Flight lieutenant

Flight Lieutenant (Flt Lt in the RAF and IAF; FLTLT in the RAAF and RNZAF—formerly sometimes F/L in all services) is a junior commissioned air force rank that originated in the Royal Naval Air Service and is still used in the Royal Air Force[1] and many other countries, especially in the Commonwealth. It is also sometimes used as the English translation of an equivalent rank in non-English-speaking countries, especially those with an air force-specific rank structure.

Flight lieutenant ranks above flying officer and below squadron leader. The name of the rank is the complete phrase; it is never shortened to "lieutenant".

It has a NATO ranking code of OF-2, and is equivalent to a lieutenant in the Royal Navy and a captain in the British Army and the Royal Marines. The equivalent rank in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF), Women's Royal Air Force (WRAF) (until 1968) and Princess Mary's Royal Air Force Nursing Service (PMRAFNS) (until 1980) was flight officer.

UK-Air-OF2
A flight lieutenant's sleeve/shoulder insignia

Origins

RNAS Flt Lt
The rank insignia of a Royal Naval Air Service flight lieutenant

On 1 April 1918, the newly created RAF adopted its officer rank titles from the British Army, with Royal Naval Air Service lieutenants (titled as flight lieutenants and flight commanders) and Royal Flying Corps captains becoming captains in the RAF. In response to the proposal that the RAF should use its own rank titles, it was suggested that the RAF might use the Royal Navy's officer ranks, with the word "air" inserted before the naval rank title. For example, the current rank of flight lieutenant would have been "air lieutenant". Although the Admiralty objected to this simple modification of their rank titles, it was agreed that the RAF might base many of its officer rank titles on navy officer ranks with differing pre-modifying terms. It was also suggested that RAF captains might be entitled flight-leaders. However, the rank title flight lieutenant was chosen as flights were typically commanded by RAF captains and the term flight lieutenant had been used in the Royal Naval Air Service. The rank of flight lieutenant has been used continuously since 1 August 1919.

Usage in the RAF

Although in the early years of the RAF a flight lieutenant commanded an aircraft flight, with the increasing combat power of aircraft and therefore squadrons, command and control has shifted up the rank structure (currently, for instance, most squadron commanders in the RAF are Wing Commanders, a reflection on the comparative combat power between the modern air force and its predecessor).

The RAF's promotion system is automatic up until Flight Lieutenant. Every officer will attain the rank provided they complete their professional training and do not leave early. For Aircrew, Flight Lieutenant is reached 2.5 years after commissioning, BEng/MEng qualified engineers 2.5 and 1.5 years respectively, and for all ground branch officers, 3.5 years. Aircrew are appointed to an Early Departure Payment Commission upon reaching their Operational Conversion Unit, which is a commission for 20 years or age 40, whichever is later. Promotion to Squadron Leader thereafter is strictly upon merit; officers promoted beyond Flight Lieutenant are appointed to a Career Commission, or service to age 60. Resigning a commission is generally dependent on the needs of the Service, although an officer who has completed their Return of Service (service the RAF requires to justify its expense in originally training the officer) could leave after as little as four years. For aircrew, given the large expense required for training, this Return of Service is generally the length of their initial commission anyway, unless they re-role to a different branch having failed an element of flying training. Most aircrew reach their squadrons as Flight Lieutenants due to the length of training time required (up to four years for fast jet pilots). The majority of squadron line pilots are flight lieutenants, with some squadron executives or Career Commission aircrew reaching Squadron Leader.

Aside from aircrew, whose work typically does not require active leadership for units of airmen, ground branch officers can expect to operate units that can range in size from a few specialist non-commissioned personnel to 50 or more personnel for engineering or other manpower intensive roles. The role of a Flight Lieutenant generally involves management of a team of specialists Non-Commissioned Officers and airmen, within their specific branch. In the RAF Regiment, a Flight Lieutenant generally has the same role and responsibility as a Captain in the British Army, in charge of a Regiment Flight of 30 men, and could be second-in-command of a Squadron of up to 120 men.

Flight Lieutenant is the most common rank in the RAF; in April 2013, for example, there were 8,230 RAF officers, of whom 3,890 (47.3%) were Flight Lieutenants.[2] In RAF informal usage, a flight lieutenant is sometimes referred to as a "flight lieuy". A Flight Lieutenant's starting salary is £39,236.40 as of 2015.[3]

In the Air Training Corps, a flight lieutenant is usually the officer commanding of a squadron. Retired flight lieutenants are the first rank that may continue to use their rank after they have left active service.[4]

Insignia

The rank insignia consists of two narrow blue bands on slightly wider black bands. This is worn on both the lower sleeves of the tunic or on the shoulders of the flight suit or the casual uniform. The rank insignia on the mess uniform is similar to the naval pattern, being two band of gold running around each cuff but without the Royal Navy's loop. Unlike senior RAF officers, flight lieutenants are not entitled to fly a command flag under any circumstances.

UK-Air-OF2

An RAF flight lieutenant's sleeve/shoulder insignia

File-UK-Air-OF2-mess-insignia

An RAF flight lieutenant's sleeve mess insignia

RAF-Flt Lt-OF-2

An RAF flight lieutenant's sleeve on No. 1 service dress uniform

Other air forces

The rank of flight lieutenant is also used in a number of the air forces in the Commonwealth, including the Bangladesh Air Force, Ghana Air Force, Indian Air Force, Pakistan Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force and Royal New Zealand Air Force. It is also used in the Egyptian Air Force, Hellenic Air Force, Royal Air Force of Oman, Royal Thai Air Force and the Air Force of Zimbabwe.

The Royal Canadian Air Force used the rank until 1968, when the three armed services were unified and army-type ranks were adopted; flight lieutenants became captains. In official French Canadian usage, a flight lieutenant's rank title was capitaine d'aviation. Until the late 1970s, the Royal Malaysian Air Force used the rank. Thereafter the rank of captain was used instead.

In the Danish Army, a flight lieutenant is called a captain (Army equivalent). The rank of flight lieutenant is an old Army rank for army pilots and is now used for lieutenants (OF-1).

RAAF O3 rank

An RAAF flight lieutenant's sleeve/shoulder insignia

NZ-Air-OF2

A RNZAF flight lieutenant's sleeve/shoulder insignia

Hellenic Air Force OF-2

A Hellenic Air Force sminagos (flight lieutenant's) rank insignia

Flight Lieutenant of IAF

An Indian Air Force flight lieutenant's rank insignia

Flt Lt Pakistan Air Force

A PAF flight-lieutenant's rank insignia.

A RTAF flight lieutenant's rank insignia

Notable flight lieutenants

Prince William of Wales RAF
Prince William in his then flight lieutenant's uniform

See also

References

  1. ^ "Ranks and Badges of the RAF". Royal Air Force. 2015. Retrieved 22 March 2015.
  2. ^ "UK Armed Forces Annual Personnel Report" (PDF). Ministry of Defence. 1 April 2013. Retrieved 22 March 2015.
  3. ^ "Rates of Pay" (PDF). raf.mod.uk. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  4. ^ "Armed Forces, Forms Of Address". Debrett's. 2015. Archived from the original on 13 September 2012. Retrieved 22 March 2015.
  5. ^ "No. 58941". The London Gazette (Supplement). 6 January 2009. p. 123.
1944 Birthday Honours

The 1944 King's Birthday Honours, celebrating the official birthday of King George VI, were announced on 2 June 1944 for the United Kingdom and British Empire, New Zealand, and South Africa.The recipients of honours are displayed here as they were styled before their new honour, and arranged by honour, with classes (Knight, Knight Grand Cross, etc.) and then divisions (Military, Civil, etc.) as appropriate.

1946 Birthday Honours

The 1946 King's Birthday Honours, celebrating the official birthday of King George VI, were announced on 13 June 1946 for the United Kingdom and British Empire.The recipients of honours are displayed here as they were styled before their new honour, and arranged by honour, with classes (Knight, Knight Grand Cross, etc.) and then divisions (Military, Civil, etc.) as appropriate.

1946 Birthday Honours (New Zealand)

The 1946 King's Birthday Honours in New Zealand, celebrating the official birthday of King George VI, were appointments made by the King on the advice of the New Zealand government to various orders and honours to reward and highlight good works by New Zealanders. They were announced on 13 June 1946.The recipients of honours are displayed here as they were styled before their new honour.

1950 New Year Honours

The 1950 New Years Honours were appointments in many of the Commonwealth realms of King George VI to various orders and honours to reward and highlight good works by citizens of those countries. They were announced on 2 January 1950 for the United Kingdom, New Zealand, India, and Ceylon.The recipients of honours are displayed here as they were styled before their new honour, and arranged by honour, with classes (Knight, Knight Grand Cross, etc.) and then divisions (Military, Civil, etc.) as appropriate.

1951 New Year Honours

The 1951 New Years Honours were appointments in many of the Commonwealth realms of King George VI to various orders and honours to reward and highlight good works by citizens of those countries. They were announced on 1 January 1951 for the British Empire, Australia, New Zealand, Ceylon, and Pakistan.The recipients of honours are displayed here as they were styled before their new honour, and arranged by honour, with classes (Knight, Knight Grand Cross, etc) and then divisions (Military, Civil, etc) as appropriate.

1953 Coronation Honours

The 1953 Coronation Honours were appointments by Queen Elizabeth II to various orders and honours on the occasion of her coronation on 2 June 1953. The honours were published in The London Gazette on 1 June 1953.The recipients of honours are displayed here as they were styled before their new honour. They are arranged by honour, with classes (Knight, Knight Grand Cross, etc.) and then divisions (Military, Civil, etc.) as appropriate.

1953 New Year Honours

The New Year Honours 1953 for the United Kingdom were announced on 30 December 1952, to celebrate the year passed and mark the beginning of 1953. This was the first New Year Honours since the accession of Queen Elizabeth II. The Honours list is a list of people who have been awarded one of the various orders, decorations, and medals of the United Kingdom. Honours are split into classes ("orders") and are graded to distinguish different degrees of achievement or service, most medals are not graded. The awards are presented to the recipient in one of several investiture ceremonies at Buckingham Palace throughout the year by the Sovereign or her designated representative.

The orders, medals and decorations are awarded by various honours committees which meet to discuss candidates identified by public or private bodies, by government departments or who are nominated by members of the public. Depending on their roles, those people selected by committee are submitted to Ministers for their approval before being sent to the Sovereign for final approval. As the "fount of honour" the monarch remains the final arbiter for awards. In the case of certain orders such as the Order of the Garter and the Royal Victorian Order they remain at the personal discretion of the Queen.The recipients of honours are displayed here as they were styled before their new honour, and arranged by honour, with classes (Knight, Knight Grand Cross, etc.) and then divisions (Military, Civil, etc.) as appropriate.

1954 New Year Honours

The New Year Honours 1954 were appointments in many of the Commonwealth realms of Queen Elizabeth II to various orders and honours to reward and highlight good works by citizens of those countries. They were announced on 1 January 1954 to celebrate the year passed and mark the beginning of 1954.The recipients of honours are displayed here as they were styled before their new honour, and arranged by honour, with classes (Knight, Knight Grand Cross, etc.) and then divisions (Military, Civil, etc.) as appropriate.

1957 New Year Honours

The New Year Honours 1957 were appointments in many of the Commonwealth realms of Queen Elizabeth II to various orders and honours to reward and highlight good works by citizens of those countries. They were announced in supplements to the London Gazette of 28 December 1956 to celebrate the year passed and mark the beginning of 1957.At this time honours for Australians were awarded both in the United Kingdom honours, on the advice of the premiers of Australian states, and also in a separate Australia honours list.The recipients of honours are displayed here as they were styled before their new honour, and arranged by honour, with classes (Knight, Knight Grand Cross, etc.) and then divisions (Military, Civil, etc.) as appropriate.

Captain (British Army and Royal Marines)

See Captain (armed forces) for other versions of this army and marines rank.Captain (Capt) is a junior officer rank of the British Army and Royal Marines and in both services it ranks above lieutenant and below major with a NATO ranking code of OF-2. The rank is equivalent to a lieutenant in the Royal Navy and to a flight lieutenant in the Royal Air Force. The rank of captain in the Royal Navy is considerably more senior (equivalent to the Army/RM rank of colonel) and the two ranks should not be confused.

In the 21st-century British Army, captains are often appointed to be second-in-command of a company or equivalent sized unit of up to 120 soldiers.

Comparative air force officer ranks of Africa

Rank comparison chart of air forces of African states.

Comparative air force officer ranks of the Commonwealth

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

Flight Lieutenant (film)

Flight Lieutenant is a 1942 film starring Pat O'Brien as Sam Doyle, a disgraced commercial pilot who works to regain the respect of his son (Glenn Ford) against the backdrop of World War II. Its advertising slogan was "roaring with thrills, throbbing with romance" with the love interest provided by Evelyn Keyes as Susie Thompson.

It was directed by Sidney Salkow, a Harvard Law School grad who had himself served in the Pacific and been shot down. A review in The New York Times considered that the film was a "dreary father-and-son tale" with much mawkish sentimentality.

Flight commander

A flight commander is the leader of a constituent portion of an aerial squadron in aerial operations, often into combat. That constituent portion is known as a flight, and usually contains six or fewer aircraft, with three or four being a common number. The tactical need for commonality in performance characteristics of aircraft usually insures that all aircraft under a flight commander's command and control in air operations are the same or very similar types.

Historically, the role of a flight commander in fighter aircraft has been that of principal attacker in air-to-air combat, with the other airplane or airplanes in a flight supporting and protecting him from counter-attack as a wingman or wingmen. This delineation of roles came into being very early in the history of aerial warfare, as Oswald Boelcke, Roderic Dallas, and Mick Mannock all derived the basic tactics of successful air-to-air combat from their flying experiences during World War I c. 1916.

The flight commander position has traditionally been held by a captain, naval lieutenant, or Commonwealth air force flight lieutenant, with the wingmen being both junior and subordinate to him. However, rank inflation has taken place in many air forces, and that rating may no longer hold true.

In the Royal Naval Air Service of World War I, flight commander was the appointment for a lieutenant commanding a flight with its own rank insignia.

Flight commander is also the title of the officer commanding a ground-based flight, a platoon-sized unit in the United States Air Force, the Royal Air Force and other Commonwealth air forces.

Flying officer

Flying officer (Fg Off in the RAF and IAF; FLGOFF in the RAAF; FGOFF in the RNZAF; formerly F/O in all services and still frequently in the RAF) is a junior commissioned rank in the Royal Air Force and the air forces of many countries which have historical British influence. It is also sometimes used as the English translation of an equivalent rank in countries which have a non-English air force-specific rank structure. In these cases a flying officer usually ranks above pilot officer and immediately below flight lieutenant.

It has a NATO ranking code of OF-1 and is equivalent to a lieutenant in the British Army or the Royal Marines. However, it is superior to the nearest equivalent rank of sub-lieutenant in the Royal Navy.The equivalent rank in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force was "section officer".

Lieutenant

A lieutenant (abbreviated Lt, LT, Lieut and similar) is a junior most commissioned officer in the armed forces, fire services, police and other organizations of many nations.

The meaning of lieutenant differs in different militaries (see comparative military ranks), but is often subdivided into senior (first lieutenant) and junior (second lieutenant and even third lieutenant) ranks. In navies it is often equivalent to the army rank of captain; it may also indicate a particular post rather than a rank. The rank is also used in fire services, emergency medical services, security services and police forces.

Lieutenant may also appear as part of a title used in various other organisations with a codified command structure. It often designates someone who is "second-in-command", and as such, may precede the name of the rank directly above it. For example, a "lieutenant master" is likely to be second-in-command to the "master" in an organisation using both ranks.

Political uses include lieutenant governor in various governments, and Quebec lieutenant in Canadian politics. In the United Kingdom, a lord lieutenant is the sovereign's representative in a county or lieutenancy area, while a deputy lieutenant is one of the lord lieutenant's deputies.

List of Royal Air Force personnel

This article lists those members of the Royal Air Force of the United Kingdom who have become either nationally or internationally famous. This could either be due to commanding squadrons or higher formations in memorable operations, by being awarded high honours or by gaining fame subsequent to their RAF service.

No. 489 Squadron RNZAF

489 (NZ) Squadron was formed from pilots of the Royal New Zealand Air Force on 12 August 1941 under RAF Coastal Command as an anti-submarine and reconnaissance unit.

RAF officer ranks

The officer ranks of the Royal Air Force, as they are today, were introduced in 1919. Prior to that Army ranks were used.

Navies Armies Air forces
Commissioned officers
Admiral of
the fleet
Field marshal or
General of the Army
Marshal of
the air force
Admiral General Air chief marshal
Vice admiral Lieutenant general Air marshal
Rear admiral Major general Air vice-marshal
Commodore Brigadier or
brigadier general
Air commodore
Captain Colonel Group captain
Commander Lieutenant colonel Wing commander
Lieutenant
commander
Major or
Commandant
Squadron leader
Lieutenant Captain Flight lieutenant
Lieutenant
junior grade
or
sub-lieutenant
Lieutenant or
first lieutenant
Flying officer
Ensign or
midshipman
Second lieutenant Pilot officer
Officer cadet Officer cadet Flight cadet
Enlisted grades
Warrant officer or
chief petty officer
Warrant officer or
sergeant major
Warrant officer
Petty officer Sergeant Sergeant
Leading seaman Corporal or
bombardier
Corporal
Seaman Private or
gunner or
trooper
Aircraftman or
airman
Talk·View
NATO rank code Student officer OF-1 OF-2 OF-3 OF-4 OF-5 OF-6
*
OF-7
**
OF-8
***
OF-9
****
OF-10
*****
Royal Navy O Cdt Mid SLt Lt Lt Cdr Cdr Capt Cdre RAdm
(list)
VAdm
(list)
Adm
(list)
Adm of the Fleet
Royal Marines O Cdt 2Lt Lt Capt Maj Lt Col Col Brig Maj-Gen Lt-Gen Gen
(list)
Capt-Gen
Army O Cdt 2Lt Lt Capt Maj Lt Col Col Brig Maj-Gen
(list)
Lt-Gen
(list)
Gen
(list)
Fd Mshl
Royal Air Force Off Cdt / SO APO / Plt Off Fg Off Flt Lt Sqn Ldr Wg Cdr Gp Capt Air Cdre AVM Air Mshl Air Chf Mshl
(list)
Mshl of the RAF

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