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.

The next 10 years will see significant changes in the Air Force as the Service transitions to a networked force. The Air Force seeks to translate an information advantage, enabled in part by information technology, into a competitive warfighting advantage through the robust networking of well-informed geographically dispersed forces. The networked, 5th Generation Air Force will require highly motivated and professionals to make real time command and control decisions in a 3-dimensional environment, effectively being a mission manager who will ensure the mission is successfully completed in the most efficient and safe manner, as well as being the Pilot. We use the term “Officer Aviation Family” to describe all of the RAAF’s commissioned officers who are responsible for the application of Air Power.

The Officer Aviation Family is made up of a number of operational streams. The RAAF pilot streams are Fast Jet Pilot (FJP); Fixed Wing Pilot and in the future Remote Pilot (RP). Army and Navy also have pilots but they fly rotary Wing aircraft (Helicopters) for more information on Army and Navy pilot review their job pages. For information on the other operational streams in the RAAF please review the Mission Aircrew and Mission Controller job pages.

Fast Jet Pilot (FJP)

Fast jet pilots in the RAAF fly state of the art combat aircraft. The Air Force is currently acquiring F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) to replace our F/A-18A (classic hornets).  The JSF is a 5th generation fighter that employs stealth technology along with high performance. FJPs also team up with Weapon Systems Officers on the F/A-18F Super Hornet or the EA-18G Growler. The operations that FSPs are involved in are varied and complex in nature and include air-to-air combat and air-to-surface weapons employment. As a JFP you will be at the heart of Australia's 5th Generation Air Force.

Fixed Wing Pilot (FWP)

There is more to the Air Force than just fighter aircraft. Without the support of other fixed wing aircraft like the E-7A Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft (AEW&C) or the KC30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) the fighters operations would be restricted. FWPs also fly the P-8A Poseidon aircraft performing a variety of missions including anti-surface strike, anti-submarine warfare, search and rescue; and maritime Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions. A vital component of joint operations is often air transport, and FWPs fly aircraft varying in size and missions from the B350 King-Air through to the giant C-17 Globemaster.

The Future

Remote Piloted Aircraft (RPA); dedicated Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft; and space-based technologies will join with our modern, capable platforms as part of a 5th generation Air Force. Officer Aviation personnel (Mission Aircrew, Mission Controllers and Pilots) are at the centre of the RAAF’s Air Power application today and are the future leaders of the Air Force.

Key Information

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 base pay you'll receive a variety of allowances - which are detailed below - plus superannuation at 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.


Salary Calculator

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 and E-7A Wedgetail

RAAF Base Richmond: C-130 Hercules

Northern Territory

RAAF Base Tindal: F/A-18 Hornet

Queensland

RAAF Base Amberley: F/A-18F Super Hornet, F/A-18G Growler, C17-A Globemaster III, C-27J Spartan, and KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport

South Australia

RAAF Base Edinburgh:P-8A Poseidon

Victoria

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

Western Australia

RAAF Base Pearce: Pilatus PC-21 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. This allows an applicant to complete three years at ADFA and then Initial Officer Training (IOT) and Initial Specialist 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 an Officer Aviation (Mission Aircrew, Mission Controller and Pilot) 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 

The completion of 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 (Mission Aircrew, Mission Controller and Pilot) can choose to study any degree offered at ADFA by the UNSW except for four-year engineering degrees.  

 

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 complete your tertiary studies at ADFA prior to completing Initial Specialist Employment Training (ISET). The length of ISET varies between streams.

Although you will have an Initial Minimum Period Of Service (IMPS) of seven years associated with your tertiary studies at ADFA, this will be served concurrently with the nine year Return of Service Obligation (ROSO) you incur from the commencement of your operational conversion.

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

Because of the weight and height requirements of ejection seat equipped aircraft, all Air Force pilots must meet the Aviation Class 1 medical standards (see below).

Weight/BMI Aviation Class 1:

Weight – Nude body weight of between 44 and 105kg (measured in underwear).

BMI – General entry standards.

Height Aviation Class 1:

Height – General entry standards. Sitting Height – 78 to 101cm. Buttock to knee length – 50 to 67cm.

Speech

Have speech that is 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 Test Battery (OATB) 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 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 Officer Aviation job types; Mission Aircrew, Mission Controllers, and Pilot. Because all Officer Aviation Candidates 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 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

Only Australian Citizens are permitted to serve in the ADF.

If you are a permanent resident of Australia, the ADF may consider a temporary waiver of the citizenship requirement if the position for which you are applying cannot be filled by an applicant who meets all the citizenship requirements, and then only in exceptional circumstances. You will be required to obtain Australian Citizenship as early as possible following enlistment or appointment.

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).

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

Employment Training

Initial Specialist Employment Training (ISET)

All Air Force pilot trainees will complete the Pilot Basic Course at 1FTS at RAAF base East Sale and the Pilot Intermediates Course at 2FTS at RAAF Base Pearce.  Both of these courses are on the PC21. Only those pilots being streamed to Fast Jet will complete the advanced course on the Hawk Lead-in Fighter.

Pilot Basic Course. Pilot Basic Course is 24 Weeks in duration about 60 hours of flying and simulation. 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.

Pilot Intermediate Course. Pilot Intermediate Course is approximately 30 weeks duration with 135 hours of flying and simulation. Aside from developing the flying skills learnt on Pilot Basic Course, students will also be introduced to formation flying and low-level navigation. Trainees will also learn how to operate an aircraft and not just fly it. Those trainees not progressing to the Hawk will undergo a Fixed Wing operational conversion.

Pilot Advanced Course.  The Hawk Lead-in fighter is used on the Pilot Advanced Course so that trainees start to get use to the speeds they will be flying in the JSF, F/A-18F Super Hornet or F/A-18G Growler. Tactical flying and weapons application are also introduced in the advanced course.

Operational Conversions. The operational conversion (OPCON) is the last step in the ISET continuum. Once you complete your OPCON you will be ready to contribute to the application of Air Power and the defence of Australia.

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

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 base pay you'll receive a variety of allowances - which are detailed below - plus superannuation at 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.


Salary Calculator

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, and E-7A Wedgetail

RAAF Base Richmond: C-130J Hercules

Northern Territory

RAAF Base Tindal: F/A-18 Hornet

Queensland

RAAF Base Amberley: F/A-18F Super Hornet, F/A-18G Growler, C17-A Globemaster III, C-27J Spartan and KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport

South Australia

RAAF Base Edinburgh: P-8A Poseidon

Victoria

RAAF Base East Sale: King Air 350 and Pilatus PC21 training aircraft

Western Australia

RAAF Base Pearce: Pilatus PC21 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.


Additional Information

If accepted to the GPS, you will be reimbursed for tuition, textbook and training costs for up to $175,000.00 upon graduation from your course.

You will join other female candidates of similar calibre, receiving support, mentorship and companionship through your training programs and career with the Air Force.

To be selected for the scheme, you'll need to pass aptitude and fitness tests, and successfully complete the Aviation Screening Program and Officer Selection Board.

For more information on the aptitude testing, review the requirements below.

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 53 years of age. This allows an applicant to complete Initial Officer Training (IOT) and Initial Specialist 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 an Officer Aviation (Pilot/Mission Aircrew/Air Traffic Controller (Mission Controller) career 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.

For appointment under the Air Force Graduate Pilot Scheme a candidate must have either completed a Bachelor of Aviation or have completed the non-flying subjects of the degree at an approved institution.

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

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).

Your Careers Coach can advise on how IMPS applies to GPS.

Additional Requirements

Physical Requirements

Because of the weight and height requirements of ejection seat equipped aircraft, all Air Force pilots must meet the Aviation Class 1 medical standards (see below).

Weight/BMI Aviation Class 1:

Weight – Nude body weight of between 44 and 105kg (measured in underwear). BMI – General entry standards.

Height Aviation Class 1:

Height – General entry standards. Sitting Height – 78 to 101cm. Buttock to knee length – 50 to 67cm.

Speech

Have speech that is 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 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 Officer Aviation job types; Mission Aircrew, Mission Controllers, and Pilot. Because all Officer Aviation Candidates 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 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

Only Australian citizens are permitted to serve in the ADF.

If you are a permanent resident of Australia, the ADF may consider a temporary waiver of the citizenship requirement if the position for which you are applying cannot be filled by an applicant who meets all the citizenship requirements, and then only in exceptional circumstances. You will be required to obtain Australian Citizenship as early as possible following enlistment or appointment.

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

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

Employment Training

Initial Specialist Employment Training (ISET)

All Air Force pilot trainees will complete the Pilot Basic Course at 1FTS at RAAF base East Sale and the Pilot Intermediates Course at 2FTS at RAAF Base Pearce. Both of these courses are on the PC21. Only those pilots being streamed to Fast Jet will complete the advanced course on the Hawk Lead-in Fighter.

Pilot Basic Course. Pilot Basic Course is 24 Weeks in duration about 60 hours of flying and simulation. 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.

Pilot Intermediate Course. Pilot Intermediate Course is approximately 30 weeks duration with 135 hours of flying and simulation. Aside from developing the flying skills learnt on Pilot Basic Course, students will also be introduced to formation flying and low-level navigation. Trainees will also learn how to operate an aircraft and not just fly it. Those trainees not progressing to the Hawk will undergo a Fixed Wing operational conversion.

Pilot Advanced Course. The Hawk Lead-in fighter is used on the Pilot Advanced Course so that trainees start to get use to the speeds they will be flying in the JSF, F/A-18F Super Hornet or F/A-18G Growler. Tactical flying and weapons application are also introduced in the advanced course.

Operational Conversions. The operational conversion (OPCON) is the last step in the ISET continuum. Once you complete your OPCON you will be ready to contribute to the application of Air Power and the defence of Australia.

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

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 base pay you'll receive a variety of allowances - which are detailed below - plus superannuation at 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.


Salary Calculator

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, and E-7A Wedgetail

RAAF Base Richmond: C-130J Hercules

Northern Territory

RAAF Base Tindal: F/A-18 Hornet

Queensland

RAAF Base Amberley: F/A-18F Super Hornet, F/A-18G Growler, C17-A Globemaster III, C-27J Spartan, and KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport

South Australia

RAAF Base Edinburgh: P-8A Poseidon

Victoria

RAAF Base East Sale: King Air 350 and Pilatus PC21 training aircraft

Western Australia

RAAF Base Pearce: Pilatus PC21 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.

Maximum age on entry is 48 years of age. This allows an applicant to complete Initial Officer Training (IOT) and Initial Specialist 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 an Officer Aviation (Mission Aircrew, Mission Controller, Or Pilot) 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.

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 Specialist Employment Training (ISET). The length of ISET varies between streams.

You will incur a nine year return of Service Obligation (ROSO) from the commencement of your operational conversion.

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 serve 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 occupation.

Additional Requirements

Physical Requirements

Because of the weight and height requirements of ejection seat equipped aircraft, all Air Force pilots must meet the Aviation Class 1 medical standards (see below).

Weight/BMI Aviation Class 1:
Weight – Nude body weight of between 44 and 105kg (measured in underwear). BMI – General entry standards.

Height Aviation Class 1:
Height – General entry standards. Sitting Height – 78 to 101cm. Buttock to knee length – 50 to 67cm.

Speech
Have speech that is 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 Test Battery (OATB) 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 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 Officer Aviation job types; Mission Aircrew, Mission Controllers, and Pilot. Because all Officer Aviation Candidates 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 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

Only Australian Citizens are permitted to serve in the ADF.

If you are a permanent resident of Australia, the ADF may consider a temporary waiver of the citizenship requirement if the position for which you are applying cannot be filled by an applicant who meets all the citizenship requirements, and then only in exceptional circumstances. You will be required to obtain Australian Citizenship as early as possible following enlistment or appointment.

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: 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.

The information on the website 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 Specialist Employment Training, members may be required to pay a contribution towards meals, accommodation and utilities.

Employment Training

Initial Specialist Employment Training (ISET)

All Air Force pilot trainees will complete the Pilot Basic Course at 1FTS at RAAF base East Sale and the Pilot Intermediates Course at 2FTS at RAAF Base Pearce. Both of these courses are on the PC21. Only those pilots being streamed to Fast Jet will complete the advanced course on the Hawk Lead-in Fighter.

Pilot Basic Course will be 24 weeks in duration about 60 hours of flying and simulation. 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.

Pilot Intermediate Course. Pilot Intermediate Course is approximately 30 weeks duration with 135 hours of flying and simulation. Aside from developing the flying skills learnt on Pilot Basic Course, students will also be introduced to formation flying and low-level navigation. Trainees will also learn how to operate an aircraft and not just fly it. Those trainees not progressing to the Hawk will undergo a Fixed Wing operational conversion.

Pilot Advanced Course. The Hawk Lead-in fighter is used on the Pilot Advanced Course so that trainees start to get use to the speeds they will be flying in the JSF, F/A-18F Super Hornet or F/A-18G Growler. Tactical flying and weapons application are also introduced in the advanced course.

Operational Conversions. The operational conversion (OPCON) is the last step in the ISET continuum. Once you complete your OPCON you will be ready to contribute to the application of Air Power and the defence of Australia.

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.