You are on page 1of 4

Aircrew brevet

For the American equivalent, see aircrew badge.

For other uses, see Brevet.
An aircrew brevet (ocially known as an aircrew
badge) is the badge worn on the left breast, above any
medal ribbons, by qualied aircrew in the Royal Air
Force, British Army, Indian Air Force, Pakistan Air
Force, Royal Canadian Air Force, Australian Army,
Royal Australian Air Force, Royal New Zealand Air
Force, South African Air Force and Sri Lanka Air Force.


United Kingdom
Royal Air Force
An obselete bomb aimer's brevet; however, current brevets are in
the same style with dierent letters denoting speciality

gle wing. Other aircrew wear a letter or letters (denoting speciality) in a wreath, with a single wing. The only
other brevets currently worn are E (air engineer), AT
(airborne technician), IA (imagery analyst) and FC
(ghter controller). Parachute Jumping Instructors (PJIs)
wear an open parachute instead of a letter. AS (air steward) was replaced with a brevet with CC (cabin crew);
this brevet is unusual for aircrew as it is worn on the right
sleeve in the same location as parachute qualication, has
two up turned wings (similar to Royal Navy ratings aircrewman badges) and has cream stitching for the wings,
lettering and laurels (other brevets have bronze or blue

Royal Air Force pilot brevet

In the RAF, aircrew 'wings are awarded upon the completion of a signicant stage of ying training. Aircrew
rst undertake Elementary Flying Training, and are then
streamed to either fast jet, helicopter or multi-engine
pipelines. The award of wings usually occurs upon completion of the secondary phase of training; for example,
in the fast jet stream, wings are awarded upon completion of the Basic Fast Jet Course (BJFT), currently at
RAF Linton-on-Ouse; for helicopter pilots, wings are
awarded after they complete helicopter training at RAF
Shawbury pre-OCU, and for multi-engine aircrew, wings
are awarded upon completion of their Multi-Engine Advanced Flying Training (MEAFT) training at RAF Cranwell. Aircrew therefore are posted to their Operational
Conversion Units having gained their wings, but they still
have a good deal of training and type familiarisation to
complete before they are considered operational or frontline aircrew.

Previous brevets
Brevets prior to 2003 (when roles became represented by
the single WSO brevet) include N (navigator), LM
(air loadmaster), AE (air electronics operator), B
(bomb aimer), AG (air gunner), AS (air steward) (replaced by Cabin Crew), M (meteorological observer),
QM (air quartermaster), S (air signaller), and RO
(radio observer). Observers wore a single wing attached
directly to the letter O. Some of these now obsolete
brevets can still be worn (LM, E, S, AS and AE) by
serving aircrew however, provided it was the brevet with
which they were initially awarded, with the exception of
the Observers brevet which was replaced by the Navigators brevet in 1942. AG and B have also been obsolete

Pilots wear the letters RAF in a brown wreath, surmounted by a crown, with a swift's wing on each
side. UAV pilots have similar wings except with a light
blue wreath. From April 2003, weapons systems ocers/operators are awarded a similar brevet with a sin1


for several decades, where as M and QM were phased out and a subsequent Army course at Middle Wallop Airin the 1970s or 1980s.
eld. Aircrew are then dispatched to their OCU to receive
type training on either the Apache attack helicopter or the
Wildcat battleeld support helicopter. A small number of
1.2 Royal Navy
Army aircrew are streamed xed wing to y the Armys
Islander/Defender reconnaissance aircraft, or to become
instructors at the Defence Elementary Flying School on
the Tutor training aircraft.
The Army is unique in the British military in that both
Ocers and Non-Commissioned Ocers can become
aircrew and aircraft commanders. The wings are identical for both Ocers and Other Ranks, and are worn on
the left chest above any medals, similar to the RAF.

British Fleet Air Arm aircrew brevet

The Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm has its own wings design, featuring albatross wings instead of the wings of a
swift, as per the RAF design. The Fleet Air Arm wings
badges feature albatross wings, a crown and anchor, reecting the naval aspect of the ying undertaken. They
are worn on the sleeve of naval aviators, above the rank
rings as opposed to on the left breast of RAF uniforms.
Unlike the RAF and the Army Air Corps, Naval aircrew
are awarded their wings after OCU, whereupon they are
posted to a frontline squadron, the majority of their ying training complete. Therefore, while a Navy and RAF
aircrew might take a similar amount of time to reach an
operational squadron, the Naval ocer has to wait until
he has completed his conversion training to receive his

It should be noted that in all the services, award of wings

does not confer any operational capability - this is declared by an front-line squadron once the student has
reached satisfactory standard to allow them to be deployed operationally. This milestone, or'Combat Ready
Status, is the threshold necessary for the award of Flying
Pay, a discretionary additional salary bonus for aircrew
due to the nature of their work.

2 Australia

Naval Observers are awarded their own aircrew brevet,

consisting of shorter wings either side of a fouled anchor
surmounted by a Crown, upon completion of their Observer training at 750 NAS at RNAS Culdrose. Naval
Aircrewmen are awarded a brevet similar in shape to the
'Cabin Crew' brevet of the RAF, with upturned wings and
a similar Anchor & Crown design to Observers. These
badges are also worn on the sleeve of the Number 1 dress Royal Australian Air Force loadmaster brevet
uniform jacket, above any rank insignia.
Royal Australian Air Force brevets dier from those in
the RAF mainly in having a crown on all brevets (not just
1.3 British Army
on pilots wings) and in normally having blue wreaths.
The pilots brevet has the letters RAAF. A similar
twin-wing brevet, bearing the Southern Cross, was introduced for ocer aircrew in 1998, replacing various
single-wing brevets previously worn by commissioned ofcers;[1] however NCO aircrew continue to wear the old
single-wing brevets.
Most RAAF pilots signed a petition in 1998/1999 in
protest of non-pilot ocer aircrew receiving a double
wing. For the most part this was supported by serving
navigators and war veterans who had previously held the
Army Air Corps Pilot brevet
soon to be abolished 'half' wing. The petition ultimately
The Army Air Corps pilot wings are awarded upon com- had over 10,000 signatures, but in the end the petition was
pletion of the basic helicopter course at RAF Shawbury unsuccessful.[2]

Australian Army brevets

New Zealand

New Zealand uses similar insignia to the United Kingdom, except the pilots wings bear the letters NZ instead
of RAF and the single wing of other aircrew still have
the letters of the trade they represent. Currently these
are air warfare ocer and specialist (AW), air engineer
(E), air loadmaster (LM), helicopter loadmaster (HL),
ight steward (FS), air ordnanceman (AO), and parachute
jump instructor (a parachute). Air electronics operator
(AE) and Helicopter crewman (HC) is obsolete.

See also
Aircrew badge
Parachutist badge


[1] Brevets signal start. Air Force News 48 (14). 10 August

2006. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
[2] ID Badges Used in War History. 2015.
Retrieved 7 December 2015.

External links
Barrass, M. B. (2015). RAF Flying Badges Current. Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation.
Barrass, M. B. (2015). RAF Flying Badges Obsolete. Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation.
RFC Pilot Brevets in World War Two. World of
Military Wings. 2004.


Text and image sources, contributors, and licenses



Aircrew brevet Source: Contributors: SimonP, Trackratte, Necrothesp,

Trevor MacInnis, Longhair, Milesli, Daranz, SmackBot, Commander Keane bot, Greenshed, Haus, Dawkeye, Nick Number, Rettetast, Archolman, Tntdj, C17 Sheeny, AKucia, Hugo999, Ask123,, Nitraven, Sassf, Cretehawser, Foofbun, Whoosis, Arjayay,
Shem1805, RP459, Addbot, AnomieBOT, LilHelpa, Vanished user ioJWQik23jfkjsndf, Acsian88, EmausBot, JMvanDijk, Gipsymagpie,
MrBill3, Khazar2, Mownberry, Waterwings91 and Anonymous: 21



File:Army_Air_Corps_brevet.jpg Source: License: Public domain Contributors: Own work Original artist: Greenshed
File:Army_badges.jpg Source: License: Cc-by-sa-3.0 Contributors:
Own work
Original artist: (talk) (Uploads)
File:B_half_wing.jpg Source: License: CC BY-SA 4.0 Contributors: Own work Original artist: Researcher1944
File:Brevet1.jpg Source: License: Public domain Contributors: Own
work Original artist:
File:FleetAirArm_wings.jpg Source: License: Fair use Contributors: internet Original artist: ?
File:Question_book-new.svg Source: License: Cc-by-sa-3.0
Created from scratch in Adobe Illustrator. Based on Image:Question book.png created by User:Equazcion Original artist:
File:RAF_pilot_brevet_(Queen{}s_Crown).jpg Source:
%28Queen%27s_Crown%29.jpg License: Public domain Contributors: Own work Original artist: Greenshed


Content license

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0