Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Pb_Cybermat47

Please Explain NCO Pilots

Recommended Posts

I've been wondering about NCO Pilots recently, both from WWI and WWII.

 

Specifically, were these NCOs fresh recruits given an NCO rank to make their duties easier, i.e. giving orders to ground crew, or were they experienced veterans who had proven themselves elsewhere before undergoing flight training?

 

Also, how did this differ between services and between WWI and WWII?

 

Thanks :salute:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is for WW2 RAF: 'From 27 May 1940 the Royal Air Force introduced a minimum rank of sergeant for all aircrew instantly promoting all aircrew holding lower rank to sergeant.' Before that aircrew could be of any rank, although pilots were more likely to be officers.

Edited by 216th_Cat

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FWIW I found this at Military History Monthly: "The rapid expansion of the RAF in the 1930s saw the formation of the Volunteer Reserve, and with it the rise of the non-commissioned officer (NCO). The lure of learning to fly for free in the VR proved potent for young working men – resulting in a large number of VR ‘Sergeant Pilots’ making up the wartime RAF. "

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

NCO pilots arose from the need to fill the thousands of cockpits being built. They were men who had no college education, and therefore didn't qualify for officers school. But, if they passed a written exam and the pilots physical exam, they could quailify for pilots training without being officers. If they made it through the training they became Sargeant Pilots or Warrant Officers (Flight Officers). Chuck Yeager was an example of this. He was in The Air Corps already as a mechanic when he found out that the service was offering pilots training to non-officers. He jumped on it. Later on, most of these men, including Yeager, were promoted to Lieutenants.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In WW1 in the german army there was also an interesting development: here, the focus was on observer-aircrew who by regulation had to be full fledged officers. As germany was short of experienced officers, part of the intruction of the CL-class of aircraft (C-type, light) was that it´s role definition as protection aircraft allowed to define backseater duties as shooters only, thus eleminating the officer requirement connected with the observation job (trustworthyness and all that)

 

All off this, while most air personal was fully aware of the uselessness of 2-seat fighters without stronger engines and in the end those non-officer backseaters ended up doing the same jobs, but it needed this forefront reason to open the door for enlisted aircrew. 

 

Another funny little sidenote is that germanies first real 2-engine bomber aircraft was a private after work project of enthusiat Oscar Ursinus.. only later to be formalized and financed as via retrospective requirement (B.1092/14), later to be built as Gotha G I

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...