Air Force Officer Āpiha Tauārangi

Air force officers train Air Force troops, manage field exercises and lead troops in combat, peacekeeping missions and disaster relief.  

Air force officers may do some or all of the following:

  • organise and conduct training
  • instruct and lead troops during training exercises and on deployment
  • budget, and manage resources assigned to them
  • operate and maintain Air Force equipment
  • help in search and rescue operations, and disaster relief efforts in New Zealand and overseas
  • train troops in fitness, first aid and combat.

Air force officers also have duties related to their area of specialisation. For example, air force pilots carry out tasks related to that role, such as preparing flight plans and flying aircraft.

Physical Requirements

Air force officers must pass Air Force fitness tests, so they need to be fit, healthy and strong, with good hearing and eyesight (with or without corrective lenses). Some positions require you to have normal colour vision.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for air force officers includes:

  • previous flying experience or work with planes
  • training as a soldier in the Territorial Force/Army Reserve
  • involvement in youth organisations such as Scouts, Young Eagles and Cadets
  • work or sporting experience in a team environment
  • experience in a trade, such as automotive mechanics, electrical engineering or mechanical engineering.

Personal Qualities

Air force officers need to be:

  • disciplined and organised
  • confident
  • careful and accurate, with an eye for detail
  • efficient and able to work well under pressure
  • able to manage and lead people
  • able to solve problems and make decisions
  • able to give instructions well.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for air force officers includes:

  • previous flying experience or work with planes
  • training as a soldier in the Territorial Force/Army Reserve
  • involvement in youth organisations such as Scouts, Young Eagles and Cadets
  • work or sporting experience in a team environment
  • experience in a trade, such as automotive mechanics, electrical engineering or mechanical engineering.

Subject Recommendations

NCEA Level 2 with a minimum of 18 credits in English, maths and science is required to be an air warfare officer or pilot. NCEA Level 3 is required to enter tertiary training for all other types of air force officers. Useful subjects include construction and mechanical technologies, digital technologies, maths, physical education and physics.

Air Force Officers can earn around $39K per year per year.

Air force officers may progress in rank to:

  • pilot officer
  • flying officer
  • flight lieutenant
  • squadron leader
  • wing commander
  • group captain
  • air commodore
  • air vice-marshal
  • air marshal.

Air force officers may specialise in: 

  • aviation
  • combat and security
  • engineering and technical trades
  • hospitality
  • intelligence, IT and communications
  • logistics and administration
  • medical and health.
Air Force Officer

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