Acting pilot officer

Acting pilot officer (A/Plt Off) is the lowest commissioned grade in the Royal Air Force, being immediately junior to pilot officer. Unlike other RAF ranks which officers may hold in an acting capacity, acting pilot officer is maintained as a separate grade. It normally denotes an officer who has recently been commissioned and joined as a non-graduate direct entrant. Acting pilot officer is not an actual rank, and A/Plt Off's are later regraded to pilot officer, not promoted.

Although acting pilot officer has a NATO ranking code of OF(D), neither the British Army, Royal Marines nor Royal Navy has an exactly equivalent rank. As acting pilot officers are junior to second lieutenants in the British Army or the Royal Marines and to Royal Navy sub-lieutenants, the rank is the most junior commissioned rank in the British Armed Forces.

On a University Air Squadron, students can apply for the position of acting pilot officer in order to undertake a Senior Student or Flight Commander role, usually four per each UAS. In order to be awarded a Volunteer Reserve commission they have to complete an intensive course run by the Officer and Aircrew Cadet Training Unit at RAFC Cranwell. On graduation, RAFVR Acting Pilot Officers hold a full commission for one year. This can be extended if serving for more than one year in a senior position on squadron or retained if serving the RAF reserves.

Up to 2012, 3 Flying Training School (3FTS) were responsible for the training of UAS APOs. However starting in 2013 OACTU took over the duties of training APOs with a course aligned with the commissioning course of the RAF reserves.

The rank insignia is identical to that of a pilot officer, consisting of a thin blue band on slightly wider black band. This is worn on both the lower sleeves of the tunic or on the shoulders of the flying suit or the casual uniform. RAFVR APOs have a VR marking on their rank slides, either a small brass VR pin mounted on the stipe or embroidered underneath.


An RAF acting pilot officer's sleeve/shoulder insignia


An RAF acting pilot officer's sleeve mess insignia

An acting pilot officer's sleeve/shoulder insignia

See also


Air Force ranks and insignia of Chile

Ranks and insignia, similar to the Royal Air Force but adapted to suit the origins of the Chilean Air Force, are worn on shoulder collars and cuffs. General officers have the Condor eagle in their shoulder collars while officer cadets have a unique symbol, that of the Aviation School "Captain Manuel Ávalos Prado", on their shoulder collars. On the NCOs and enlistees, only Subofficer Majors and Subofficers wear both shoulder and cuff insignia, while Graduate Soldiers wear a double capital letter E (for the Air Force Specialties School "First Sergeant Adolfo Menandier Rojas") on their shoulder collars alongside their unique cuff marking.

Cambridge University Air Squadron

Cambridge University Air Squadron, abbreviated CUAS, formed in 1925, is the training unit of the Royal Air Force at the University of Cambridge and forms part of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. It is the oldest of 15 University Air Squadrons in the UK. For many years it was based at Cambridge Airport at Teversham.

Comparative air force officer ranks of the Americas

Rank comparison chart of air forces of North and South American states.

Comparative air force officer ranks of the Commonwealth

Rank comparison chart of air forces of Commonwealth of Nations states.

Comparative officer ranks of World War II

The following table offers an approximate comparison for the officer ranks appointed by the major Allied powers, the major Axis powers and various occupied countries and co-belligerents during World War II.

David Cock

David Frederick Cock (22 October 1914 – 26 September 1992) was an English cricketer. Cock was a right-handed batsman who occasionally fielded as a wicket-keeper. He was born at Great Dunmow, Essex.

Cock made his first-class debut for Essex against Kent in the 1939 County Championship. He made eleven first-class appearances in that season. He scored 326 runs in this season, which came at an average of 23.28, which included two half centuries. His first half century came against Sussex when he made 79 not out. His second half century saw him narrowly miss out on a century when he made 98 against Somerset at Chalkwell Park. World War II ended first-class cricket in England for the duration of that conflict. Cock served during the war in the Royal Air Force, holding the rank of Acting Pilot Officer in February 1941. However, on 27 May 1942 he resigned his commission. Following the war he resumed his career with Essex, playing in three first-class matches in the 1946 County Championship, with his final appearance coming against Surrey. He played no further matches for Essex after this season. In total, Cock played fourteen matches for Essex, scoring 355 runs at an average of 19.72.In 1951, he played a single Minor Counties Championship match for Cambridgeshire against Lincolnshire. He died on 26 September 1992 at Uttlesford, Essex.

Ernest Tedder

Ernest Cranfield Tedder (5 September 1915 – 9 September 1972) was an English cricketer. Tedder was a right-handed batsman. He was born at Woodford Green, Essex.

Tedder served in World War II with the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, initially holding the rank of Acting Pilot Officer. He was later promoted to Flying Officer in July 1941. Following the war, Tedder played first-class cricket for Essex against Somerset in the 1946 County Championship. He made seven further first-class appearances in that season, with his final appearance coming against Sussex. In his eight first-class appearances, he scored 208 runs at an average of 14.85, with a high score of 55. This score, which was his only half century, came against Sussex.He died on 9 September 1972 at Ipswich, Suffolk.


Fahnenjunker (en: officer cadet; literal: colors junker) is a military rank of the Bundeswehr and of some former German armed forces. In earlier German armed forces it was also the collective name for many Officer aspirant ranks.


Fähnrich (German pronunciation: [ˈfɛːnʁɪç]) is an officer candidate rank in the Austrian Bundesheer and German Bundeswehr. The word Fähnrich comes from an older German military title, Fahnenträger (flag bearer), and first became a distinct military rank in Germany on 1 January 1899. However, Fähnrich ranks are often incorrectly compared with the rank of ensign, which shares a similar etymology but is a full-fledged (albeit junior) commissioned officer rank.

In the German Landsknecht armies, recorded from ca. 1480, the equivalent rank of a Cornet existed. The cornet carried the troop standard, known as a "cornet".

Fähnrich zur See

Fähnrich zur See (Fähnr zS or FRZS) designates in the German Navy of the Bundeswehr a military person or member of the armed forces with the second highest Officer Aspirant (OA – de: Offizieranwärter) rank. According to the salary class it is equivalent to the Portepeeunteroffizier ranks Bootsmann (Marine) and Feldwebel of Heer or Luftwaffe.

It is also grouped as OR-6 in NATO, equivalent to Technical Sergeant, Staff Sergeant, or Petty Officer First Class in the US Armed forces, and to Petty officer in the British Army and Royal Navy.

In navy context NCOs of this rank were formally addressed as Herr/ Frau Fähnrich zur See also informally / short Fähnrich.

The sequence of ranks (top-down approach) in that particular group is as follows:Portepeeunteroffiziere

OR-9: Oberstabsbootsmann / Oberstabsfeldwebel

OR-8: Stabsbootsmann / Stabsfeldwebel

OR-7: Oberfähnrich zur See and Hauptbootsmann / Oberfähnrich and Hauptfeldwebel

OR-6a: Oberbootsmann / Oberfeldwebel

OR-6b: Fähnrich zur See and Bootsmann / Fähnrich and FeldwebelThe abbreviation "OR" stands for "Other Ranks / fr: sous-officiers et militaires du rang / ru:другие ранги, кроме офицероф"!

James Thain

James Thain (8 February 1921 – 6 August 1975) was a British aviator and former Royal Air Force officer. He was command pilot aboard BEA Flight 609 when it crashed in the 1958 Munich air disaster.

Military ranks of Trinidad and Tobago

The Military ranks of Trinidad and Tobago are the military insignia used by the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force. Being a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, Trinidad and Tobago shares a rank structure similar to that of the United Kingdom.

Nicky Smith (RAF officer)

Squadron Leader Nicola Elizabeth Smith is a retired British Royal Air Force officer. She was the first female military helicopter pilot in the United Kingdom and in 2002 she became the first female to command a flying squadron.Nicky Smith was born in Colchester and studied aeronautical engineering at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where she joined Cambridge University Air Squadron in 1986. Regraded from acting pilot officer to pilot officer on 15 July 1989, she passed out from the RAF College Cranwell in 1990 with the Sash of Merit as best female cadet. She was promoted flying officer on 15 January 1990 and in November 1990 she transferred from the Engineer Branch to the General Duties Branch as aircrew, becoming one of the first female trainee pilots in the RAF. She was promoted flight lieutenant on 15 January 1992. She went to RAF Swinderby for elementary flying training, returned to Cranwell for basic flying training, and then went to RAF Shawbury, where she became the first woman in the British military to qualify as a helicopter pilot in October 1992.She became a search and rescue pilot, flying Westland Sea Kings, initially with 202 Squadron at RAF Boulmer in Northumberland, then with the same squadron at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland, and later with 22 Squadron at RAF Valley on Anglesey, flying more than 250 missions.She was promoted squadron leader in 1999 and, after a staff tour as the personal staff officer to the Air Officer Commanding and Commandant of the RAF College Cranwell, she trained on Westland Wessex helicopters with 72 Squadron at RAF Aldergrove in Northern Ireland before being posted to RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus to take command of 84 Squadron in March 2002.She retired from the RAF in September 2006, although keeping her ties with the service by joining the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (Training Branch) as a flying officer, and taught mathematics at Felsted School until September 2007, when she joined CHC Helicopter as business development manager and Soteria Search and Rescue as transition manager. In April 2011, she joined Essex and Hertfordshire Air Ambulance as an air ambulance pilot. In November 2014, Captain Smith moved to Wiltshire Air Ambulance.

Pilot officer

Pilot officer (Plt Off officially in the RAF; PLTOFF in the RAAF and RNZAF; formerly P/O in all services, and still often used in the RAF) is the lowest commissioned rank in the Royal Air Force and the air forces of many other Commonwealth countries. It ranks immediately below flying officer.

It has a NATO ranking code of OF-1 and is equivalent to a second lieutenant in the British Army or the Royal Marines. The Royal Navy has no exactly equivalent rank, and a pilot officer is senior to a Royal Navy midshipman and junior to a Royal Navy sub-lieutenant. In the Australian Armed Forces, the rank of pilot officer is equivalent to acting sub lieutenant in the Royal Australian Navy.

The equivalent rank in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) was "assistant section officer".

Royal Hellenic Air Force ranks

This article contains the rank insignia of the Royal Hellenic Air Force (until 1973).


Seekadett (en: Naval (officer) cadet / literal: sea cadet) is a military rank of the Bundeswehr and of former German speaking naval forces.

University Air Squadron

University Air Squadrons are training units under the command of No. 6 Flying Training School RAF of the Royal Air Force and their main role is to attract ambitious and intelligent students into careers as RAF officers. Primarily its goal is achieved through offering basic flying training, force development and adventure training to undergraduate students at British universities. These units exist to provide a taste of life in the Service and to give experience to their members in preparation for taking up a career as an officer in one of the RAF's many branches.

Members are expected to attend training nights, usually on a weekly basis, as well as attending several annual training camps. The flying syllabus of 31 sorties loosely follows Elementary Flying Training (EFT) and allows a student to achieve some ten to fifteen hours of flying per year. The flying training is supplemented with ground training and adventure training, both in the UK and abroad.

UASs are part of the RAF Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR). Many are parents to Air Experience Flights (AEF) which provide experience of flying to Air Cadets. Most students hold the rank of Officer Cadet, which has the status and privileges - but not the rank - of an officer. Some, usually four/five students a year may obtain commissions in the RAF Volunteer Reserve, in the rank of Acting Pilot Officer. Medicine and dentistry students, on obtaining a Cadetship, are commissioned into the RAF in the rank of Pilot Officer, and are offered a salary. Following graduation Cadets are promoted to Flying Officer while their medical training continues, prior to commencing Initial Officer Training.

On the run-up to World War II the squadrons were an important source of pilots for the RAF during the Battle of Britain. Cadets who were already members of the RAFVR were called up for active service in the middle of studying for their degrees.

University of Birmingham Air Squadron

The University of Birmingham Air Squadron, commonly known as UBAS, is a squadron within the Royal Air Force established in 1942. It is based at RAF Cosford, Shropshire, and flies a fleet of five Grob Tutors. In 2009 the squadron upgraded the aircraft to the Grob Tutor EA which has an advanced avionics suite. The Squadron has four Flights, A, B, C and D; each with a student Flight Commander who holds the rank of Acting Pilot Officer. UBAS is also the parent squadron of 8 Air Experience Flight, who jointly fly UBAS' Tutor fleet.

A Squadron Leader is the Commanding Officer, while UBAS also has several other Qualified Flying Instructors and a Ground Training Instructor. There are some seventy students on the squadron, which accepts members from the University of Birmingham, Birmingham City University, Aston University, Coventry University, Warwick University, Keele University, Wolverhampton University and Staffordshire University.Students volunteer to join UBAS at their university's Freshers' Fair and then undergo a selection process. If successful they are attested and join the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. UBAS activities include flight, sports, military and leadership training, adventurous training, charity and community work and a vibrant social scene. The scope of UBAS, like other University Air Squadrons is to let young people experience life in the Royal Air Force and to develop their skills in the fields mentioned.

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