AIR FORCE OFFICER / FULL TIME

Pilot


Many young people dream of flying for a living, and for very good reason. That dream job may be more attainable than you think, and far more rewarding when you choose the Air Force over commercial options.

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Job Overview


About the Job

Upgrade your flying ambition right now and within just a few years, you could be taking control of one of the fastest and most manoeuvrable aircraft in the skies. Or transporting troops and supplies to a disaster zone in a high-capacity heavy transport aircraft. Or carrying out a covert surveillance mission in an aircraft armed with state-of-the-art radar and sensor systems.

In the Air Force you'll enjoy an exceptionally exciting and highly responsible job, a very competitive salary package, and a lifestyle like nothing else. Plus, you'll experience a wide variety of aircraft and benefit from continual investment in your personal and professional development.

If you're young, female, and already studying a Bachelor of Aviation Degree, you can apply for the Air Force Graduate Pilot Scheme (GPS). If accepted you may get:

  • All your university degree fees paid for
  • A salary while you complete your flying hours
  • Your practical flying hours paid for, and
  • As little as three years service obligation after receiving your wings.

The specific details offered under this scheme will be outlined in your Letter of Offer.

Australian Defence Force Academy

Complete a university degree at ADFA whilst undertaking military and leadership training

Graduate Pilot Scheme - Female

If you're a young woman who has successfully completed the first year of a Bachelor of Aviation Degree you can apply for our Graduate Pilot Scheme (GPS).

Officer

Join the ADF with Year 12 passes and appropriate qualifications

Learn more about Entry Methods


Salary can be over $71,900 p.a. on completion of initial employment training. This salary includes Uniform and Service allowance.


FULL JOB DETAILS

Key Information

Salary & Allowances

While studying at ADFA you will receive:

Year 1: $39,891 per year

Year 2 $45,346 per year

Year 3: $50,801 per year

Year 4: $56,256 per year

These figures include a Training Allowance but do not include the generous superannuation given to members of the ADF. Trainees with dependants may be entitled to a minimum salary of $43,766 per year

During Military Training and (Initial) Employment Training, you may be required to pay a contribution towards meals, accommodation and utilities.

$68,154 per year plus superannuation will be your starting salary package on graduation from ADFA. This includes Service and Uniform Allowances.

Salaries increase with rank, years of service and additional skills and qualifications gained. See Salary Scales for more details.

Locations

Once you have completed flying training, you'll be posted to an Air Force flying squadron based at one of the many Air Force Bases across Australia:

New South Wales

RAAF Base Williamtown: F/A-18 Hornet, Hawk 127, E-7A Wedgetail and Pilatus PC-9/A

RAAF Base Richmond: C-130 Hercules

Northern Territory

RAAF Base Tindal: F/A-18 Hornet

Queensland

RAAF Base Amberley: F/A-18F Super Hornet, C17-A Globemaster III and KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport

South Australia

RAAF Base Edinburgh: AP-3C Orion

Victoria

RAAF Base East Sale: King Air 350 and Pilatus PC-9/A training aircraft

Western Australia

RAAF Base Pearce: Pilatus PC-9/A and Hawk 127 training aircraft

The exact location of your posting will depend on the type of aircraft chosen for your advanced training.

Subsequent postings could take you to other Defence establishments and possibly overseas on humanitarian and peacekeeping missions.


Requirements

Age

Applicants must be a minimum of 17 years of age on day of entry.

Applicants will not normally be allowed to enter the ADF until they achieve a minimum of 17 years of age, however they may be able to initiate the application process from 16 years of age, depending upon the capacity of their local recruiting centre.

Maximum age on entry is 45 years of age.

Education & Experience

The requirements for acceptance into ADFA for a Pilot career are:

  • Completion of Year 12.

  • Passes in English, Mathematics (Tertiary Entrance Level, not modified) and two other academic subjects.

  • The desired ATAR or equivalent for your chosen degree.

If studied, minimum grades are set for chemistry, geography and physics. Applicants must have also achieved a minimum of a C grade or equivalent in Year 10 science, if sciences were not completed and passed at year 11 or 12.

As well as applying to the Air Force for entry, you must also apply to the University through the Universities Admissions Centre (NSW and ACT). The UAC website is:

http://www.uac.edu.au

This entry mode attracts a debt greater than the maximum rate of HECS due to the higher costs associated with ADFA studies ($25,000 per annum). In general terms, this debt accrues (increases) whilst undertaking study, with the maximum debt reached on completion of study. Once the period of study has ended, the debt begins to acquit (reduce) for the remainder of your Initial Minimum Period of Service (IMPS). Once the IMPS period is complete, there is no remaining debt.

Medical & Fitness

Naturally you'll have to be both mentally and physically fit to train as a Pilot.

At various stages during the application process you'll be assessed through (1) completion of a questionnaire relating to your medical history, (2) a physical examination, and (3) a Pre-entry Fitness Assessment (PFA).

During the PFA you'll need to be able to perform 20 sit-ups (feet held) and 10 push-ups (men) or 4 push-ups (women). You'll also have to achieve a 6.5 shuttle run score in a multistage fitness test.

You can find out more about our medical and physical fitness standards and access training tips here:

Fitness in the ADF

Here you can read about the medical examinations and screenings, what we're looking for and assessing, when in the application process it happens, and what you'll have to wear:

Medical Process for Entry into the ADF.

Period of Service

As an ADFA - Pilot, you will be required to serve in the Air Force for an Initial Minimum Period of Service (IMPS) of 14.5 years.

IMPS commences from your date of appointment which is the day you officially join the Air Force. There is no obligation associated with an IMPS if your letter of resignation to end your service is approved on the basis of an application that is submitted before 01 December of the second year of study. This time is known as a grace period.

You may apply to end your period of service at any time by providing a minimum of three months' notice, however approval would not normally be granted unless you have completed your IMPS or you are within your IMPS grace period. Where approved to end your service within the IMPS, presuming your grace period has expired, you may owe a debt to the Commonwealth based upon the Service Debt Calculation Method explained in your appointment paperwork. Simplistically, a debt accrues whilst studying at ADFA and begins acquitting once posted from ADFA.

Additional Requirements

The role of Air Force Pilot is about as far from an ordinary' job as you can get. So there are a number of additional requirements for acceptance into our training courses.

The most obvious is that you must have a real interest in the Air Force, and a driving ambition for a life behind the visor. Other requirements are as follows:

Abilities and Aptitudes

You'll be assessed to check that you are:

  • Suitable for commissioning as a Pilot

  • Suitable for Pilot training

  • Able to demonstrate common sense and good judgement

  • Able to process new information quickly and accurately and apply learned procedures under pressure

  • Able to allocate priorities amongst competing sources of incoming information

  • Able to think and act quickly and appropriately in stressful situations (e.g. in unusual or emergency situations)

  • Able to perform cognitive tasks and manual activities simultaneously and

  • Spatially aware.

Personal Qualities

You'll be expected to have:

  • The personal attributes to accept the status and fulfil the responsibilities of an Officer, and

  • Appropriate personal attributes for training and subsequent employment as a Pilot.

Physical Requirements

Weight and height requirements are important due to cockpit and ejection seat ergonomics.

WEIGHT and BMI

For Air Force Pilots, the acceptable BMI range is 18.5 to 29.9.

Applicants must have a body weight of between 55kg and 100kg (measured in underwear) to comply with the design of ejection seats and parachutes.

DIMENSIONS

Height - 163cm to 193cm

Sitting Height - 100cm max.

Buttock to knee length - 67cm max.

Buttock to heel length - 122cm max.

SPEECH

Good communication is critical in the Air Force. Your speech must be clear and free from impediment.

Experience

Military flying is in many ways, very different from civilian flying. Therefore the Military Pilots course has a different training philosophy to that of many civilian flying schools.

You'll be expected to progress on course at a rate that confirms your suitability for subsequent operational conversions to front-line military aircraft. Therefore previous flying experience in a civilian environment does not necessarily provide an advantage.

There is no Recognition of Prior Learning with ADF Pilot courses. All successful applicants will fly exactly the same syllabus sorties regardless of previous experience.

The Air Force neither encourages nor discourages potential applicants to consider flying lessons.

Detailed evaluation

A detailed evaluation of your suitability to become an Air Force Pilot requires a primary and a secondary selection process. The primary selection process is conducted by Defence Force Recruiting at your local DFRC and includes interviews and an initial Officer Aviation (OA) aptitude test. Those candidates assessed as suitable will progress to the secondary assessment stage, which includes a two day Aviation Screening Program (ASP). Depending on your ASP results you may be invited to attend an Officer Selection Board (OSB). The OSB will be scheduled for some time after ASP.

The ASP will be managed by the Aviation Candidate Management Centre (ACMC) and will take place at RAAF Base East Sale, VIC.

The ASP is designed to evaluate OA applicants in order to determine their suitability to undergo aviation training. The first day of the ASP is all about learning more about the different aviation roles. Because the ASP is held at RAAF Base East Sale, where you will do your initial aviation training, it is perfect location to find out what it would be like studying at the Air Academy. On the second day you you will undergo cognitive assessment using a Computer Based Aptitude Testing System to determine you potential for Aviation Training.

At some time after ASP, selected candidates will be invited to attend an Officer Aviation Selection Board, which involves a series of group activities, problem-solving exercises and verbal presentation exercises plus a formal interview. This gives applicants an excellent opportunity to display their true potential to be an Officer. The OSB is made up of an RAAF officer plus a Psychologist.

For detailed information on Officer Aviation please contact A.C.M.C@defence.gov.au

Aptitude

The application process to join the Australian Defence Force requires you to complete a series of aptitude tests which may include verbal, spatial and numerical ability and a general maths test. Some jobs may also require you to complete additional testing at a later date.

Psychology support staff will explain what is involved with each test.

The aptitude tests provide information about your suitability for the Defence Force and for particular jobs. Defence Force Recruiting can then help you identify jobs that best match your abilities.

Further information on the aptitude testing requirements can be found here.

Citizenship

To serve in the Australian Defence Force you must be an Australian Citizen or in exceptional circumstances, a permanent resident.

Find out more in our Citizenship page or ask your local Defence Force Recruiting Centre.

Security Requirements

The Department of Defence requires ADF entrants to attain a security clearance appropriate to their avenue of entry. Details on the security requirements for all Air Force jobs can be found here.

Training

Military Training

Once you're settled in to the Australian Defence Force Academy you'll undertake six weeks of military training to prepare you for Service life. This is followed by the annual Chief of the Defence Force Parade, after which the academic year commences.

Then in between your academic studies, six hours a week are allocated to military training. This consists of Academy Military Education and Training (AMET) for all three Services as well as Single Service Training (SST).

SST blocks are held at the beginning and end of the year. Through this program Officer Cadets gain equivalent skills to those gained by non-ADFA applicants taking the Initial Officers Course.

During AMET you'll learn about and get involved with:

  • Defence

  • Psychology and leadership

  • Drug and alcohol awareness,

  • Military law

  • Physical and recreational training

  • Military drill and ceremonial training

  • Weapons training

  • Field training

  • Character development

  • English and military communications and

  • Study skills.

You'll also have breaks in study to go on academic field trips, military tours, excursions and adventure training exercises (including five weeks at the Officers' Training School , East Sale, Victoria in Year 2).

Employment Training

By the time students graduate from ADFA the CT4 and PC9 training aircraft will have been replaced the PC21 aircraft and basic flying training will have moved from Tamworth to RAAF Base East Sale.

The Pilot Basic Course will be 24 Weeks in duration and students will fly about 60 hours in PC21 aircraft and simulators. The flying disciplines on pilot basic course include General Flying (GF), Instrument Flying (IF), Night Flying (NF) and an introduction to medium level visual Navigation (NAV). GF includes manoeuvres such as flying circuits, basic aerobatics, stalling and emergency handling. IF instruction covers basic instrument interpretation skills and flying instrument approaches. Ground training will also be conducted in Aerodynamics, Aircraft Systems, Airmanship, Air Power, Air Traffic Control, Aviation Medicine, Cockpit Systems, Meteorology, Morse Code, and Navigation.

Upon completion of the Pilot Basic Course, students will proceed to 2FTS at RAAF Base Pearce for Pilot Intermediate Course. Flying at 2FTS is also undertaken in the PC21. The course is approximately 30 weeks duration with 135 hours of flying and simulation. Aside from developing the flying skills learnt on Pilot Basis Course, students will also be introduced to formation flying and low-level navigation. Students will also learn how to operate an aircraft and not just fly it. Following completion of Pilot Intermediate Course students will complete Pilot Advanced course, if they have been streamed to fast jets, or complete an operational conversion on a transport or surveillance aircraft.

Further Training

You've now graduated from Number 2 Flying Training School and are ready to be streamed onto specific aircraft. This process is called conversion'.

By this point you'll probably have a pretty good idea what type of aircraft you're passionate about flying. However, whilst acknowledging your preference, recommendations about the best choice of aircraft based on your temperament, strong points and aptitude will be provided by your instructors.

Air Force instructors are highly experienced and will have been observing you for almost 12 months, so they are well qualified to advise the selection panels on your suitability.

Ultimately, the needs of the Air Force take precedence. However every aircraft option will still provide you with a rich and rewarding career, plus levels of job satisfaction those in other jobs can only dream of.

So whether you're selected to fly a C-17A Globemaster III heavy transport, a KC-30A tanker, an E-7A Wedgetail surveillance and control aircraft, or a state of the art F/A-18F Super Hornet fighter, this is the stage when you learn the specifics of the aircraft chosen.

You can read more about all the aircraft we operate on the Air Force website.

You'll also become fully assimilated into the working environment of your new squadron, learning the theory behind the tactics it employs. Here you will 'crew up' and practise until your team is operationally effective.

Key Information

Salary & Allowances

You will be appointed as an Officer Cadet (OFFCDT) upon joining the Air Force and receive the following salary while undertaking Military (Initial Officer) Training and Employment Training:

Degree Qualified: $45,457 per year ($1,744 per fortnight).*

Non-degree Qualified: $40,109 per year ($1,539 per fortnight).*

While under training, you will also receive $9,552 per year pro rata ($366 per fortnight) Trainee Allowance.

Salary on completion of Military (Initial Officer) Training and Employment Training: $53,478 per year (2,001 per fortnight).*

In addition to your salary, you will receive Service Allowance of $12,924 per year ($497 per fortnight) except while undertaking Military (Initial) or Employment training. This allowance compensates a member for the unique requirements that service life may impose on an individual and his or her family.

Uniform Allowance at a rate of $682 per year ($26 per fortnight) is also paid to assist you in maintaining your uniforms in good order and condition.

Your salary will continue to increase based on your rank and the number of years of service completed in that rank. Your pay grade may increase following the acquisition of additional skills and completion of further training. Refer to the Salary Scales for further details.

* Note: These figures do not include compulsory deductions for taxation; meals, accommodation and utilities (as applicable); or superannuation.

Locations

Once you have completed flying training, you'll be posted to an Air Force flying squadron based at one of the many Air Force Bases across Australia:

New South Wales

RAAF Base Williamtown: F/A-18 Hornet, Hawk 127, E-7A Wedgetail and Pilatus PC-9/A

RAAF Base Richmond: C-130 Hercules

Northern Territory

RAAF Base Tindal: F/A-18 Hornet

Queensland

RAAF Base Amberley: F/A-18F Super Hornet, C17-A Globemaster III and KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport

South Australia

RAAF Base Edinburgh: AP-3C Orion

Victoria

RAAF Base East Sale: King Air 350 and Pilatus PC-9/A training aircraft

Western Australia

RAAF Base Pearce: Pilatus PC-9/A and Hawk 127 training aircraft

The exact location of your posting will depend on the type of aircraft chosen for your advanced training.

Subsequent postings could take you to other Defence establishments and possibly overseas on humanitarian and peacekeeping missions.


Requirements

Age

Applicants must be a minimum of 17 years of age on day of entry.

Applicants will not normally be allowed to enter the ADF until they achieve a minimum of 17 years of age, however they may be able to initiate the application process from 16 years and six months of age, depending upon the capacity of their local recruiting centre.

Preferred maximum age on entry is 53 years of age.

Education & Experience

The requirements for acceptance into Initial Officer Training for a Pilot Career are:

  • Completion of Year 12.

  • Passes in English, Mathematics (Tertiary Entrance Level, not modified) and two other academic subjects.

If studied, minimum grades are set for chemistry, geography and physics. Applicants must have also achieved a minimum of a C grade or equivalent in Year 10 science, if sciences were not completed and passed at year 11 or 12.

To apply for our Graduate Pilot Scheme you must also have completed the first year of a Bachelor of Aviation Degree course.

Medical & Fitness

Naturally you'll have to be both mentally and physically fit to train as a Pilot.

At various stages during the application process you'll be assessed through (1) completion of a questionnaire relating to your medical history, (2) a physical examination, and (3) a Pre-entry Fitness Assessment (PFA).

During the PFA you'll need to be able to perform 20 sit-ups (feet held) and 10 push-ups (men) or 4 push-ups (women). You'll also have to achieve a 6.5 shuttle run score in a multistage fitness test.

You can find out more about our medical and physical fitness standards and access training tips here:

Fitness in the ADF

Here you can read about the medical examinations and screenings, what we're looking for and assessing, when in the application process it happens, and what you'll have to wear:

Medical Process for Entry into the ADF.

Period of Service

As a woman, when you embark on a career as an Air Force Pilot through the Graduate Pilot Scheme (GPS), you will be required to serve in the Air Force for an Initial Minimum Period of Service (IMPS) of 6 years. IMPS commences from your date of appointment which is the day you officially join the Air Force. No obligation associated with an IMPS will be applied until you are eligible to graduate from No 2 Flying Training School. This time is known as a grace period.

You may apply to end your period of service at any time by providing a minimum of three months' notice, however approval would not normally be granted unless you have completed your IMPS or you are within your IMPS grace period. Where approved to end your service within the IMPS, presuming your grace period has expired, you may owe a debt to the Commonwealth based upon the Service Debt Calculation Method explained in your appointment paperwork. Simplistically, your debt will accrue on reimbursement of university fees (paid on graduation from No 2 Flying Training).

Additional Requirements

The role of Air Force Pilot is about as far from an ordinary' job as you can get. So there are a number of additional requirements for acceptance into our training courses.

The most obvious is that you must have a real interest in the Air Force, and a driving ambition for a life behind the visor. Other requirements are as follows:

Abilities and Aptitudes

You'll be assessed to check that you are:

  • Suitable for commissioning as a Pilot

  • Suitable for Pilot training

  • Able to demonstrate common sense and good judgement

  • Able to process new information quickly and accurately and apply learned procedures under pressure

  • Able to allocate priorities amongst competing sources of incoming information

  • Able to think and act quickly and appropriately in stressful situations (e.g. in unusual or emergency situations)

  • Able to perform cognitive tasks and manual activities simultaneously and

  • Spatially aware.

Personal Qualities

You'll be expected to have:

  • The personal attributes to accept the status and fulfil the responsibilities of an Officer, and

  • Appropriate personal attributes for training and subsequent employment as a Pilot.

Physical Requirements

Weight and height requirements are important due to cockpit and ejection seat ergonomics.

WEIGHT and BMI

For Air Force Pilots, the acceptable BMI range is 18.5 to 29.9.

Applicants must have a body weight of between 55kg and 100kg (measured in underwear) to comply with the design of ejection seats and parachutes.

DIMENSIONS

Height - 163cm to 193cm

Sitting Height - 100cm max.

Buttock to knee length - 67cm max.

Buttock to heel length - 122cm max.

SPEECH

Good communication is critical in the Air Force. Your speech must be clear and free from impediment.

Experience

Military flying is in many ways, very different from civilian flying. Therefore the Military Pilots course has a different training philosophy to that of many civilian flying schools.

You'll be expected to progress on course at a rate that confirms your suitability for subsequent operational conversions to front-line military aircraft. Therefore previous flying experience in a civilian environment does not necessarily provide an advantage.

There is no Recognition of Prior Learning with ADF Pilot courses. All successful applicants will fly exactly the same syllabus sorties regardless of previous experience.

The Air Force neither encourages nor discourages potential applicants to consider flying lessons.

Detailed evaluation

A detailed evaluation of your suitability to become an Air Force Pilot requires a primary and a secondary selection process. The primary selection process is conducted by Defence Force Recruiting at your local DFRC and includes interviews and an initial Officer Aviation (OA) aptitude test. Those candidates assessed as suitable will progress to the secondary assessment stage, which includes a two day Aviation Screening Program (ASP). Depending on your ASP results you may be invited to attend an Officer Selection Board (OSB). The OSB will be scheduled for some time after ASP.

The ASP will be managed by the Aviation Candidate Management Centre (ACMC) and will take place at RAAF Base East Sale, VIC.

The ASP is designed to evaluate OA applicants in order to determine their suitability to undergo aviation training. The first day of the ASP is all about learning more about the different aviation roles. Because the ASP is held at RAAF Base East Sale, where you will do your initial aviation training, it is perfect location to find out what it would be like studying at the Air Academy. On the second day you you will undergo cognitive assessment using a Computer Based Aptitude Testing System to determine you potential for Aviation Training.

At some time after ASP, selected candidates will be invited to attend an Officer Aviation Selection Board, which involves a series of group activities, problem-solving exercises and verbal presentation exercises plus a formal interview. This gives applicants an excellent opportunity to display their true potential to be an Officer. The OSB is made up of an RAAF officer plus a Psychologist.

For detailed information on Officer Aviation please contact A.C.M.C@defence.gov.au

Aptitude

The application process to join the Australian Defence Force requires you to complete a series of aptitude tests which may include verbal, spatial and numerical ability and a general maths test. Some jobs may also require you to complete additional testing at a later date.

Psychology support staff will explain what is involved with each test.

The aptitude tests provide information about your suitability for the Defence Force and for particular jobs. Defence Force Recruiting can then help you identify jobs that best match your abilities.

Further information on the aptitude testing requirements can be found here.

Citizenship

To serve in the Australian Defence Force you must be an Australian Citizen or in exceptional circumstances, a permanent resident.

Find out more in our Citizenship page or ask your local Defence Force Recruiting Centre.

Security Requirements

The Department of Defence requires ADF entrants to attain a security clearance appropriate to their avenue of entry. Details on the security requirements for all Air Force jobs can be found here.

Training

Military Training

Initial Officer Training: 18 Weeks

As soon as you join the Air Force you'll undertake a 18-week Initial Officer Course at RAAF Base East Sale, Victoria.

There, you'll be introduced to military life and learn about Air Force values and attitudes. The other major elements of the course include:

  • Ground defence and weapons training

  • Leadership and personal development

  • Communication skills, and

  • Air Force operations.

You can find out more about the structure and requirements of the Initial Officer Course on the Officers Training School website, where you can also access guidance on how to arrange your personal affairs before appointment. You'll also find useful information in our Joining Instructions.

Employment Training

By the time students graduate from ADFA the CT4 and PC9 training aircraft will have been replaced the PC21 aircraft and basic flying training will have moved from Tamworth to RAAF Base East Sale.

The Pilot Basic Course will be 24 Weeks in duration and students will fly about 60 hours in PC21 aircraft and simulators. The flying disciplines on pilot basic course include General Flying (GF), Instrument Flying (IF), Night Flying (NF) and an introduction to medium level visual Navigation (NAV). GF includes manoeuvres such as flying circuits, basic aerobatics, stalling and emergency handling. IF instruction covers basic instrument interpretation skills and flying instrument approaches. Ground training will also be conducted in Aerodynamics, Aircraft Systems, Airmanship, Air Power, Air Traffic Control, Aviation Medicine, Cockpit Systems, Meteorology, Morse Code, and Navigation.

Upon completion of the Pilot Basic Course, students will proceed to 2FTS at RAAF Base Pearce for Pilot Intermediate Course. Flying at 2FTS is also undertaken in the PC21. The course is approximately 30 weeks duration with 135 hours of flying and simulation. Aside from developing the flying skills learnt on Pilot Basis Course, students will also be introduced to formation flying and low-level navigation. Students will also learn how to operate an aircraft and not just fly it. Following completion of Pilot Intermediate Course students will complete Pilot Advanced course, if they have been streamed to fast jets, or complete an operational conversion on a transport or surveillance aircraft.

Further Training

You've now graduated from Number 2 Flying Training School and are ready to be streamed onto specific aircraft. This process is called conversion'.

By this point you'll probably have a pretty good idea what type of aircraft you're passionate about flying. However, whilst acknowledging your preference, recommendations about the best choice of aircraft based on your temperament, strong points and aptitude will be provided by your instructors.

Air Force instructors are highly experienced and will have been observing you for almost 12 months, so they are well qualified to advise the selection panels on your suitability.

Ultimately, the needs of the Air Force take precedence. However every aircraft option will still provide you with a rich and rewarding career, plus levels of job satisfaction those in other jobs can only dream of.

So whether you're selected to fly a C-17A Globemaster III heavy transport, a KC-30A tanker, an E-7A Wedgetail surveillance and control aircraft, or a state of the art F/A-18F Super Hornet fighter, this is the stage when you learn the specifics of the aircraft chosen.

You can read more about all the aircraft we operate on the Air Force website.

You'll also become fully assimilated into the working environment of your new squadron, learning the theory behind the tactics it employs. Here you will 'crew up' and practise until your team is operationally effective.

Key Information

Salary & Allowances

During initial military and employment training, as an Officer Cadet you will receive the following salary package:

$55,691 per year if degree qualified + generous superannuation

$50,343 per year if non-degree qualified + generous superannuation

These figures include a Training Allowance and a uniform maintenance allowance.

Upon completion of your military and employment training your salary will increase to

$67,084 per year plus generous superannuation. This includes Service and Uniform Allowances.

In comparison, if you learnt to fly through an airline cadetship you could expect to be paid around $60,000 per year once qualified; and that's after paying for all your own training fees and living expenses for four years.

Salaries increase with rank, years of service and additional skills and qualifications gained. See Salary Scales for more details.

Please note, the above salaries do not include compulsory deductions for taxation; meals, accommodation and utilities (as applicable).

Locations

Once you have completed flying training, you'll be posted to an Air Force flying squadron based at one of the many Air Force Bases across Australia:

New South Wales

RAAF Base Williamtown: F/A-18 Hornet, Hawk 127, E-7A Wedgetail and Pilatus PC-9/A

RAAF Base Richmond: C-130 Hercules

Northern Territory

RAAF Base Tindal: F/A-18 Hornet

Queensland

RAAF Base Amberley: F/A-18F Super Hornet, C17-A Globemaster III and KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport

South Australia

RAAF Base Edinburgh: AP-3C Orion

Victoria

RAAF Base East Sale: King Air 350 and Pilatus PC-9/A training aircraft

Western Australia

RAAF Base Pearce: Pilatus PC-9/A and Hawk 127 training aircraft

The exact location of your posting will depend on the type of aircraft chosen for your advanced training.

Subsequent postings could take you to other Defence establishments and possibly overseas on humanitarian and peacekeeping missions.


Requirements

Age

Applicants must be a minimum of 17 years of age on day of entry.

Applicants will not normally be allowed to enter the ADF until they achieve a minimum of 17 years of age, however they may be able to initiate the application process from 16 years and six months of age, depending upon the capacity of their local recruiting centre.

Preferred maximum age on entry is 48 years of age.

Education & Experience

The requirements for acceptance into Initial Officer Training for a Pilot Career are:

  • Completion of Year 12.

  • Passes in English, Mathematics (Tertiary Entrance Level, not modified) and two other academic subjects.

If studied, minimum grades are set for chemistry, geography and physics. Applicants must have also achieved a minimum of a C grade or equivalent in Year 10 science, if sciences were not completed and passed at year 11 or 12.

Medical & Fitness

Naturally you'll have to be both mentally and physically fit to train as a Pilot.

At various stages during the application process you'll be assessed through (1) completion of a questionnaire relating to your medical history, (2) a physical examination, and (3) a Pre-entry Fitness Assessment (PFA).

During the PFA you'll need to be able to perform 20 sit-ups (feet held) and 10 push-ups (men) or 4 push-ups (women). You'll also have to achieve a 6.5 shuttle run score in a multistage fitness test.

You can find out more about our medical and physical fitness standards and access training tips here:

Fitness in the ADF

Here you can read about the medical examinations and screenings, what we're looking for and assessing, when in the application process it happens, and what you'll have to wear:

Medical Process for Entry into the ADF.

Period of Service

As a Direct Entry Officer (DEO) - Pilot, you will be required to serve in the Air Force for an Initial Period of Service (IMPS) of 11.5 years (men) and 6 years (women). IMPS commences from your date of appointment which is the day you officially join the Air Force. There is no obligation associated with an IMPS until you are eligible to graduate from No 2 Flying Training School. This time is known as a grace period.

You may apply to end your period of service at any time by providing a minimum of three months' notice, however approval would not normally be granted unless you have completed your IMPS or you are within your IMPS grace period.

Please note the differentiated IMPS for men and women exists only for DEO pilots and has been established as a special temporary measure to reduce potential recruiting barriers thereby increasing the number of female pilots in the Air Force.

Additional Requirements

The role of Air Force Pilot is about as far from an ordinary' job as you can get. So there are a number of additional requirements for acceptance into our training courses.

The most obvious is that you must have a real interest in the Air Force, and a driving ambition for a life behind the visor. Other requirements are as follows:

Abilities and Aptitudes

You'll be assessed to check that you are:

  • Suitable for commissioning as a Pilot

  • Suitable for Pilot training

  • Able to demonstrate common sense and good judgement

  • Able to process new information quickly and accurately and apply learned procedures under pressure

  • Able to allocate priorities amongst competing sources of incoming information

  • Able to think and act quickly and appropriately in stressful situations (e.g. in unusual or emergency situations)

  • Able to perform cognitive tasks and manual activities simultaneously and

  • Spatially aware.

Personal Qualities

You'll be expected to have:

  • The personal attributes to accept the status and fulfil the responsibilities of an Officer, and

  • Appropriate personal attributes for training and subsequent employment as a Pilot.

Physical Requirements

Weight and height requirements are important due to cockpit and ejection seat ergonomics.

WEIGHT and BMI

For Air Force Pilots, the acceptable BMI range is 18.5 to 29.9.

Applicants must have a body weight of between 55kg and 100kg (measured in underwear) to comply with the design of ejection seats and parachutes.

DIMENSIONS

Height - 163cm to 193cm

Sitting Height - 100cm max.

Buttock to knee length - 67cm max.

Buttock to heel length - 122cm max.

SPEECH

Good communication is critical in the Air Force. Your speech must be clear and free from impediment.

Experience

Military flying is in many ways, very different from civilian flying. Therefore the Military Pilots course has a different training philosophy to that of many civilian flying schools.

You'll be expected to progress on course at a rate that confirms your suitability for subsequent operational conversions to front-line military aircraft. Therefore previous flying experience in a civilian environment does not necessarily provide an advantage.

There is no Recognition of Prior Learning with ADF Pilot courses. All successful applicants will fly exactly the same syllabus sorties regardless of previous experience.

The Air Force neither encourages nor discourages potential applicants to consider flying lessons.

Detailed evaluation

A detailed evaluation of your suitability to become an Air Force Pilot requires a primary and a secondary selection process. The primary selection process is conducted by Defence Force Recruiting at your local DFRC and includes interviews and an initial Officer Aviation (OA) aptitude test. Those candidates assessed as suitable will progress to the secondary assessment stage, which includes a two day Aviation Screening Program (ASP). Depending on your ASP results you may be invited to attend an Officer Selection Board (OSB). The OSB will be scheduled for some time after ASP.

The ASP will be managed by the Aviation Candidate Management Centre (ACMC) and will take place at RAAF Base East Sale, VIC.

The ASP is designed to evaluate OA applicants in order to determine their suitability to undergo aviation training. The first day of the ASP is all about learning more about the different aviation roles. Because the ASP is held at RAAF Base East Sale, where you will do your initial aviation training, it is perfect location to find out what it would be like studying at the Air Academy. On the second day you you will undergo cognitive assessment using a Computer Based Aptitude Testing System to determine you potential for Aviation Training.

At some time after ASP, selected candidates will be invited to attend an Officer Aviation Selection Board, which involves a series of group activities, problem-solving exercises and verbal presentation exercises plus a formal interview. This gives applicants an excellent opportunity to display their true potential to be an Officer. The OSB is made up of an RAAF officer plus a Psychologist.

For detailed information on Officer Aviation please contact A.C.M.C@defence.gov.au

Aptitude

The application process to join the Australian Defence Force requires you to complete a series of aptitude tests which may include verbal, spatial and numerical ability and a general maths test. Some jobs may also require you to complete additional testing at a later date.

Psychology support staff will explain what is involved with each test.

The aptitude tests provide information about your suitability for the Defence Force and for particular jobs. Defence Force Recruiting can then help you identify jobs that best match your abilities.

Further information on the aptitude testing requirements can be found here.

Citizenship

To serve in the Australian Defence Force you must be an Australian Citizen or in exceptional circumstances, a permanent resident.

Find out more in our Citizenship page or ask your local Defence Force Recruiting Centre.

Security Requirements

The Department of Defence requires ADF entrants to attain a security clearance appropriate to their avenue of entry. Details on the security requirements for all Air Force jobs can be found here.

Training

Military Training

Initial Officer Training: 18 Weeks

As soon as you join the Air Force you'll undertake a 18-week Initial Officer Course at RAAF Base East Sale, Victoria.

There, you'll be introduced to military life and learn about Air Force values and attitudes. The other major elements of the course include:

  • Ground defence and weapons training

  • Leadership and personal development

  • Communication skills, and

  • Air Force operations.

You can find out more about the structure and requirements of the Initial Officer Course on the Officers Training School website, where you can also access guidance on how to arrange your personal affairs before appointment. You'll also find useful information in our Joining Instructions.

Employment Training

By the time students graduate from ADFA the CT4 and PC9 training aircraft will have been replaced the PC21 aircraft and basic flying training will have moved from Tamworth to RAAF Base East Sale.

The Pilot Basic Course will be 24 Weeks in duration and students will fly about 60 hours in PC21 aircraft and simulators. The flying disciplines on pilot basic course include General Flying (GF), Instrument Flying (IF), Night Flying (NF) and an introduction to medium level visual Navigation (NAV). GF includes manoeuvres such as flying circuits, basic aerobatics, stalling and emergency handling. IF instruction covers basic instrument interpretation skills and flying instrument approaches. Ground training will also be conducted in Aerodynamics, Aircraft Systems, Airmanship, Air Power, Air Traffic Control, Aviation Medicine, Cockpit Systems, Meteorology, Morse Code, and Navigation.

Upon completion of the Pilot Basic Course, students will proceed to 2FTS at RAAF Base Pearce for Pilot Intermediate Course. Flying at 2FTS is also undertaken in the PC21. The course is approximately 30 weeks duration with 135 hours of flying and simulation. Aside from developing the flying skills learnt on Pilot Basis Course, students will also be introduced to formation flying and low-level navigation. Students will also learn how to operate an aircraft and not just fly it. Following completion of Pilot Intermediate Course students will complete Pilot Advanced course, if they have been streamed to fast jets, or complete an operational conversion on a transport or surveillance aircraft.

Further Training

You've now graduated from Number 2 Flying Training School and are ready to be streamed onto specific aircraft. This process is called conversion'.

By this point you'll probably have a pretty good idea what type of aircraft you're passionate about flying. However, whilst acknowledging your preference, recommendations about the best choice of aircraft based on your temperament, strong points and aptitude will be provided by your instructors.

Air Force instructors are highly experienced and will have been observing you for almost 12 months, so they are well qualified to advise the selection panels on your suitability.

Ultimately, the needs of the Air Force take precedence. However every aircraft option will still provide you with a rich and rewarding career, plus levels of job satisfaction those in other jobs can only dream of.

So whether you're selected to fly a C-17A Globemaster III heavy transport, a KC-30A tanker, an E-7A Wedgetail surveillance and control aircraft, or a state of the art F/A-18F Super Hornet fighter, this is the stage when you learn the specifics of the aircraft chosen.

You can read more about all the aircraft we operate on the Air Force website.

You'll also become fully assimilated into the working environment of your new squadron, learning the theory behind the tactics it employs. Here you will 'crew up' and practise until your team is operationally effective.