New Technical Branch for the Royal Air Force


    OFFICIAL confirmation was given recently of a decision to form a separate technical specialist branch of the Royal Air Force. It has become increasingly obvious that, owing to the technical complexity of the problems relating to service aircraft and their equipment, it is necessary to allocate personnel to engineering and technical duties, allowing them to devote their whole time to such work and arranging various courses of training for them. Up to the present, the policy of the Royal Air Force has always been that all officers must enter the “General Duties Branch”, and devote their time to a complete training in flying for, at least, many years of their time as junior officers. Later they can express a wish to take up specialization in technical work, but they are still required to maintain proficiency in flying. Thus the process of becoming a technical specialist is a slow one, and in a service in which the retiring age is, possibly necessarily, set fairly early, as flying is primarily a young man's job, the officer choosing theso branches always finds himself at a disadvantage, either for promotion within the service, or in respect of his ability to obtain employment in the technical side of aviation upon retirement. Also the break in continuity of training and accumulation of experience is usually considered to be unwise, and many young engineers, both from the universities and works apprenticeships, have, undoubtedly been deterred from entering the Royal Air Forco by this reason.

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    New Technical Branch for the Royal Air Force. Nature 144, 276–277 (1939).

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