Flying Officer

Flying Officer

Flying Officer (Fg Off in the RAF; FLGOFF in the RAAF; FGOFF in the RNZAF; F/O in the former RCAF and frequently in the RAF) is a junior commissioned rank in the Royal Air Force [cite web |url= |title=Ranks and Badges of the Royal Air Force |accessdate= 2007-12-01 |year=2007 |publisher=Royal Air Force] 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 or the Royal Marines. However, it is considered superior to the nearest equivalent rank of Sub-Lieutenant in the Royal Navy.

The equivalent rank in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) was Section Officer.


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 Sub-Lieutenants (titled Flight Sub-Lieutenants) and 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 as Flying Officers, a rank which has been in continuous use ever since.


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 squadron pilot, an adjutant, a security officer or an administrative officer and is typically given charge of personnel and/or resources.

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.


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.

Other air forces

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 (PAF), Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF).

The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) used the rank until unification of the three armed services into the 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 de aviation".

The rank of Warrant Flying Officer was also used by the air service of the Imperial Japanese military.

ee also

* RAF officer ranks
* Comparative military ranks


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