ACO wings/brevet for PPL Cadet- yes/no?

Apologies, I thought this was mentioned on the forum quite recently, but I’ve searched and can’t find it (blame work wearout and senior moment).

Suppose a Cadet independantly achieves full PPL (VMC), is there any formal entitlement to the wearing of an ACO flying brevet / wings? If so, what type, and is there an ACAI/ACTO reference?

I did think such an arrangement was sanctioned, but perhaps I’m wrong.

Much obliged if you can give me some gen on this soonest.


I don’t think there is Wilf, but I stand ready to be corrected. I tried to get gliding wings for cadets who had undertaken a BGA course with a civilian club and was told no. Apparently, the rules are the same for cadet wings as RAF (and Navy/Army) ones, ie you must have undertaken a prescribed military course to be awarded military wings.

Happy to help…

is there any such ruling for Staff?

as a holder of a privately funded PPL this paragraph is interesting to me as i believed, as cygnus maximus has indicated, military wings are only eligible from military courses…

edit: yes i checked ACTO34 but that is specific to Cadets

Nothing equivalent for staff - civvy qualifications to not grant rights to wear a military brevet.

Happy to help…

Thanks Incubus.

Being lazy now, but what is the date of the ACTO? I enquired about 5 years ago with the flying staff at HQAC and was told no for gliding wings.

It is still no for gliding wings as far as I know.
ACTO34 on sharepoint is at ver 1.03 and was uploaded on 01 Oct 13

Wilf, yes cadets with a PPL qualify for ACPS wings as per the ACTO.

Who said no, and had they soloed ? Until recently I thought this was the case, but our Regional Gliding Officer has now authorised Silver Wings for cadets who have soloed at a civvy club. Just needed a copy of their log book, signed by a BGA Instructor. The BGA syllabus is more in depth than a GS, only fair IMOH. No dice for non solo Blue Wings though.


MB - they had done BGA A&B, so 3 solos.

And it was the Air Staff at HQAC who said no.

This is intresting as I have a Cadet that passed his Heli PPL he tried to wear his rank tab type things on his blues which I told him to get off but if he can have a set of wings I am sure he would be pleased with that

This has now changed and ACPS wings can be awarded for solo flight (with written confirmation from the school) not full PPL. I had this recently with a cadet and HQAC approved it.

Annex C to ACTO 34 refers. I see that para 10 disagrees with Annex C…

Good :slight_smile:

Thanks all, much obliged. As luck would have it, the CoC has just also formally come up with corresponding information.

The point above regarding PPL(H) is an interesting one, since the certified solo letter-of-capability being viewed as ACPS-equivalent is clearly expecting fixed-wing pilots to be coming along . So, is this indirect brevet entitlement >irrespective< of the airframe type externally qualified on?

We’ll have at least one independant helicopter pilot within the next 18months-2years, so for me it’s not a theoretical question.

However, what is an abstract situation would be for a PPL(M). Would they be viewed as making the brevet equivalency grade? Or might that not pass the bar, if (say) the training were undertaken onboard a three-axis fabric dart, versus a ‘conventional’ super-light MTOW aircraft??


ps is there a PPL(Balloon)? Surely there must be…

We used to issue brevet for the microlight course, ACPS style with a ‘M’ in the centre.


In the past I’d have been in the “military badge for military sanctioned flying training” camp, and be a nay-sayer!

These days there is precedent within the RAF itself, as all you need is an ATPL and a job with AirTanker, and you get a free RAF pilot brevet as a sponsored reservist with no military experience or military training! :S :slight_smile:

[quote=“chaz” post=12766]In the past I’d have been in the “military badge for military sanctioned flying training” camp, and be a nay-sayer!

These days there is precedent within the RAF itself, as all you need is an ATPL and a job with AirTanker, and you get a free RAF pilot brevet as a sponsored reservist with no military experience or military training! :S :)[/quote]

This sounds unlikely. Even if I insert the word ‘flying’ after your use twice above of the word ‘‘military’’ (that is, the baseline requirement for SRs to still be required to tick all the boxes for personal capabilities in the active reserves: selection, RAFFT, ROIT, CCS etc), how could they just be issuing full military brevets to civilian-trained pilots that haven’t been through the MFTS?

Do you think they’d let DE ATPLs fly eg formation IFR tracks without full military training and experience?

My bet’s on Voyager having multiple flight-deck crew-types, to match the role being flown at the time. Comment?

Anyway, MB, tell me more re these unseen (by me) microlight wings. Past tense- why so?


I might be wrong but I’m sure there used to be separate badges - Flying Scholarship with ‘FS’ in the centre for the AEF/Light a/c Courses and ‘M’ in the centre for the 10hr Microlight Course. The Microlight Course (if still running) now comes under the banner of ACPS and results in the award of the standard ‘P’ badge.

No idea when the change happened, perhaps it was when FS & ACPNTS went from central selection at Cranwell to a Wing/Region allocation.


Thanks for that- since you’ve clearly got quite a bit of knowledge regarding the recent past of ACO powered flying brevet, a couple of questions-

Do you (or anyone else on the forum) know why they are so different in design from glider pilot wings? Is the reason they (GPWs) look so traditional in shape because they are awarded for tested instuctor capabilities beyond solo, not just for course-and-solo re ACPS etc?

Have ACO powered flying wings always had that odd ‘squared backing’? Are there any previous designs/brevet patterns? I’m guessing not, and also that it might be a fairly-recent arrangement.


No problem wilf,

My guess would be that they [Glider Pilot Wings] look they way they do because it is a formal Pilot In Command qualification as opposed to a course badge, allowing carriage of pax and solo sans check flight.

As for previous versions of the ATC FS badge, see the attached which date from 1951-1968




It may indeed sound unlikely, but it happened. They aren’t necessarily doing AAR (in fact, I think the wings were awarded before the RAF began AAR “proper”, as it were, with Voyager. They were all A330 type rated before joining the company and pure ex-airline pilots.

Here are the chaps. The news archive at Air Tanker doesn’t appear to go far back enough for the story:

Google - Air Tanker Pilot Wings: the first and third photos show the “awarding”.

My personal opinion is that they should have been awarded the “wings” worn by contractor flying instructors, such as those instructing at Barkston Heath and Cranwell - essentially MoD Wings, as opposed to have been earned within a particular service. :slight_smile: