ATC/RAF Rank equivalency

A very quick question and I’m not sure if it’s been asked before but very simply -

Can a uniformed member of the ATC “pull rank” over a regular serving member of the RAF?

I would not recommend.


Only time I would think someone could is if it was for safeguarding.

Even VR Officers wouldn’t do it, and their scrolls stated that all subordinates are to obey the holder of the scroll.

Yes, theoretically.

No. Practically. (Unless of course the issue is one within our purview, like safeguarding or just looking after the cadets generally. Or the regular is a service helper.)

Pull rank - technically officers could, but I can’t imagine it happening.

Authority is a different matter. Any CFAV has authority over serving members of the armed forces were cadets themselves are concerned, regardless of rank.

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I remember a Sqn Ldr doing it camp and getting told in no uncertain terms to wind his neck in.

If you have the working relationship you don’t need to even go anywhere near the idea of “pulling rank”.

I know two people both Flt Lts who will stand there and say things like “I’m a Flt Lt and I’ve said do this or that” and both are ignored and laughed at. I don’t even introduce myself using rank, just my Christian name.

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I believe that the new Cadet Forces Commission suggests that a CFC officer is senior to regular and reserve forces of a subordinate rank but junior to regular and reserve force officers who are an equivalent rank.

Personally as ex-RAF, I wouldn’t hesitate to deal with any regular or reserve force members who were being inappropriate with cadets in my charge.

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Pull rank? No
Can a CFAV (and in that I include CI) have senior authority over a Regular? Yes

The obvious example being AT. A CFAV could be the qualified person Versus the unqualified Regular – it is the qualified persons call to carry on/continue should a situation arise.

In a more “everyday” environment as mentioned as a safeguarding element absolutely.

In the “rank structure” of the RAF the RAFAC comes at the bottom, but in the responsibility of the Cadets a CFAV will always be higher than a regular.

A RAF Cpl Chef will have a higher authority in the kitchen than a RAF Regt Sgt – it is the Cpls domain in much the same way a Sqn Ldr cannot “pull rank” at the guard room when discussing with the Duty Cpl.
Likewise when the Cadets are involved, it is the CFAVs domain so their views should be respected as the “expert” within that environment

From a personal point of view all the SIs I work with respect my rank and get on with it. They have not seen it derogatory to take instructions from me despite my “junior” position in the rank structure recognising the office I hold much more than the rank

I’m not referring to any situation which directly involves cadets - - it was purely a pathetic admin issue which could have got out of hand. I was never a cadet myself so will always bow to the experience of those who know more than I do.

Basically, a recent online conversation took place between myself (NCO RAF) and a commissioned RAFAC officer who made it clear that he was a Sqn Ldr… blah blah blah …“this is the final word” kind of conversation.

I just wondered what could happen if I disagreed it was the final word and what his options for disciplinary action were etc.

Ultimately it really depends what the discussion was about.

But in reality, no one worth anything would listen to that squadron leader and would promptly tell them to jog on in 90% of cases I would imagine.


First question, why would you want to?

A working relationship with the regular armed forces is a much better way to work than “pulling rank”. If it was a Cadet related issue than I wouldn’t be throwing rank around but dealing with the situation. I have a number of SIs on my Sqn and we work as equals, whoever is the expert on the subject takes the lead, even though I ‘out-rank’ them.

A lot of the Regulars think the RAFAC is a laughable organisation for this very reason, and I’ve seen a RAFAC Flt Lt demand an SAC salute them on an RAF Station. For what it’s worth, I’m married to a Regular SNCO and I regularly try to ‘pull-rank’ at home when it comes to washing up…I regularly get told to get stuffed!


But that’s were you’re going wrong… you’re confusing your rank with OC Domestic’s authority!!! :zipper_mouth_face:


Hahahah! They could try.

I have had a Cadet NCO try and gob off at me before and a Cadet Officer. Both were greeted with hearty laughter and shaking my head as I walked away.

Among the array of salty FOI’s on What Do They Know - there is this gem:

"Dear Mr Dixon,
Thank you for your email of 8 November requesting the following information:

‘I would like to know why members commissioned into the Royal Air Force
Volunteer Reserve (Training Branch) are not attested, but the Royal Air Force
Volunteer Reserve (UAS) are.
This is shown on RAF Form 1047’

I am treating your correspondence as a request for information under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 (FOIA).

A search for the information has now been completed within the Ministry of Defence,
and I can confirm that some information in scope of your request is held.

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR) University Air Squadron (UAS) recruits
are attested, as they are enlisted as servicemen and then immediately re-mustered
with the status of Officer Cadet (Air Publication 3392 Vol 7).

RAFVR (Training Branch) (RAFVR(T)) are not attested because, this would then
give them the disciplinary power and authority over RAF Regulars and RAF
Reserves. There has never been a requirement for a uniformed volunteer who
delivers youth activity to hold disciplinary powers over Regular and Reserve
personnel. Furthermore, RAFVR(T) are not liable for deployment, so are therefore
not required to swear an allegiance to Queen and Country.

If you have any queries regarding the content of this letter, please contact this office
in the first instance. "

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Interesting, thanks. I assume this remains extant with the move to RAFAC?

Can’t see that it would change.

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Probably a whole new debate but why are Air Cadet officers now styled RAFAC and not CFC, given that the commission is a Cadet Forces Commission and not a RAFAC commission. By that token should not all cadet forces officers have the same CFC “tag”, as they are now all under one roof so to speak.
Or hasn’t it worked out like that?

Surely officers would want to identify with the organisation that they joined, and give up their time? I can’t see why anyone would want to identify with the CFC given that is exists only for the purpose of the commission.