Helicopter pilot

Navy Helicopter Pilots fly one of the most advanced aircraft in New Zealand, the Kaman SH-2G Super Seasprite. As a Naval Pilot you will work within a team responsible for carrying out the aircraft’s mission, which could be surface or sub-surface warfare, air logistics, medical evacuations, or search and rescue.

Pilots are selected from civilian applicants and from Warfare Officers within the fleet. You can enter in the non-University or Graduate Entry Officer scheme. You can also enter as a Warfare Officer and train as a Bridge Watch-keeper, then change over to pilot after four to seven years.

Those with civilian flying experience are welcome to apply.

On completion of Junior Officer Common Training, Bridge watching and Flight training you will be posted to 6 Squadron at Whenuapai Air Force Base. Whilst there your duties and responsibilities revolve around the enhancement and on-going development of all flight crew relative to 6 Squadron. Because of the nature of being a pilot and the multi-million dollar equipment you will use, you are responsible for the continuous enhancement of your own abilities as well as those in the squadron with you.

Naval Aviation is an integral part of any Ship’s deployed capability.  As such, for any significant deployment of an aviation capable ship, an aircraft can be expected to deploy and therefore you can expect to be a part of it.  Recent deployments in the last ten years, beyond the standard ship deployments to SE Asia, have included peace keeping operations in Timor Leste, deployments to the Arabian Gulf as well as disaster relief deployments in the South Pacific.  Additionally, there is the potential for deployment as a military officer to any one of the numerous overseas operations the Defence Force is committed to.

Once you complete the Junior Officer Common Training you will need to qualify as a Bridge Watchkeeper before commencing your pilot training. Once fully qualified on the SH-2G Helicopter, you can expect to advance to the role of Flight Commander onboard a ship. You will be responsible for all aspects of the ship's helicopter operations for extended periods away from New Zealand.

A ship's flight crew usually consists of eight RNZAF technicians, the Navy Pilot, the Airborne Tactical Officer and a helicopter crewman. The level of responsibility on your part is substantial as you will act as Aviation Officer, advising the Captain on all aviation matters. The well being of the Flight Deck crew is also your responsibility and if all that is not enough you will normally act as the ship's Meteorology Officer.

As an experienced Aviator you may be given the option of becoming a Flight Instructor, which would involve a six month course at RNZAF Ohakea, followed by further courses to become a helicopter instructor.

Careers in the Navy are well-rewarded, as well as being diverse and exciting. As you become more experienced and move up through the ranks, gaining additional skills and qualifications, you will see your salary rise accordingly.

While undertaking Officer Training you will hold the Rank of Midshipman (see attached pay table). On graduation from your commissioning course your rank and pay will increase based on your trade speciality and qualification level.

  • You must be at least 17 years of age.
  • Meet the citizenship & security requirements to gain TSV security clearance for this trade.
  • You must be free of any criminal convictions.
  • A preliminary pilot selection test that includes general maths, maths reasoning and instrument comprehension. If you pass you will go onto the officer selection process which will include two stages: first the Aircrew Personnel Selection Board who will look for the right qualities and abilities to operate an aircraft. You will then appear before the Navy's Junior Officer Selection Board to test your overall leadership potential.

You must have achieved NCEA level 2 with a minimum of 18 credits each in level 2 English, Mathematics and a Science.

Find out more about the NCEA levels and certificate requirements

  • You must be medically fit for service.
  • Colour perception restrictions may apply.
  • Height limits will apply with the introduction of new or upgraded training aircraft. Individuals will be assessed for height limits as part of the application process.

Your training is some of the most thorough and advanced in the world. On completion of your training, you will be contractually obliged to carry out a return of service to the Navy for 10 years.

INITIAL OFFICER TRAINING

Upon successful enlistment into the Navy you’ll complete a five day induction course at Devonport Naval Base before you start the seven week Joint Officer Induction Course (JOIC) at RNZAF Base – Woodbourne. Once you march out of the JOIC you continue with the remaining 15 weeks of Junior Officer Common Training course (JOCT), which is back at the Devonport Naval Base. You will be exposed to various subjects and find out if you’ve got what it takes to be an officer in the Navy!


JOINT OFFICER INDUCTION COURSE (JOIC)

All NZ Defence Force (NZDF) Officer Cadets and Midshipman are required to complete this course which is designed to introduce the basic individual military skills required to continue on to your respective service Officer training courses. The course will give you a basic level of military skills including field-craft, weapon handling, navigation, drill, sea survival, battle-craft, seamanship, communications and an introduction to leadership. It is during JOIC that you will be introduced to the standards and discipline demanded of all members of the NZDF and the ethos and values required to be an Officer in the NZDF.


JUNIOR OFFICER COMMON TRAINING COURSE (JOCT)

The following are just some of the subject areas covered on JOCT:

  • RNZN customs
  • Drill and parades
  • Military law
  • Weapons training
  • Basic mariner training
  • Defence and strategic studies
  • Communication skills
  • Command, leadership and management


All NZ Defence Force (NZDF) Officer Cadets and Midshipman are required to complete this course which is designed to introduce the basic individual military skills required to continue on to your respective service Officer training courses. The course will give you a basic level of military skills including field-craft, weapon handling, navigation, drill, sea survival, battle-craft, seamanship, communications and an introduction to leadership. It is during JOIC that you will be introduced to the standards and discipline demanded of all members of the NZDF and the ethos and values required to be an Officer in the NZDF.


Upon successful completion of the JOIC, you will be posted to Officer Training School, Devonport to complete the JOCT Course. The JOCT course is 22 weeks in duration (which includes the 7 weeks JOIC) split over three phases:


PHASE ONE – NAVY INDUCTION

Trainees are instructed in basic service knowledge, discipline, parade and kit preparation. There is a focus on ‘followership’ and teamwork and on developing a high level of physical and mental fitness.

The aim of this phase is:

  • To ensure that trainees can perform as effective team members
  • To instil the Navy Core Values
  • To develop the competency behaviours required of a Junior Officer
  • To provide the basic skills and knowledge for service in the Navy

PHASE TWO – SEA QUALIFICATION AND ACADEMIC DEVELOPMENT

Phase two is focused on fitness for sea and academic development. The training provides trainees with the minimum knowledge and skills necessary to safely post to sea on a Navy Ship. The Sea Qualification Deployment is designed to give trainees an insight into life at sea and for staff to assess trainees in the sea going environment.

The aim is to:

  • Cement and build upon communal living skills
  • Gain an appreciation of the roles at sea
  • Confirm the trainees commitment to life at sea

Phase two also focuses on academic development. Trainees are lectured in Defence Communication topics such as service writing and oral communication. Officers are expected to have an understanding of wider national and defence policies, international relations and maritime doctrine.


PHASE THREE – LEADERSHIP

The final phase of JOCT has a strong leadership focus covering both theoretical and practical aspects. The trainees are put through a number of assessments. The assessments are scenario driven and provide the trainees with the opportunity to display their individual and combined skills.

After Junior Officer Common Training (JOCT) you will complete the Officer of the Watch (Bravo) course. The aim of this course is to teach the basic principles and processes of navigation and good bridgemanship, which includes experience in the bridge simulator and culminates in assessments at sea navigating a small naval vessel.

On completion of your OOW(B) course you will spend time aboard a navy ship to get the opportunity to familiarise and put your new skills into practice, or commence your tertiary studies if you are entering on the University scheme of training.

Once you are a qualified Officer of the Watch you will commence your pilot training alongside your Air Force counterparts at Ohakea and Whenuapai. You will gain comprehensive practical experience on fixed wing craft before moving to helicopters then ship borne helicopters.

After significant ship borne aviation experience, pilots will progress to the position of ship’s Flight Commander who is responsible for all aspects of embarked aviation operations.

As a Navy Pilot you will always be expected to be at the top of your game – nothing but perfect. To ensure that you are capable of delivering on this the RNZN and RNZAF will continuously train and develop your skills.

As an experienced Aviator you may be given the option of becoming a Flight Instructor, which would involve a six month course at RNZAF Ohakea, followed by further courses to become a helicopter instructor.

On completion of Officer of the Watch (B) all pilots head to Whenuapai to conduct their basic wings course. From that point on as part of 6 Squadron, Navy pilots remain at Whenuapai unless posted to sea.