Flight (military unit)

Flight (military unit)

A flight is a military unit in an air force, naval air service, or army air corps. It usually comprises three to six aircraft, with their aircrews and ground staff; or, in the case of a non-flying ground flight, no aircraft and a roughly equivalent number of support personnel.

Commonwealth usage

Aircraft flights

In the United Kingdom Royal Air Force and the air forces of the Commonwealth, from where much air force terminology emanated, an aircraft flight, in the first decades of air forces, was commanded by a Flight Lieutenant, a rank equivalent to Captain in other air forces and armies, or a naval Lieutenant. More recently, however, it has become common for a flight to be led by a Squadron Leader — a formal rank not to be confused with a squadron commander — the equivalent of a Major or (naval) Lieutenant Commander in other services.

A flight is usually divided into two Sections, each containing two to three aircraft, which share ground staff with the other section, and are usually commanded by a Flight Lieutenant.

The British Army Air Corps and other army air corps also have flights.

Ground flights

An air force ground flight is roughly equivalent to an army platoon and may be commanded by a Flight Lieutenant, Flying Officer, Pilot Officer or Warrant Officer. (The names of ranks are still used, even though a ground flight contains no aircrew.)

American usage

The United States Air Force has two types of flights. A numbered flight is a unit with a unique base-, wing- or numbered Air Force-wide mission, such as training or finance, not large enough to warrant designation as a squadron. Numbered flights are quite rare and are usually only found in Basic Training. An alphabetic flight is an operational component of a flying or ground squadron, not a unit; alphabetic flights within a squadron normally have identical or similar functions and are normally designated A, B, C, D and so on within the squadron. Flights in the USAF are generally authorized between 20 and 100 members, are normally led by a company-grade officer (Lieutenant or Captain) and/or a Flight Chief, usually a senior noncommissioned officer in the rank of Master Sergeant.

External links

* [http://www.awm.gov.au/atwar/structure/raaf_structure.htm Australian War Memorial, 2005, "RAAF: Structure" ]

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