The Info List - Flying Officer

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
British Army
or the Royal Marines. However, it is superior to the nearest equivalent rank of sub-lieutenant in the Royal Navy.[2][not in citation given] The equivalent rank in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force
Women's Auxiliary Air Force
was "section officer".


1 Origins 2 Usage 3 Insignia 4 Other air forces 5 See also 6 References

Origins[edit] 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
Royal Naval Air Service
sub-lieutenants (entitled flight sub-lieutenants) and Royal Flying Corps
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.

Common military ranks in English

Navies Armies Air forces

Commissioned officers

of the fleet Field marshal
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
Warrant officer
or chief petty officer Warrant 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


Usage[edit] The rank title does not imply that an officer in the rank of flying officer flies an aircraft. 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. Insignia[edit] 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

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

Other air forces[edit] 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
Pakistan Air Force
(PAF), Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and Royal New Zealand Air Force
Royal New Zealand Air Force
(RNZAF). The Royal Canadian Air Force
Royal Canadian Air Force
(RCAF) used the rank until unification of the three armed services into the Canadian Forces
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
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

flying officer's sleeve/shoulder insignia

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

An Indian Air Force
Indian Air Force
flying officer's rank insignia

A RTAF flying officer's rank insignia

A PAF flying-officer rank insignia

See also[edit]

RAF officer ranks Comparative military ranks


^ "Ranks and Badges of the Royal Air Force". Royal Air Force. 2011. Retrieved 2011-04-21.  ^ "Armed Forces Act 2001". www.legislation.gov.uk.  ^ "Rates of Pay, 2015" (PDF). raf.mod.uk. Retrieved 1 April 2016.  ^ http://www.castlearchdale.net/id37.html

v t e

Commissioned officer ranks of the British Armed Forces

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) Msh