Position in Society
While in the Royal Navy officers were generally drawn from the upper classes, service in the Aerial Corps was considered less prestigious, and most of the Corps was drawn from the ranks of the shabby-genteel. For example, John Granby was the third son of a coal-merchant. After his father's decease, his family could no longer afford to keep him at home.
The difference in how society viewed the Corps in contrast to Navy arose in part from the constraints of the service in the Corps. In the Navy, an officer could rely on long furlongs between periods of service, whilst awaiting assignment or a while a ship underwent repairs. In the Corps, particularly after achieving a captaincy, the officers were much more tightly bonded to their assigned dragons and extended time away from them became a practical impossibility. Combined with the young ages at which the Corps began its training, often around seven years old, this led to officers of the Corps being slightly removed from society.
Moreover, the secrecy surrounding certain aspects of the service, the presence of female officers, and the idea that men were commanded under some circumstances by dragons rather than vice versa, as in the case of Training Master Celeritas, meant the separation from society was imposed from both sides.
Despite the sigma attached to service by society as a whole certain families traditionally sent children to serve in the Corps as a matter of course. The Ferris' of Haytham Abbey, headed by Lord Seymour, traditionally sent their third sons to serve in the Corps. The Rankin family used to maintain their own dragons before the Corps was brought under the jurisdiction of the Crown and still maintain a small covert in addition to providing the Corps with officers.
As dragons can be expected to outlive their captain, the Corps has to place serious effort into ensuring they are willing to continue service with the Corps following such a death. To this end it has been stated that the Corps breeds its captains, as much as its dragons. A bereaved dragon, being more likely to accept a new captain that through a familial relationship shares their sense of loss. In addition, as certain breeds of dragon will only accept female captains, the question of providing stable officer lines becomes even more important.