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[1] 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.[2]

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

A flying officer's sleeve/shoulder insignia


The term "flying officer" was originally used in the Royal Flying Corps as a flying appointment for junior officers, not a rank.

On 1 April 1918, the newly created RAF adopted its officer rank titles from the British Army, with Royal Naval Air Service sub-lieutenants (entitled flight sub-lieutenants) and Royal Flying Corps lieutenants becoming lieutenants in the RAF. However, with the creation of the RAF's own rank structure on 1 August 1919, RAF lieutenants were re-titled flying officers, a rank which has been in continuous use ever since.

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
Major or
Squadron leader
Lieutenant Captain Flight lieutenant
junior grade
Lieutenant or
first lieutenant
Flying officer
Ensign or
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
Seaman Private or
gunner or
Aircraftman or


The rank title does not imply that an officer in the rank of flying officer flies. Some flying officers are aircrew, but many are ground branch officers. Amongst the ground branches some flying officers have command of flights.

In the RAF, aircrew and engineer officers are commissioned directly into the rank of flying officer, while ground branches are commissioned as pilot officers for an initial period of six months. Time served in the rank of flying officer varies depending on branch before automatic promotion to flight lieutenant; aircrew and BEng qualified officers will serve for a period of 2½ years, MEng qualified engineers for 1½ years, and all other ground branches for 3½ years. A graduate entrant who has an MEng but is joining a ground branch other than engineer will serve 3½ years as a flying officer – the early promotion for MEng engineers is designed as a recruitment incentive. The starting salary for a flying officer is £30,616.80 per year.[3]

In many cases the rank of flying officer is the first rank an air force officer holds after successful completion of his professional training. A flying officer might serve as a pilot in training, an adjutant, a security officer or an administrative officer and is typically given charge of personnel and/or resources. By the time aviators have completed their training, they will have served their 2½ years and typically join their frontline squadrons as flight lieutenants.


The rank insignia consists of one narrow 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. The rank insignia on the mess uniform is similar to the naval pattern, being one band of gold running around each cuff but without the Royal Navy's loop.


An RAF flying officer's sleeve/shoulder insignia


An RAF flying officer's sleeve mess insignia

RAF-Fg Off-OF-1

An RAF flying officer's sleeve on No.1 best dress uniform

Other air forces

The rank of flying officer is also used in a number of the air forces in the Commonwealth, including the Bangladesh Air Force, Indian Air Force (IAF), Pakistan Air Force (PAF), Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF).

The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) used the rank until unification of the three armed services into the Canadian Forces in 1968 and army-type ranks were adopted. RCAF personnel holding this rank then switched to the rank of lieutenant. In official French Canadian usage, a flying officer's rank title was lieutenant d'aviation.[4] Although the RCAF again became a named organization in the Canadian Forces in 2011, the RCAF continued to retain army-type ranks.

The rank of "warrant flying officer" was also used by the air service of the Imperial Japanese military.

This rank is an equivalent for lieutenant in the Royal Malaysian Air Force

RAAF O2 rank

An RAAF flying officer's sleeve/shoulder insignia

Hellenic Air Force OF-1A

A Hellenic Air Force yposminagos (flying officer's) rank insignia

Flying Officer of IAF

An Indian Air Force flying officer's rank insignia

A RTAF flying officer's rank insignia

Flag of Pakistan Air Force

A PAF flying-officer rank insignia

See also


  1. ^ "Ranks and Badges of the Royal Air Force". Royal Air Force. 2011. Archived from the original on 9 July 2011. Retrieved 21 April 2011.
  2. ^ "Armed Forces Act 2001". Archived from the original on 9 January 2013.
  3. ^ "Rates of Pay, 2015" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 21 September 2015. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  4. ^
Air Force ranks and insignia of India

The Indian Air Force's rank structure is based on that of the Royal Air Force. The highest rank attainable in the Indian Air Force is Marshal of the Indian Air Force, conferred by the President of India after exceptional service during wartime. MIAF Arjan Singh was the only officer to have achieved this rank. The head of the Indian Air Force is the Chief of the Air Staff, who holds the rank of Air Chief Marshal. The current Chief of the Air Staff is Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa, appointed on 31 December 2016, following the retirement of Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha.

Air observer

An air observer or aerial observer is a military aircrew member whose duties are predominantly reconnaissance. The term originated in the First World War in the British Royal Flying Corps, and was maintained by its successor, the Royal Air Force. An air observer's brevet was a single wing with an O at the root. Although today sometimes a manned aircraft is still utilized for aerial observation, industry and the military use both satellites and remotely piloted vehicles (RPV) for this function.

The term is still used in some contexts now, such as police helicopter units.The first recorded RAF "kill" of the Second World War, on 20 September 1939, was by air observer Sergeant F Letchford, aboard a Fairey Battle, flown by Flying Officer LH Baker.Observers were also issued with weapons, and expected to engage with enemy aircraft in the early days of military aviation. Over time, the role changed and separate gunnery specialities emerged. By the Second World War the RAF commonly used the designation "air observer/navigator" in bomber crew.

Air observers were trained at the Air Observer Schools.

Battle of Sunchon (air)

The Battle of Sunchon was an air battle fought near the city of Sunchon, North Korea on 1 December 1951, during the Korean War. Up to 14 Gloster Meteor jets of the RAAF's No. 77 Squadron were attacked by at least 20 MiG-15s of the Soviet Union's 176th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment (176 GIAP). The MiGs carried Chinese air force markings, as the USSR was not officially a combatant in the Korean War. Its experience in the battle led to No. 77 Squadron's being redeployed to ground attack duties.

No. 77 Squadron was engaged in an offensive sweep, at 19,000 feet (5,800 metres) when the action commenced, at about 0900 hours. During the ensuing 10 minute action, air combat ranged across North Korean air space, at altitudes of 20,000 to 33,000 feet (6,100 to 10,000 metres). Pilots on both sides were veterans of World War II, with several years experience flying fighters. However, the Meteor was a World War II-era design that was outclassed by the new MiG-15.

Soviet pilots, according to the RAAF, destroyed three Meteors. A total of nine kill claims were made by Soviet pilots, including one by a future ace, Captain Sergei Kramarenko.Officially, no aircraft from 176 GIAP were lost on this occasion, according to Soviet records. Lieutenant Stepa Kirichenko reportedly lost control of his MiG, but recovered at an altitude of about 500 metres and returned to base. Flying Officer Bruce Gogerly claimed hits on two MiGs and RAAF records claimed one MiG destroyed and one damaged or "probable".

Two Australian pilots, Flying Officer Bruce Thompson and Pilot Officer Vance Drummond managed to eject and landed in North Korea where they became prisoners of war, while Pilot Officer E. D. (Don) Armit was reported missing in action, presumed killed.This encounter, along with previous actions between the Meteors and MiGs, highlighted the inferiority of the Meteor in aerial combat against the newer Soviet aircraft and No. 77 Squadron was subsequently reassigned to ground attack. It was also the only engagement during the course of the war in which Australia and the Soviet Union directly clashed in battle.

Comparative air force officer ranks of Africa

Rank comparison chart of air forces of African states.

Comparative air force officer ranks of Asia

Rank comparison chart of air forces of Asian states.

Comparative air force officer ranks of Oceania

Rank comparison chart of air forces of Oceanian states.

Comparative air force officer ranks of the Commonwealth

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

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 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.

H. E. Bates

Herbert Ernest Bates (16 May 1905 – 29 January 1974), better known as H. E. Bates, was an English writer and author. His best-known works include Love for Lydia, The Darling Buds of May, and My Uncle Silas.

Lieutenant (British Army and Royal Marines)

Lieutenant (UK: ; Lt) is a junior officer rank in the British Army and Royal Marines. It ranks above second lieutenant and below captain and has a NATO ranking code of OF-1 and it is the senior subaltern rank. Unlike some armed forces which use first lieutenant, the British rank is simply lieutenant, with no ordinal attached. The rank is equivalent to that of a flying officer in the Royal Air Force (RAF). Although formerly considered senior to a Royal Navy (RN) sub-lieutenant, the British Army and Royal Navy ranks of lieutenant and sub-lieutenant are now considered to be of equivalent status. The Army rank of lieutenant has always been junior to the Navy's rank of lieutenant.

In the 21st-century British Army, the rank is ordinarily held for up to three years. A typical appointment for a lieutenant might be the command of a platoon or troop of approximately thirty soldiers.Before 1871, when the whole British Army switched to using the current rank of "lieutenant", the Royal Artillery, Royal Engineers and Fusilier regiments used "first lieutenant" and "second lieutenant".


Milstead is a village in the borough of Swale in Kent, England. It is surrounded by the villages of Frinsted, Wichling, Doddington and Lynsted in Kent, England. It is the southernmost parish in the Sittingbourne area, it is approximately 3 miles (4.8 km) from Sittingbourne town centre. Just past the M2 motorway.

According to Edward Hasted in 1798, the parish is but small, containing about 800 acres (320 ha) of land, of which about 50 acres (20 ha) acres are woodland. He also refers to it as 'Milsted'.

The parish was under the dominion of the Manor of Milton Regis in the reign of Edward I.In 1870-72, according to John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales, the parish comprised 1,216 acres (492 ha). Its population was 245 and it had 43 houses.Within the village is the Grade II listed Church of St Mary and the Holy Cross, within the diocese of Canterbury, and deanery of Sittingborne.It also contains around 80 houses and cottages of which nine are listed buildings. Including 'Milstead Manor',On 27 September 1940 at 12.25pm, during the Battle of Britain, a Hawker Hurricane, from 242 Squadron RAF, piloted by Flying Officer Michael Homer, crashed into a thatch cottage in the village. The aircraft had been badly damaged by a Messerschmitt Bf 109. Flying Officer Homer flew with 242 Squadron based at RAF Duxford, commanded by Douglas Bader. His body was taken from the wreck and buried in Godlingston Cemetery, Swanage, Dorset. His family planted a tree and mounted a plaque in his memory at the crash site. A memorial near Simel House, Minching Wood, which was unveiled in November 2007, is included as part of annual Remembrance Day services in the village.The village has a reasonably large village hall which holds many clubs such as woodturning, yoga and even a monthly market.

The village also has a village pub (the Red Lion) and also a village school 'Milstead and Frinsted Church of England Primary School'.

Once the village had a small post office but has been a house for many years now.

Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon

Flying Officer Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon, PVC (17 July 1943 – 14 December 1971) was an officer of the Indian Air Force. He was posthumously awarded the Param Vir Chakra, India's highest military decoration, in recognition of his lone defence of Srinagar Air Base against a PAF air raid during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. He is the only member of the Indian Air Force to be so honoured.

No. 233 Squadron RAF

No. 233 Squadron RAF was a Royal Air Force squadron that operated from 1918–1919, 1937–1945, 1952–1957 and 1960–1964. The squadron was formed from several Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) flights and took part in the tail end of World War I before being disbanded. The squadron was reformed with the advent of World War II. At first No. 233 Squadron flew general reconnaissance patrols before being tasked with transportation duties just prior to D-Day. Shortly after World War II the squadron was again disbanded, to be reformed once more in 1960. No. 233 Squadron was finally disbanded in 1964.

No. 466 Squadron RAAF

No. 466 Squadron RAAF was a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) bomber squadron during World War II. Formed in the United Kingdom in late 1942, the squadron undertook combat operations in Europe until the end of the war, flying heavy bomber aircraft. Following the conclusion of hostilities with Germany, the squadron began retraining to undertake operations in the Pacific against the Japanese, but the war came to an end before it left the UK. In late 1945, the squadron was disbanded.

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.

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".

Pink's War

Pink's War was an air-to-ground bombardment and strafing campaign carried out by the Royal Air Force, under the command of Wing Commander Richard Pink, against the mountain strongholds of Mahsud tribesmen in South Waziristan in March and April 1925. It was the first independent action by the RAF, and remains the only campaign named after an RAF officer.

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.


Sub-lieutenant is a junior military officer rank.

In many navies, a sub-lieutenant is a naval commissioned or subordinate officer, ranking below a lieutenant. In the Royal Navy (RN) the rank of sub-lieutenant is equivalent to the rank of lieutenant in the British Army and of flying officer in the Royal Air Force (RAF).

In some armies, sub-lieutenant is the lowest officer rank. However, in Brazil, it is the highest non-commissioned rank, and in Spain, it is the second highest non-commissioned rank.

The NATO rank code for the British Royal Navy rank is OF-1 (senior).

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