Royal Australian Navy

© Commonwealth of Australia


Helicopter Pilots (known in the Navy as Navy Pilots) fly rotary wing aircraft. They are critical to the Navy capability and operate either from the Navy's Air Station at HMAS Albatross, Nowra, NSW or embarked on a variety of ships at sea.


Royal Australian Navy Pilot Requirements

All applicants must attend a multi-stage application process to join the RAN. The process begins by completing an online application form and progresses through a number of detailed assessment stages. The Navy will also look for any issues that could have an impact on your ability to carry out your specialist role during your Navy career.



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

Applicants must have completed Year 12 with passes in English, Mathematics (Tertiary Entrance Level, general maths is not acceptable) and two other academic subjects. Mathematics in Society or similarly modified Mathematic subjects are not acceptable.


Additionally, applicants must have passed a physical science related subject (physics, chemistry or multi-strand science) at Year 12.


There is no Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) for previous practical or theoretical aviation studies available for the ADF Pilots' course. All successful applicants will fly exactly the same syllabus sorties regardless of previous experience.


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


There are many conditions which can be easily managed in civilian life and cause no difficulty, but which are exacerbated under the physical and psychological demands of military life. The ADF needs to ensure it selects individuals who can safely complete military training and serve anywhere in the world without suffering further injury or harm. To do this, a full medical check is needed as part of the application process. The entry medical standards have been developed in consultation with specialists who have a detailed understanding of Navy life.


The medical process is quite detailed and is broken up into components as you progress through the recruiting process.


Health & Fitness requirements

During the application process you’ll be assessed through:

  • completion of a questionnaire relating to your medical history,
  • a physical examination, and
  • a Pre-entry Fitness Assessment (PFA). During the PFA you’ll need to be able to complete a specified number of exercises.


Before acceptance into the ADF you will also be tested for a variety of viral infections, including HIV and Hepatitis B and C. The presence of any of these infections could adversely affect your application.



Nude body weight of between 55 and 100kg



Standing: 163cm to 193cm

Sitting Height: 100cm maximum.

Buttock to knee length: 67cm maximum.

Buttock to heel length: 122cm maximum


Body Mass Index (BMI)

BMI is a correlation of height and weight. Candidates who do not meet the minimum and maximum BMI criteria will not be accepted into the service. The maximum allowable BMI for entry to the RAN is 29.9 for Pilots. BMIs of less than 18.5 are considered too low as they present a risk of injury during training.


Swim Test

You must also pass the swim test and physical fitness test to graduate from your Navy Training and to proceed to the Safety of Life at Sea Training that is a requirement for Recruit School and Officer training.



The minimum standards for both uncorrected and corrected vision vary for different roles and are determined by Navy medical staff.

Whatever role you’re applying for, if you wear glasses or use contact lenses you will need you to bring your them along to all your medical assessments. For contact lenses you will need to stop wearing them for a specified period before your medical.

If necessary, talk to your optician about what your eye prescription is and whether it may affect your application.



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.


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.


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


Only Australian Citizens are permitted to serve in the ADF.


Security Requirements

The Department of Defence requires ADF entrants to attain a security clearance appropriate to their avenue of entry.

Detailed Evaluation

A detailed evaluation of your suitability to become a Navy 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 Aviation Screening Program will be managed by the Aviation Candidate Management Centre (ACMC) and will take place at RAAF Base East Sale, VIC.

Pay and Conditions/Promotion

When you join the Navy, your period of service will depend on your entry method and will vary between eleven and fourteen years. Many people extend their career in the Navy well beyond the number of years they join for initially. But if you find that the Navy really isn’t for you, it is possible to make arrangements to leave early.


Initial Entry Officer training for all graduate and non-graduate Officers is conducted at the Royal Australian Naval College (RANC), HMAS Creswell at Jervis Bay on the NSW south coast.


The New Entry Officer Course (NEOC) is 22 weeks in duration and is designed to equip Officers with general Service skills common to all employment qualifications and develop the necessary attributes for the efficient management of Navy personnel and assets.


In the Navy 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. Your salary will then increase as you gain more experience, complete flying training and achieve promotion to a higher rank in the service.


In addition to base pay you'll receive a variety of allowances plus superannuation at a far higher rate than you're likely to find in the civilian world.


In addition to your salary you will receive free medical and dental care, substantial housing and accommodation subsidies While on operations, you won’t pay anything for your accommodation or food – and you could even receive an extra allowance for living overseas. You will also receive Basic Recreational Leave, possible additional leave based on your duties as well as Long Service Leave.


With time, you could have opportunities to earn promotion through the ranks. Some promotions early in your career might be based on your time and satisfactory service. However, as you progress, promotion will be based on merit in competition with your peers: whether you’ve got what it takes to take on the extra responsibility given to more senior ranks.


For current information, visit:  Navy - Defence Jobs.

© The Honourable Company of Air Pilots, Australia Incorporated