Selection for aircrew training in the South African Air Force is rigorous, with only the best candidates eventually receiving their wings. Of approximately 4 000 who apply every year, only about 30 will be chosen.
To be selected for the ‘preselection phase’, the following minimum requirements for pilots and navigators must be complied with:
- Be a South African citizen or relinquish any other citizenship;
- Age between 18 and 24 (or not older than 26 years if a graduate);
- Not be older than 28 years upon commencement of practical flying training;
- Currently busy with or successfully completed Grade 12;
- Mathematics and Physical Science requirements as detailed below;
- Pass English at Grade 12 or an equivalent level;
- Be 100% medically fit for flying (i.e., classified G1K1, such test to be conducted as part of the selection process);
- Have 6/6 vision without correction (ie, no need of spectacles, laser 12 correction or contact lenses);
- Have no hearing impairment, have no need of hearing aids);
- Not have any hearing impairment (have no need for hearing aids);
- Minimum height: 1600mm, Maximum height: 1900mm
- Buttock-heel length 1 035 mm to 1 343 mm;
- Body weight between 53 kg and 102 kg;
- Sitting eye height 730 mm to 896 mm, sitting knee height 490 mm to 653 mm;
- Must be willing to relocate and to participate in deployments both in South Africa and abroad if required to do so;
- Must not have a criminal record; and
- Be recommended by a selection board.
A candidate’s current academic performance will determine whether he/she is eligible to either apply for the post of the Pupil Pilot/Navigator training or whether he/she will have to successfully complete the DoD Youth Foundation Training Programme (YFDT PROG) before commencing with flying training.
To be considered for direct entry to the Flying Training Programme, candidates must have full Matric exemption of which they have passed English and a second language, Mathematics and Science as described below.
Mathematics and Physical Science requirements
Candidates must have obtained any one of the following:
- National Senior Certificate (Grade 12): level 4
- N4: 60% or higher
- N5 or N6 or University first year: 50% or higher
Period of service
Three year Core Service System (CSS) contract for all pupil pilots or navigators, including Basic Military Training, Officers Formative Course, Military Certificate Course (at the Military Academy), Ground School and Flying phase.
When they qualify as pilots or navigators in the three-year period (wings date), they receive a thirteen-year contract to serve as a pilot or navigator in the Air Force.