About the Job

After you complete your Initial Military Training, you will start Basic Pilot Course at No 1 Flying Training School on the Pilatus PC 21 at RAAF Base East Sale. After this, you will continue your ab-initio pilot training at No 2 Flying Training School at RAAF Base Pearce near Perth.

If you are selected for Fixed Wing Pilot during your training, your future aircraft type will be drawn from the largest selection of aircraft in the Air Force. Your final allocation of aircraft type will be based on your preference, your performance during training and availability of positions.

What can you fly?

The Airbus KC-30 Multi-Role Tanker Transport: provides vital air-to-air refuelling capability to fighter aircraft in addition to transporting personnel within Australia and overseas.

The E-7A Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft: this converted Boeing 737 aircraft with advanced radar capabilities is Air Force’s ‘eyes in the sky’ with a command and control capability.

The P-8A Poseidon: this converted Boeing 737 aircraft performs a variety of missions including anti-surface strike, anti-submarine warfare and search and rescue. Another key role for the Poseidon is to undertake maritime Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance missions.

C-17A Globemaster III: this strategic airlifter allows Australia to rapidly deploy troops, supplies, combat vehicles, heavy equipment and helicopters anywhere in the world.

C-130J Hercules: medium-sized tactical airlifter which can deliver cargo to airfields with short unsurfaced runways, and airdrop cargo and paratroopers by parachute.

C-27J Spartan: bridges the gap between Army helicopters, such as the CH-47F Chinook, and larger Air Force aircraft, such as the C-130J Hercules and C-17A Globemaster III.

Special Purpose Aircraft: Australia’s VIP fleet comprises the Boeing 737 Business Jet and the Dassault Falcon 7X.

B350 King Air: This navigational training aircraft also assists in personnel transport.

Click on this link for more information on the other streams within Officer Aviation.


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.

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.


Locations

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

Queensland

No. 33 Squadron, RAAF Base Amberley
No. 35 Squadron, RAAF Base Amberley
No. 36 Squadron, RAAF Base Amberley

New South Wales

No. 2 Squadron, RAAF Base Williamtown
No. 37 Squadron, RAAF Base Richmond

Australian Capital Territory

No. 34 Squadron, RAAF Base Fairbairn

Victoria

No. 32 Squadron, RAAF Base East Sale

South Australia

No. 11 Squadron, RAAF Base Edinburgh


Requirements

Age

You can start your application at sixteen and a half years but you must be at least seventeen years on the day you join the Air Force.

The maximum age that you can join is sixty years, minus the period of obligation.  For example, if your obligation is ten years, you can join at fifty years. 

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 assessment 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 three years of 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).

Your nine year Return of Service Obligation (ROSO) will not commence until you start your Fixed Wing Conversion Course (known in service as the operational conversion course). An operational conversion is the course you undertake after your basic courses and is specific to the aircraft type you are allocated to. This means that if you decide that OA is not for you, or you are unsuccessful in your pilot Initial ISET prior to operational conversion, you will not incur a 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.

You may apply to separate from Defence provided you do not have any outstanding service obligation.

Additional Requirements

Physical Requirements

Each aircraft type has its own weight and height limitations however to be appointment to undergo pilot training, you must be able to meet the PC21 anthropometric limits.

Speech

Good communication is critical in this job, so your speech must be clear and free from impediment.

Detailed evaluation

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 ADF Careers 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.

Aptitude

The Job Opportunities Assessment (JOA) is completed as part of the application process to join the Australian Defence Force (ADF). Some jobs may also require you to complete a further evaluation at a later date.

The JOA is used by Defence to establish suitability for ADF entry, and then identify jobs that best match your abilities.

Further information about the JOA can be found in the Guide to the Job Opportunities Assessment for the ADF.

To get a feel for the types of questions that are used in the Job Opportunities Assessment and how they will look on your screen some examples can be found in the Job Opportunities Assessment Example Questions.

Citizenship

To serve in the ADF you must be an Australian Citizen.

If you are a permanent resident of Australia, the ADF may consider a temporary deferral 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 ADF Careers Centre.

Security Requirements

The Department of Defence requires ADF employees to have a security clearance appropriate to their employment.

A process of background checks, collection of relevant information and if required, interviews, enables the Australian Government Security Vetting Agency (AGSVA) to make an informed assessment of an applicant's suitability for a security clearance.

The minimum security clearance level required is Negative Vetting Level 1 (NV1), and current policy requires applicants to have a checkable background for the previous 10 years.

This means applicants must provide credible referees (non-family members) who are able to provide information about the applicant covering an extended period of time. Required information for an NV1 includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Residence
  • Employment
  • Education
  • Financial information
  • Travel

Some ADF jobs may require a higher level of security clearance such as Negative Vetting Level 2 (NV2) or Positive Vetting (PV). Your individual circumstances will determine the number and complexity of the questions and the supporting documents required for these levels.

Australian Citizenship is a requirement for a security clearance and a clearance will only be granted to a non-citizen in exceptional circumstances.

The security clearance is critical to an applicant's successful progression through the recruiting process. It is strongly recommended that all applicants action the Security Clearance Package (ePack) and provide the required documentation without delay to provide the best opportunity to commence training and be employed in their preferred employment category.

For more detailed information on the security vetting process and specific clearance level requirements set by AGSVA, please refer to the AGSVA website.

Support will be provided by DFR during the initial application process.

Training

Military Training

Location: Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA), ACT 

Academy Military Education and Training (AMET) is programmed at the beginning and end of each year and for six hours each week during academic sessions. There is significant emphasis on creating experience-based leadership opportunities in the training activities.
During AMET you'll undertake training in the following:

• Leadership 
• Drill and Ceremonial 
• Military Communication
• Equity and Diversity
• First Aid and Health
• Military Law
• Physical and Recreational Training
• Weapon Training

Follow the link for further details. 

You'll also have breaks in study to go on academic field trips, military tours, excursions, and adventure training exercises. 

Employment Training

Pilot Basic Course.

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. 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 maneuvers 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.

Following Pilot Basic Courses you will be posted 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. Aside from developing the flying skills learnt on Pilot Basic Course, you will also be introduced to formation flying and low-level navigation. You will also learn how to operate an aircraft and not just fly it. On successful completion of Pilot Intermediate course you will be award your Pilot Badge.

Further Training

Operational Conversions. Where you will undergo your operational conversion (OPCON) will depend on which aircraft you are posted to after graduating from 2FTS:

  • KC-30A (No. 33 Squadron). Located at RAAF Base Amberley (just outside of Brisbane)
  • C-27J Spartan (No. 35 Squadron). Located at RAAF Base Amberley (just outside of Brisbane)
  • C-17 Globemaster (No. 36 Squadron). Located at RAAF Base Amberley (just outside of Brisbane)
  • E-7A Wedgetail (No. 2 Squadron). Located at RAAF Base Williamtown (just outside of Newcastle)
  • C-130J Hercules (No. 37 Squadron). Located at RAAF Base Richmond (just outside of Sydney
  • P-8 Poseidon (No. 11 Squadron). Located at RAAF Base Edinburgh (just outside of Adelaide)
  • KA-350 King Air (No. 32 Squadron). Located at RAAF Base East Sale

Once you complete your OPCON you will be become a fully qualified FWP and you will be ready to contribute to the application of Air Power and the defence of Australia.


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.

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.


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. Therefore your early posting will likely be to:

Queensland

No. 33 Squadron, RAAF Base Amberley
No. 35 Squadron, RAAF Base Amberley
No. 36 Squadron, RAAF Base Amberley

New South Wales

No. 2 Squadron, RAAF Base Williamtown
No. 37 Squadron, RAAF Base Richmond

Australian Capital Territory

No. 34 Squadron, RAAF Base Fairbairn

Victoria

No. 32 Squadron, RAAF Base East Sale

South Australia

No. 11 Squadron, RAAF Base Edinburgh


Requirements

Age

You can start your application at sixteen and a half years but you must be at least seventeen years on the day you join the Air Force.

The maximum age that you can join is sixty years, minus the period of obligation. 

For example, if your obligation is nine years, you can join at around 49 years. Your starting age needs to provide you enough time to progress through the training continuum before the Return of Service Obligation is applied.

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 assessment 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).

You are not under any obligation to continue to serve until you graduate from your aircraft conversion. This means up until this point, 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. On graduation from FWP conversion you will incur a nine year Return of Service Obligation (ROSO), backdated to the day you started your conversion course.

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 appointment to undergo pilot training, you must be able to meet the PC21 anthropometric limits.

Speech

Good communication is critical in this job, so your speech must be clear and free from impediment.

Detailed evaluation

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 ADF Careers 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.

Licence Requirements

At a minimum, candidates must hold a valid Australian State or Territory provisional/probationary C Class Drivers Licence upon enlistment/appointment. Candidates with suspended or cancelled licences will not be eligible to join until the suspension or cancellation has been lifted or has expired.

Aptitude

The Job Opportunities Assessment (JOA) is completed as part of the application process to join the Australian Defence Force (ADF). Some jobs may also require you to complete a further evaluation at a later date.

The JOA is used by Defence to establish suitability for ADF entry, and then identify jobs that best match your abilities.

Further information about the JOA can be found in the Guide to the Job Opportunities Assessment for the ADF.

To get a feel for the types of questions that are used in the Job Opportunities Assessment and how they will look on your screen some examples can be found in the Job Opportunities Assessment Example Questions.

Citizenship

To serve in the ADF you must be an Australian Citizen.

If you are a permanent resident of Australia, the ADF may consider a temporary deferral 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 ADF Careers Centre.

Security Requirements

The Department of Defence requires ADF employees to have a security clearance appropriate to their employment.

A process of background checks, collection of relevant information and if required, interviews, enables the Australian Government Security Vetting Agency (AGSVA) to make an informed assessment of an applicant's suitability for a security clearance.

The minimum security clearance level required is Negative Vetting Level 1 (NV1), and current policy requires applicants to have a checkable background for the previous 10 years.

This means applicants must provide credible referees (non-family members) who are able to provide information about the applicant covering an extended period of time. Required information for an NV1 includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Residence
  • Employment
  • Education
  • Financial information
  • Travel

Some ADF jobs may require a higher level of security clearance such as Negative Vetting Level 2 (NV2) or Positive Vetting (PV). Your individual circumstances will determine the number and complexity of the questions and the supporting documents required for these levels.

Australian Citizenship is a requirement for a security clearance and a clearance will only be granted to a non-citizen in exceptional circumstances.

The security clearance is critical to an applicant's successful progression through the recruiting process. It is strongly recommended that all applicants action the Security Clearance Package (ePack) and provide the required documentation without delay to provide the best opportunity to commence training and be employed in their preferred employment category.

For more detailed information on the security vetting process and specific clearance level requirements set by AGSVA, please refer to the AGSVA website.

Support will be provided by DFR during the initial application process.

Training

Military Training

Location: Officers' Training School (OTS), RAAF Base East Sale, VIC
Duration: 17 weeks 

Phase 1: Military Introduction. During this phase training you will be introduced to life in the military. The themes of values based behaviour, self-leadership, team membership and followership are explored through collaborative problem solving, self-mastery and resilience building activities. Weapons qualification and martial skills are included in this phase.

Phase 2: Education. During this phase of training you will be introduced to leading military teams, effectively managing a workplace and applying critical thinking skills.  The themes of moral courage, moral judgement and social mastery are explored through scenario-based experiential learning opportunities and facilitated decision making. Air and space power immersion in the joint environment is included in this phase.

Phase 3: Application. During this phase of training you will consolidate what you’ve learned so far you will apply those skills in practical leadership exercises in a simulated combat environment. The themes of values-based behaviour and the development Officer Qualities are explored through the application of transformational leadership. 

You will be challenged early, well supported and physically prepared. Outside of the classroom you will participate in physical training, adventure training and visit other Air Force bases to contextualise what you have learnt. Upon graduation, you will undertake specialist employment training or proceed direct to you workplace.

Follow the link for further details. 
 

Employment Training

Pilot Basic Course.

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. 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 maneuvers 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.

Following Pilot Basic Courses you will be posted 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. Aside from developing the flying skills learnt on Pilot Basic Course, you will also be introduced to formation flying and low-level navigation. You will also learn how to operate an aircraft and not just fly it. On successful completion of Pilot Intermediate course you will be award your Pilot Badge.

Further Training

Operational Conversions. Where you will undergo your operational conversion (OPCON) will depend on which aircraft you are posted to after graduating from 2FTS:

  • KC-30A (No. 33 Squadron). Located at RAAF Base Amberley (just outside of Brisbane)
  • C-27J Spartan (No. 35 Squadron). Located at RAAF Base Amberley (just outside of Brisbane)
  • C-17 Globemaster (No. 36 Squadron). Located at RAAF Base Amberley (just outside of Brisbane)
  • E-7A Wedgetail (No. 2 Squadron). Located at RAAF Base Williamtown (just outside of Newcastle)
  • C-130J Hercules (No. 37 Squadron). Located at RAAF Base Richmond (just outside of Sydney)
  • P-8 Poseidon (No. 11 Squadron). Located at RAAF Base Edinburgh (just outside of Adelaide)
  • KA-350 King Air (No. 32 Squadron). Located at RAAF Base East Sale

Once you complete your OPCON you will be become a fully qualified FWP and you will be ready to contribute to the application of Air Power and the defence of Australia.