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The title Flight Officer is a military rank previously used by the United States and Commonwealth Nations. The term is also used to describe job title positions as aircrew members.

Aircrew function

A flight officer is a member of the crew of an aircraft, who is responsible for specific functions. The flight officer may function as the navigator, responsible for planning the journey, advising the pilot while en route, and ensuring that hazards or obstacles are avoided. The flight officer may also be responsible for operating aircraft mission/weapon systems, including mission planning, mission timing, threat reactions, aircraft communications, and hazard avoidance. In the United States Navy and Marine Corps, aircrew members responsible for operating airborne weapon and sensor systems are called Naval Flight Officers (NFO). Flight officer is also a job title for police officers who serve as pilots in law enforcement aviation units.

Military rank

United States Army

U.S.
Army Air Force Flight Officer Rank Insignia as used during World War II.


Flight Officer was a United States Army Air Forces rank used by the Army Air Forces during World War II, from 1942 to 1945. The rank is equivalent to Warrant Officer Junior Grade which is today's Warrant Officer (NATO grade: W-1). Enlisted and aviation cadet trainees who successfully passed air qualification training were appointed as Flight Officers and served as rated pilot, navigators, flight engineers, bombardier and glider pilots. At the end of WWII, the Army Air Forces discontinued the use of the rank of Flight Officer. All of the service's Flight Officers had either been promoted to commissioned officer ranks during the course of the war or discharged.

Civil Air Patrol

The rank of Flight Officer was re-instituted by the United States Air Force's civilian auxiliary, the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), in the mid-1980s, replacing the former ranks of Warrant Officer and Chief Warrant Officer, which had been discontinued in the 1970s by the Air Force. CAP senior members between the ages of 18 and 21 are eligible for promotion to the ranks of Flight Officer, Technical Flight Officer and Senior Flight Officer. Requirements for promotion to each grade is generally the same as for promotion to CAP Second Lieutenant, First Lieutenant, and Captain, respectively.

Commonwealth nations

Flight Officer was established as a rank equivalent to Flight Lieutenant in the women's air services of several Commonwealth nations. The rank was used by the Britishmarker Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) and its successor, the Women's Royal Air Force (WRAF), and by the Princess Mary's Royal Air Force Nursing Service (PMRAFNS), which remained in service until 1980. It was also previously used in the Women's Royal Australian Air Force, which was absorbed into the Royal Australian Air Force in 1977.

See also




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