About the Job

Like the air and space domain, Officer Aviation roles offer a career with limitless perspective and opportunities. The term Officer Aviation refers to all officer aircrew and ground-based controller roles.

Split into three main pathways – Pilot, Mission Aircrew and Mission Controller – the application process for each pathway is the same, and as your application progresses, you will be advised which training pathway you are joining. 

As you progress through your training, there are a number of streaming decision points that will determine what kind of Pilot, Mission Aircrew or Mission Controller you will be. Your final allocation is based on a combination of your preference, performance on course and position availability. 

More information on the pathways and the range of roles within each can be found below. 

Pilot pathway

Mission Aircrew pathway

Mission Controller pathway

The Future

As the Air Force moves into the future, our modern and capable aircraft will be joined by remotely-piloted aircraft; dedicated Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance aircraft; and space-based technologies. Officer Aviation personnel will undertake key roles as these new capabilities emerge and remain at the centre of the Air Force’s air power.


Key Information

Preparing for Your Recruitment Process

This document provides information that will assist applicants for roles in the Navy, Army and Air Force, including details about the recruitment process, how to prepare yourself for assessment, and what to expect if you are successful in joining the Australian Defence Force.

Download

Salary & Allowances

In the Air Force you'll get paid a good salary from day one regardless of your age, experience or qualifications; and your pay increases as you progress through training.

In addition to your salary you'll receive a variety of allowances, extra pay for relevant qualifications – plus 16.4% superannuation, a far higher rate than you're likely to find in the civilian world.


For more details download our Salary Scales.

Read our Conditions of Service.


Locations

As a member of the Officer Aviation Family, during your career you may be employed in flying and non-flying roles at almost any location across the country or overseas, however initially training will be tailored to achieving operational readiness in your particular stream.


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.

Maximum age on entry is 45 years of age. This allows an applicant to complete three years at ADFA and then Initial Officer Training (IOT) and Initial Stream Employment Training (ISET) and serve the Return of Service Obligation (ROSO) before reaching compulsory retirement age.

Education & Experience

The requirements for acceptance into Initial Officer Training for Officer Aviation (all streams) are:

  • Completion of Year 12
  • Passes in English and three other academic subjects
  • The desired ATAR or equivalent for your chosen degree. 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

Year 12 university entry level mathematics (unmodified) and physics or multi-strand science is highly desirable.

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.

Officer Aviation Candidates can choose to study any degree offered at ADFA by the UNSW except for four-year engineering degrees.

Note: You can apply for OA prior to achieving the education requirements however you can’t be appointed until all requirements are met.

Medical & Fitness

To be enlisted or appointed, you must be medically and physically fit for entry to your chosen occupation. This is partially assessed from the completion of an extensive questionnaire covering your medical history, followed by a physical examination.

You will also be required to successfully pass a physical fitness test before appointment.

For further details on medical and physical fitness standards refer to Physical Fitness Standards for Entry into the ADF and Medical Process for Entry into the ADF.

Period of Service

On appointment you will have an Initial Minimum Period of Service (IMPS) of seven years associated with your tertiary studies at ADFA. This IMPS is separate from any obligation to serve that is associated with Officer Aviation (OA) Initial Stream Employment Training (ISET).

The duration of ISET varies between streams, with some, such as Fast Jet Pilot, taking a number of years to complete. But even on completion of ISET, it is going to take 4-5 years to build the technical mastery to be a front line member of the OA family. OA training is long and instructor intensive, therefore even after you have grown your own technical mastery, we will need you to also complete sustainment postings. For example, as an instructor you can help others gain their own technical mastery. Without the ability to fill these sustainment postings, the Air Force would not be able to maintain and regenerate its operational effectiveness. To ensure that operational effective is maintained, members of the OA family incur a nine year Return of Service Obligation (ROSO).

You do not incur any ROSO up until the final step in your ISET. This means that if you decide that Officer Aviation is not for you, or you are unsuccessful in your training, you do not incur any ROSO. Once you complete your ISET you are committed to serve the ROSO.

IMPS and ROSO are served concurrently therefore if you incur a ROSO while still serving an IMPS associated with your ADFA degree, they will both count down together.

After your ROSO you may request discharge at any time provided you do not have any additional Service obligations and you provide a minimum of three months' notice.

On appointment you may be able to serve until retirement age of 60 (or 65 for Reservists), subject to your continued suitability for service.

Your Careers Coach can advise on how IMPS and ROSO will relate to your chosen occupation.

Additional Requirements

Physical Requirements

Each aircraft type has its own weight and height limitations however to be appointed to undergo pilot training, you must be able to meet the PC21 anthropometric limits. However if you are not sitting in a cockpit the weight and height imitations are the same as the general entry standards.

Speech

Good communication is critical for all OA streams, so your speech must be clear and free from impediment.

Physical Requirements

A detailed evaluation of your suitability to become part of the OA family 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 Test Battery (OATB). 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 not only designed to evaluate OA applicants in order to determine their suitability to undergo aviation training, but it is also designed to give applicants a better understanding of all of the streams within the OA family. Because all Officer Aviation Candidates (OACs) undergo some training at RAAF Base East Sale, East Sale is the perfect place for the ASP to be conducted as it allows you to be able to experience what it will be like to live on the very base that you will be training at. You’ll get firsthand experience of the training, recreational and accommodation facilities at the RAAF Base East Sale as well as the opportunity to talk with students and instructors at the Air Academy (AirA). Aviation aptitude is assessed using the Military Aviation Cognitive Assessment System (MACTS), which is computer based, and is conducted over two four-hour sessions.

On the afternoon of the second day of the ASP, ACMC staff will debrief you on your MACTS results and they will advise you which progression options are available to you. If you want to proceed with the option/s available, you will be invited to attend a RAAF Officer Selection Board (ROSB), 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 ROSB 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

Only Australian Citizens are permitted to serve in the ADF.

Find out more on the 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

ADFA

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).

During Initial Officer Training and Initial Stream Employment Training, members may be required to pay a contribution towards meals, accommodation and utilities.

Employment Training

Air Academy.

Regardless whether you do your Initial Officer Training at ADFA or Officer Training School, your aviation career will start at RAAF Base East at the Air Academy (AirA). You will know when you are appointed whether you will be starting down the Mission Training Pathway or the Pilot Training Pathway.

The training for all OA streams starts at the Air Academy (AirA) at RAAF Base East Sale. Despite the seven different streams, There are two initial training pathways into the AirA; the Mission Training Pathway, which leads to Air Battle Manager, Air Mobility Officer, Air Traffic Controller, Maritime Patrol and Response Officer and Weapon Systems Officer, and the Pilot Training Pathway that leads to Fast Jet Pilot and Fixed Wing Pilot. For Mission, the first course at the AirA is Mission Elementary Course whereas for Pilot the first course at the AirA is Pilot Basic Course. On appointment you will know if you are starting on the Mission or Pilot training pathway.

Mission Training Pathway.

Regardless of whether you ultimately want be an Air Battle Manager (ABM), Air Mobility Officer (AMO), Air Traffic Controller (ATC), Martitme Patrol and Response Officer (MPRO), or Weapon Systems Officer (WSO) your first course at the AirA will be Mission Elementary Course. The 12 week Mission Elementary Course, which is conduted by the Air Mission Training School (AMTS) contains a classroom-based foundational aviation knowledge phase and a simulator-based technical selection phase. At the end of Mission Elementary Course you will commence training that is specific to your stream. For more information on each stream, follow the links above.

Pilot Training Pathway.

No matter if you want to ultimatly be a Fast Jet Pilot (FJP) or a Fixed Wing Pilot (FWP) you will start your military flying career with the Pilot Basic Course at Number 1 Flying Training School (1FTS) at RAAF Base East Sale. The Pilot Basic Course is 24 Weeks in duration and has about 60 hours of flying and simulation. On the successful completion of training at 1FTS you will head to Number 2 Flying Training School (2FTS) at RAAF Base Peace to undergo Pilot Intermediate Course. The Pilot Intermediate course is approximately 36 weeks duration with 135 hours of flying and simulation. At the end of 2FTS you will stream to FJP or FWP. For more information on each stream, follow the links above.


Key Information

Preparing for Your Recruitment Process

This document provides information that will assist applicants for roles in the Navy, Army and Air Force, including details about the recruitment process, how to prepare yourself for assessment, and what to expect if you are successful in joining the Australian Defence Force.

Download

Salary & Allowances

In the Air Force you'll get paid a good salary from day one regardless of your age, experience or qualifications; and your pay increases as you progress through training.

In addition to your salary you'll receive a variety of allowances, extra pay for relevant qualifications – plus 16.4% superannuation, a far higher rate than you're likely to find in the civilian world.


For more details download our Salary Scales.

Read our Conditions of Service.


Locations

As a member of the Officer Aviation Family, during your career you may be employed in flying and non-flying roles at almost any location across the country or overseas, however initially training will be tailored to achieving operational readiness in your particular stream.


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.

Maximum age on entry is 45 years of age. This allows an applicant to complete Initial Officer Training (IOT) and Initial Stream Employment Training (ISET) and serve the Return of Service Obligation (ROSO) before reaching compulsory retirement age.

Education & Experience

The requirements for acceptance into Initial Officer Training for Officer Aviation (all streams) are:

  • Completion of Year 12
  • Passes in English and three other academic subjects

The completion of Year 12 university entry level mathematics (unmodified) and physics or multi-strand science is highly desirable.

Note: You can apply for OA prior to achieving the education requirements however you can’t be appointed until all requirements are met.

Medical & Fitness

To be enlisted or appointed, you must be medically and physically fit for entry to your chosen occupation. This is partially assessed from the completion of an extensive questionnaire covering your medical history, followed by a physical examination.

You will also be required to successfully pass a physical fitness test before appointment.

For further details on medical and physical fitness standards refer to Physical Fitness Standards for Entry into the ADF and Medical Process for Entry into the ADF.

Period of Service

You will be required to undertake Initial Officer Training (17 weeks at the Officer Training School at RAAF Base East Sale, VIC) then complete Initial Stream Employment Training (ISET). The duration of ISET varies between streams, with some, such as Fast Jet Pilot, taking a number of year to complete. But even on completion of ISET, it is going to take 4-5 years to build the technical mastery to be a front line member of the OA family. OA training is long and instructor intensive, therefore even after you have grown your own technical mastery, we will need you to complete sustainment postings. For example, as an instructor you can help others gain their own technical mastery. Without the ability to fill these sustainment postings, the Air Force would not be able to maintain and regenerate its operational effectiveness. To ensure that operational effective is maintained, members of the OA family incur a nine year Return of Service Obligation (ROSO).

Up until the final step in your ISET, you do not have any obligation to serve. This means that if you decide that Officer Aviation is not for you or you are unsuccessful in your training you are free to separate from the ADF if you wish. Once you complete your ISET you are committed to serve the ROSO.

After your ROSO you may request discharge at any time provided you do not have any additional Return of Service Obligations and you provide a minimum of three months' notice.

On appointment you may be able to service until retirement age of 60 (or 65 for Reservists), subject to your continued suitability for service.

Your Careers Coach can advise on how ROSO will relate to your chosen stream.

Additional Requirements

Physical Requirements

Each aircraft type has its own weight and height limitations however to be appointed to undergo pilot training, you must be able to meet the PC21 anthropometric limits. However if you are not sitting in a cockpit the weight and height imitations are the same as the general entry standards.

Speech

Good communication is critical for all OA streams, so your speech must be clear and free from impediment.

Physical Requirements

A detailed evaluation of your suitability to become part of the OA family 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 Test Battery (OATB). 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 not only designed to evaluate OA applicants in order to determine their suitability to undergo aviation training, but it is also designed to give applicants a better understanding of all of the streams within the OA family. Because all Officer Aviation Candidates (OACs) undergo some training at RAAF Base East Sale, East Sale is the perfect place for the ASP to be conducted as it allows you to be able to experience what it will be like to live on the very base that you will be training at. You’ll get firsthand experience of the training, recreational and accommodation facilities at the RAAF Base East Sale as well as the opportunity to talk with students and instructors at the Air Academy (AirA). Aviation aptitude is assessed using the Military Aviation Cognitive Assessment System (MACTS), which is computer based, and is conducted over two four-hour sessions.

On the afternoon of the second day of the ASP, ACMC staff will debrief you on your MACTS results and they will advise you which progression options are available to you. If you want to proceed with the option/s available, you will be invited to attend a RAAF Officer Selection Board (ROSB), 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 ROSB 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

Only Australian Citizens are permitted to serve in the ADF.

Find out more on the 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: 17 Weeks

Immediately upon joining the Air Force, direct entry officers will normally undertake the Initial Officer Course of 17 weeks duration. This is a live-in course completed at RAAF Base East Sale, located 220 kilometres east of Melbourne (VIC).

The major elements of the course involve introduction to military life, Air Force Values and attitudes, Ground Defence and Weapons training, Leadership and Personal Development, Communication Skills and Air Force Operations studies.

Further details on officer training are available on the Officers' Training School website or refer to the Joining Instructions.

The information on the website and in the Joining Instructions will provide you and your family with enough information to arrange your personal affairs before appointment in the Air Force and give you an overview of the structure and requirements of the Initial Officer Course.

During Initial Officer Training and Initial Stream Employment Training, members may be required to pay a contribution towards meals, accommodation and utilities.

Employment Training

Air Academy.

Regardless whether you do your Initial Officer Training at ADFA or Officer Training School, your aviation career will start at RAAF Base East at the Air Academy (AirA). You will know when you are appointed whether you will be starting down the Mission Training Pathway or the Pilot Training Pathway.

The training for all OA streams starts at the Air Academy (AirA) at RAAF Base East Sale. Despite the seven different streams, There are two initial training pathways into the AirA; the Mission Training Pathway, which leads to Air Battle Manager, Air Mobility Officer, Air Traffic Controller, Maritime Patrol and Response Officer and Weapon Systems Officer, and the Pilot Training Pathway that leads to Fast Jet Pilot and Fixed Wing Pilot. For Mission, the first course at the AirA is Mission Elementary Course whereas for Pilot the first course at the AirA is Pilot Basic Course. On appointment you will know if you are starting on the Mission or Pilot training pathway.

Mission Training Pathway.

Regardless of whether you ultimately want be an Air Battle Manager (ABM), Air Mobility Officer (AMO), Air Traffic Controller (ATC), Martitme Patrol and Response Officer (MPRO), or Weapon Systems Officer (WSO) your first course at the AirA will be Mission Elementary Course. The 12 week Mission Elementary Course, which is conduted by the Air Mission Training School (AMTS) contains a classroom-based foundational aviation knowledge phase and a simulator-based technical selection phase. At the end of Mission Elementary Course you will commence training that is specific to your stream. For more information on each stream, follow the links above.

Pilot Training Pathway.

No matter if you want to ultimately be a Fast Jet Pilot (FJP) or a Fixed Wing Pilot (FWP) you will start your military flying career with the Pilot Basic Course at Number 1 Flying Training School (1FTS) at RAAF Base East Sale. The Pilot Basic Course is 24 Weeks in duration and has about 60 hours of flying and simulation. On the successful completion of training at 1FTS you will head to Number 2 Flying Training School (2FTS) at RAAF Base Peace to undergo Pilot Intermediate Course. The Pilot Intermediate course is approximately 36 weeks duration with 135 hours of flying and simulation. At the end of 2FTS you will stream to FJP or FWP. For more information on each stream, follow the links above.