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Air Force Careers
The South African Air Force (SA Air Force) offers a wide variety of careers, of which only a few are discussed here in some detail.

Permanent Force Term Service System For Volunteers

According to the term ‘service system for volunteers’, the minimum period of service is 24 months, up to a maximum of six years. This is a golden opportunity for those people, who wish to gain some military experience in the SA Air Force, while rendering a valuable service in defending the country.

Requirements for Enlistment

A person can be considered if he is at least 17 years old, a South African citizen, not bound to a specific area, medically fit and recommended by a SA Air Force selection board.

Basic Regimental Training

The duration for the basic regimental training is 12 weeks and it takes place at the Air Force Gymnasium in Pretoria. Training commences in January, April and July each year. During this period members receive training in the art of shooting, drilling, physical education and various other military subjects.

Specialist Training

Members who have successfully completed their basic regimental training, receive specialist training in one of the following fields: airspace control operators, food handlers, administrative, technical and supply material support clerks, firemen, load masters (ground), load masters (air), intelligence, protection services, SA Air Force Police, technical assistants (flight line), telecommunication operators, bowser-drivers and construction machine operators.

Service Benefits

Members receive various service benefits such as mess facilities and medical services.

SA Air Force Band

The SA Air Force Band gives performances at various events, such as music concerts, military parades, dances and tours. Candidates should have a minimum of a Grade 10 Certificate, but a National Senior Certificate is preferred. Candidates should also have a minimum standard of a Grade VI (UNISA) or equivalent qualification, and pass a musical audition. Members must undergo basic training at the Air Force Gymnasium. They also receive theoretical and practical music training.



Candidates interested in selection for university training in engineering must be:

- South African citizens
- between the ages of 16 and 23 years
- single
- National Senior Certificate graduate with matric exemption
- meet the entrance requirements for a BSc degree
- attain the minimum prescribed technical aptitude during the selection process
l selected by the SA Air Force Officer's selection board


Selected members are appointed during January of each year. They receive basic regimental training and have to complete an officer's orientation course, a technical induction course and a university preparation course. The successful completion of these courses is a prerequisite for commencement of university training. Members are enrolled at the Universities of Pretoria and Stellenbosch. Engineers are trained in the following fields: electronic, electrical, mechanical, industrial, aeronautical, civil and metallurgical engineering. Members have contractual obligations towards the SA Air Force.



Those wanting to be selected as pilots, must be:

- South African citizens
- between the ages of 17 and 25
- National Senior Certificate graduates, with Mathematics
- willing to undergo a selection test


The duration of the training is 18 months and consists of three phases, namely regimental training (eight weeks), officers' orientation (eight weeks) and flight training. The flight training takes place at the flying school at Langebaanweg. It includes theoretical training in subjects such as Aerodynamics and Navigation, as well as practical flight training. After successful completion of this training, persons receive their wings, after which they are assigned to a squadron for further training.

University training

After obtaining their wings, candidates may apply for further studies at the Military academy, or a BSc degree at an approved university.

10-year service period

Candidates must sign a contract of a minimum of 10 years service with the SA Air Force.

The SA Air Force offers many more career opportunities in fields such as catering, airspace control, personnel and finance, which cannot all be discussed here.
SA Air Force
Section Personnel Procurement
Private Bag X 199
Pretoria, 0001

Air Force Headquarters
SAAF Recruiting Centre
Private Bag X350
Pretoria, 0001

Satisfying Aspects
- having a very responsible job
- successfully meeting challenging emergencies when they occur
- earning well, with good fringe benefits
- good advancement opportunities

Demanding aspects
- working shifts
- having to pass a yearly physical examination
- the work can be very stressful at times

- skill in interpreting information and making calculations
- ability to make quick, accurate decisions in a busy working environment
- a good memory
- ability to think quickly and remain calm in all situations
- good organizational skills and ability to prioritize and work well under pressure
- ability to work well with others
- emotionally and mentally mature and stable
- responsible, conscientious, adaptable and self-confident
- audible, clear voice and a good telephone manner
- good hearing and good eyesight (with or without glasses)
- normal colour vision
- ability to look at and scan computers, radar presentations and flight plans continuously for long periods of time
- good health and able to pass a medical examination every year
- computer skills

School Subjects
National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course
National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course

Each institution will have its own minimum entry requirements.

Compulsory Subjects: Mathematics
Recommended Subjects: Economics

Air traffic controllers receive a combination of theory and practical training before they qualify. Once qualified, they receive ongoing training.

The Department of Transport and the SA Defence Force train air traffic controllers in their employ.

Theoretical training is given at Johannesburg International Airport and Waterkloof Air Force Base and practical training at major airports throughout the country, or at air bases in the case of the Defence Force.

The Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS) College is situated at Johannesburg International Airport. After successfully completely the course offered, students can register as professional air traffic controllers and can work as area, approach or radar controllers.

Air traffic controllers (in all specializations) must obtain a valid traffic controller's licence. In addition, controllers must obtain a facility rating for the type of facility to which they are assigned. Air traffic controllers must take and pass yearly physical examinations to re-qualify for their positions.

- Department of Transport
- SA Air Force
- various airports

Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS)    
Private Bag X 15
Kempton Park, 1620
Tel: (011) 961-0100      
Fax: (011) 392-3868

SA Air Force
Private Bag X 199
Pretoria, 0001
Tel: (012) 312-2911      

South African National Defence Force (SANDF)    
Media Liaison Officer:
Department of Defence Information Centre
Tel: (012) 355-6372/3   
Fax: (012) 355-6398
E-mail: or