Lossiemouth to name a few). Learn what each of these bases do.

      As for abroad, you definitely want to be mentioning the Falkland Islands and Cyprus. Do some searching, find out what the RAF bases there are called and what they do. If you’re struggling then comment on here and I’ll point you in the right direction.

  31. Hi Ryan,

    I had my filter interview today, and was told to come back and ‘resit’ it in 3-4 weeks. I was told that I didn’t ‘sell myself’ enough for the Personnel support officer role, and that I am to improve on this aspect of my interview. I was wondering if I should be worried about this and if you have any tips for myself?

    I was also wondering if you are unsuccessful at OASC, how long is the wait till another attempt?



    • Hi Oliver,

      That’s fairly common and it’s not something I would worry about. Interviews, especially for officer branches, are about selling yourself. It’s really important to get the balance just right as you risk sounding cocky if you lay it on too thick. That being said, don’t be scared to admit your strengths. We’re often far too critical of ourselves which day to day won’t cause an issue. However, you’re sitting an interview to be an officer in the RAF.

      Regardless of which branch you are joining, you are an officer first. That means you’re a leader, and people need to have confidence in you that you can manage personnel. When asked what your leadership experience is, don’t downplay it. Say with confidence what you did, how it benefited you and how you will use it to benefit others. Like I said, it’s important to get the balance right but obviously you needed to push it a little further.

      As silly as it sounds, just do some practise interviews. Give family/friends a list of the questions you were asked, and practise your answers. Make a script if you have to. That’s what I did for my airman interview. Granted, it’s not as in depth as the officer interview but it will help you in the exact same way it helped me.

      It’s usually 12 months to give OASC another go, but don’t go in with that attitude. You’re setting yourself up to fail if you’re not positive!

      All the best

  32. Hi Ryan,
    I completed my aptitude test for SNCO air traffic control three weeks ago and passed. I have not heard anything since. Is there an average time to hear about the filter interview? Should I call the AFCO?
    Thanks’ Matt

  33. Hi Ryan,

    Thanks for the post, can you help me with the current operations, the ones on the website are outdated, I have operation SHADER and that’s about it. Otherwise its the falklands ongoing patrols, or the QRA jets. I don’t know what else there is currently happening at the moment or very recently

    Any help is appreciated, thanks

    • Hi James,

      I appreciate that details on current operations are few and far between. Generally, they don’t expect you to know anything that isn’t on the RAF website. But since you asked, I’ll give you and anyone else who may be reading this some really good things to talk about.

      Firstly, you are correct with Op Shader. That’s our biggest committment currently alongside QRA which as you know, is our top priority. Falklands is also important and overall, these are your top 3. You don’t need to know any more than these really, but here’s some additional info…

      A lesser-known fact is that we still have people in Afghanistan. The UK as a whole has 500 personnel still over there, and they come under the NATO Resolute Support Mission (google it). We still have helicopters (Puma) out there so this is definitely something worth mentioning.

      As well as this, we have a constant capability to contribute to humanitarian missions. A notable example is the recent Op RUMAN which took place in the Caribbean to help deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. Google Op RUMAN and there’s plenty of articles and even a wiki page with good info.

      Something which is essential for the RAF to do is training alongside our international allies. We do this through exercises which we take part in all over the world. Some of these include ATLC in the UAE and Red Flag in the US.

      Much like what we do in the Falklands, we also take part in Baltic Air Policing fairly regularly. This is usually in Estonia and the latest deployment out there was April this year I believe. All these things can be searched online so don’t take my word for it!

      Hopefully this will give you something to work off and if you need any further assistance then let me know!

      • Thank you so much for this you are a major help, I was panicking so much.

        I will do some research on those, i have looked at falklands and shader already but as you say i would like some other examples like the ones you have given. I also have to learn where the aircraft are based as you mention further up the page, Is knowing a couple going to suffice or do I actually need to know all bases in the uk and what aircraft are at them?

    • Okay so you should probably know most aircraft and bases but I can break it down really easily so it’s less confusing.

      Transport aircraft – Brize Norton.
      C17, C130, Atlas A400.

      Intelligence/Surveillance Aircraft – Waddington.
      Sentry, Sentinel, Rivet Joint, Shadow.

      Helicopters – Benson and Odiham.
      Puma, Chinook.

      Fast jet – Coningsby, Lossiemouth and Marham.
      Typhoons at Coningsby and Lossiemouth, Tornados at Marham.

      Can also mention new aircraft coming into service like the F35 and Poseidon.

      • That’s really helpful, thanks. also What exact part is phase 1 2 and three, i know the whole training process for my roll but i do not know which bits are which phase. I will do ten weeks basic at halton, then 5 months at Cosford, then I will go on my first tour for 2 years and then back to cosford for my final 14 months training. I would guess that pahse one is 10 weeks, phase 2 5 months and phase three, the 14 months?

        What news items would you pick as of late? I really struggle to pick these topics, I need to be looking into 5 stories with some national and some international. All I keep looking at is stories that I feel won’t really help me.


  34. You’re correct regarding the structure and also correct if you want to go by the website (which is probably the best thing to do). However, I’ve just finished ‘Phase 3’ which we usually just call further training, and I can confirm 100% that it is currently a 12 month course, not 14 like the website states. However, as I said earlier, they’re not expecting you to know things that aren’t on the website. Stick with the figures you know. I would also say that the first tour as an AMM is very rarely 2 years. Average is 12 – 18 months. I did 14 months. Again, stick with what it says for the interview but I’m just trying to give you a more accurate insight into what it’s like.

    You don’t need to discuss news topics or current affairs for the interview. This is something that comes up in officer interviews, not airman. It’s always good to have a general idea what’s going on, especially defence wise, but you’re not going to be asked to recite 5 national and 5 international stories, so that’s one less thing to worry about!

    • Jesus you are a life saver. Wow so are you Avionics or mechanical? i’m going mechanical. You enjoyed everything so far? What’s the “14 month” training like? Sounds very technical and quite hard.

      Thanks for that, I applied for WSOP first and failed the test so changed to AMM which I have my notes from both presentations. That’s why I got a bit confused as to if I had to or not. Thanks for the clarification on that.

  35. Ha, no worries. I know what it’s like and it’s very easy to get confused. I’m mechanical. Yeah I’ve honestly had a really good time. A lot of the guys I knew a Cosford wouldn’t agree with me, but it really is what you make of it. There are a lot of travel opportunities so take them while they’re around. Same with sport, adventurous training and force development stuff. There’s a club for pretty much every interest and hobby in the universe and if there isn’t one already, you can make one (hint – anything like that is great for annual reports!). Something I’ve done which I’d never have been able to do without the RAF was a flying scholarship. I applied as soon as I got to Coningsby as an AMM and for the last year and a half I’ve been flying whenever I can and working towards my pilot licence… for hardly any money at all. Flying is an expensive hobby but you can get things pretty much fully funded, and there’s lots more opportunities like that. So yeah, it’s definitely what you make of it. If you go to work, come back, sit in your room all night and then repeat that cycle over and over then yes, it’s rubbish. But if you’re motivated and interested in things then you can keep yourself busy all year round.

    The technician training or the “14 month course” they apparently call it, isn’t that bad at all. Some of it is quite a steep learning curve and there’s a lot of exams to get through, but everyone gets through them eventually. It’s one of those things that initially you will probably feel nervous about but once you’re settled in with your course, you’ll just kind of get through it without much thought. You do need to spend a bit of time revising for certain stuff but I think that’s the same with everything. The hardest part of technician training is going back into the training environment after you’ve been away on a squadron for 12+ months. You have a lot of freedom and also a lot of responsibility as an AMM, and then all of a sudden that gets taken away again and it’s hard to adjust to. Overall though, it’s not half as bad as I expected it to be and time went way quicker than I thought it would. Leaving Cosford for the final time was one of the best feelings ever and it’s a nice light at the end of the tunnel all the way through!

  36. Hi, I’ve got my filter interview next Tuesday for ATCO and was wondering if there’s anything that they’re very keen on asking in particular? I’ve done plenty of research but worried I’m gunna mess up on something! Also with the jets do you get asked about weapon systems? Do you get asked things such as core values, mission statement etc? Thanks!

    • Weapons systems will not be something you’re expected to know about in most cases so don’t lose any sleep over it. However, things like core values and the mission statement are very basic pieces of information. You’re expected to know them even as an airman/woman so as an officer, I would only expect there to be more focus on those topics.

  37. Hi there!

    This blog has been so useful for preparation, so thank you!

    I’ve got my filter interview in just over a week for officer (pilot).

    Have you got any tips/info on recent RAF changes? I’ve read that they are restructuring the MFTS and the aircraft they are using. Is there any other news you know of?

    Also with regards to training, have any sections changed in regards to location/timings with changes to MFTS?

    I’m more focused on FJ or transport rather than helicopter pilot so is it worth having in depth knowledge of the helicopter stages/sector?

    Also if you have any other tips for the interview!

    Many thanks again for this,
    Aliya 🙂

      • Life has been good overall. It is vastly different for junior ranks like myself and officers but it’s been good for me. There is plenty of opportunity to do really interesting things; education opportunities, sports etc. People moan quite a lot about how they don’t like the RAF but they tend to be the people who do the bare minimum (go to work, go home, repeat).

        There’s always secondary duties you can get involved in, force development and adventure training, and I even managed to bag myself a place on a flying scholarship which will get me a pilots licence for a very small fee from myself. It’s what you make of it (as cliche as that sounds) but if you want to enjoy it, you will.

    • Hi Aliya,

      Good to hear you got past the CBAT which was where I stumbled a year or so ago! Fortunately, my interest in being a pilot means I actually have quite a lot of the info you’re asking for. Some of it is fairly specific so I’ll get that to you in an email on Monday.

      Generally speaking for now, yes there are lots of changes however don’t let this put you off. They’re not really expecting you to know any more than is publicly available at the moment. You can quite easily spend an hour or so researching MFTS which I’m sure you have done and that’s all they really want to know. Location and timing specifics will be put into the email.

      I would definitely advise you to have as much knowledge on helicopters than than the other two. Unfortunately, while your heart may be set on fixed wing, there’s a very real chance you could be flying helicopters for the rest of your career. They need to see that a) you’re okay with that and b) you’ve put as much time and effort into researching it as the others.

      Sorry this is a little vague as of now. I’ll be able to answer your questions properly via email.

      • Hi Ryan,

        Brilliant, thank you so much. Yes cbat was very intense to say the least!

        That would be very useful, thank you.

        I see, makes sense as it just depends where you’re best suited / needed as well.

        Also is it wise to have a back up trade or just stick with what I’m aiming for?
        Appreciate the info.

        Aliya 🙂

      • Ha, yes it was intense indeed.

        Definitely. Service needs is obviously prioritised over personal preference and to some extent it comes down to your performance during EFT also.

        I think it would be wise to have something in mind although this is actually something I’m guilty of as well. I have always said that if I’m going to be an officer, then it’s pilot or nothing. I’m coming around to the idea of RPAS pilot too but essentially I just want to fly. This is actually a bad attitude to have. At the interview, you have to make it very clear that you want to be an officer – not a pilot. You want the responsibility that comes with being an officer, not just the flying that comes with being a pilot. As long as you remember Officer first, pilot second, you’ll be good!

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