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Stephen's RAF career gets off to flying start.

ASK a handful of youngsters what they want to be when they grow up and chances are one will chirp, "a pilot".

Stephen Realf, aged 19, followed his flying dreams into adulthood and has just completed a 32-week Initial Officer Training (IOT) course at RAF Cranwell.

Stephen took his first steps towards becoming a pilot at the Armed Forces Careers Office (AFCO) in Hertford Street, Coventry city centre.

He said: "I applied to join the RAF aged 17, and went through a long, tough selection process.

"After this I had to attend a filter interview at the AFCO to determine whether I was suitable for service in the RAF. Some of the qualities the RAF look for are integrity, commitment, teamwork and punctuality.

"The next stage was four days of selection tests at the Officer and Aircrew Selection Centre (OASC) at RAF Cranwell. These involved six hours of aptitude tests, looking at hand/eye/foot co-ordination, mental agility, spatial awareness, memory and multi-tasking."

In addition to this there are physical fitness tests, medicals and leadership challenges.

Successful candidates are asked back to OASC for a more in-depth medical.

Providing they have all the necessary qualities and pass the rigorous medical and fitness tests, candidates are then offered a place in the RAF and begin Initial Officer Training.

IOT teaches the academic side of things, weapons handling, first aid, navigation and leadership.

"After graduating from RAF Cranwell on May 31, I spent three months at the Officer and Aircrew Cadet Training Unit (OACTU) waiting to start flying training," said Stephen.

"I've really enjoyed my time since joining the RAF.

"It is always easy to find something fun and challenging to do, which gives opportunity for constant personal development."

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RELISHING THE CHALLENGE... Stephen Realf.
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Aug 23, 2007
Words:294
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