As a Navy Helicopter Loadmaster, you are a key member of a Seasprite helicopter crew, within 6 Squadron, RNZN. Your office is an advanced and agile aircraft designed to operate in a range of extreme environments all over the world.

  • Service
  • Specialisation
  • Location
    RNZAF Base Auckland
  • Starting Salary
navy helicopter loadmaster landscape
navy helicopter loadmaster square v2

About the role

The Navy’s helicopters are crewed by Navy personnel and maintained by Air Force personnel; Navy Pilots, trained by the RNZAF, fly and crew the Super Seasprite helicopters, Navy Observers, trained by the Royal Australian Navy, manage the mission and Navy Helicopter Loadmaster's (HLM), perform varied tasks on-board from rescue hoists to aerial photography; load lifting and vertical replenishment.

As a Navy Helicopter Loadmaster, you are a key member of a Seasprite helicopter crew, within 6 Squadron, RNZN. Your office is an advanced and agile aircraft designed to operate in a range of extreme environments all over the world.

The types of tasks your crew will be involved in are wide ranging. You’ll work with the Pilot and Observer to ensure the mission is completed safely and effectively.

Tasks are time critical in their execution, so you will be trained to quickly analyse the situation, determine a course of action and communicate it effectively to achieve the mission.

Job on base

6 Squadron is based at RNZAF Base Auckland in Whenuapai and is one of the force elements under the command of the Air Component Commander (ACC), Headquarters Joint Forces New Zealand. Whilst embarked, you will be under the command of the Maritime Component Commander (MCC), Headquarters Joint Forces New Zealand. 

The majority of your time will be spent on flying missions, but you will spend some time on base preparing for missions or carrying out training activities to enhance your trade knowledge and your core military skills (weapons drills, first aid, survival escape and evasion techniques).

As a Helicopter Loadmaster, you are required to maintain your technical knowledge of the aircraft and the way it is operated. You will also work on projects, and conduct secondary duties required to keep the Squadron running effectively. There is time for exercise and sports to maintain your fitness.

Job on deployment

The helicopters can be deployed from RNZAF Base Whenuapai to Navy ships TE KAHA, TE MANA, CANTERBURY, OTAGO and WELLINGTON. When on-board frigates TE KAHA and TE MANA, the aircraft fulfill a combat and surveillance role as well as providing transport and vertical replenishment capability. When deployed on-board multi-role CANTERBURY, and offshore patrol vessels OTAGO and WELLINGTON the aircraft are primarily tasked to provide surveillance, reconnaissance, transport and vertical replenishment capabilities.

You and your crew will contribute towards the overall NZDF mission, you may find yourself flying around the globe at 260kph and 50ft above ground or the sea, being the ‘eyes and ears’ for the Pilot and Observer both to keep the aircraft and crew safe, and to search for people in need of rescue. You could also find yourself looking along the tail section of the aircraft as it descends into a clearing, making sure it is safe to land.

Career progression and training

Career progression
Basic Training
Job Training
Ongoing Training

You will be required to complete Basic Common Training at HMNZS PHILOMEL, Auckland, before moving onto leadership training and specialist aircrew courses at RNZAF Bases Auckland and Ohakea. These will teach you escape and evasion techniques in survival situations, aviation medicine, principles of flight, and mathematics – all crucial skills for your Helicopter Loadmaster role. On completion of this initial training you will progress to Helicopter Basic Course to learn the basics on the A109 helicopter and earn your brevet.

After the Helicopter Basic Course you will be streamed into working as aircrew for Seasprite aircraft, and you’ll undertake the appropriate ‘operational conversion’ training. Now you begin your career as an operational Helicopter Loadmaster. Later in your career, you may be selected as an instructor where you will be able to develop and train new Helicopter Loadmasters as they join.

(12 weeks) Location: RNZAF Base Woodbourne

Upon successful enlistment into the Air Force you will be posted to RNZAF Base Woodbourne (near Blenheim) for your Recruit Course. Here you will do 12 weeks of basic military training to find out if you’ve got what it takes to be in the Air Force, and learn various subjects including:

  • Organisation and Administration
  • RNZAF Customs and Protocol
  • Drill and Parades
  • Military Field Skills and Weapon Training
  • First Aid, and Search and Rescue Techniques
  • Physical Fitness
  • Teamwork and Self Discipline

This course includes a wide variety of topics including Aviation Medicine and Human Factors, Principles of Flight, and the basics of being Aircrew. The two week survival course will see you test your limits in the sea and bush environments


You will begin with the A109 ground school, with maintenance specialists to learn the technical aspects of the aircraft. Then the Helicopter Loadmaster instructors will take over and teach you ground theory, flying orders and operating procedures crucial to helicopter aircrew. Your flying phase will be intense and challenging. You will have the support of the Helicopter Loadmasters on 3 Squadron along with your course mates to get you through. The course has mostly practical elements, with one on one instructor time working as part of a crew. You will be taught how to give direction to manoeuvre the aircraft within confined areas, operate the rescue hoist, wear night vision goggles and carry underslung loads. Through hard work and determination you will be recognised as a Helicopter Loadmaster posted to 6 Squadron.


This course will expand on your Helicopter Loadmaster basic skills, to become a SEASPRITE Helicopter Loadmaster in the operational context. You will learn specialist trooping, search and rescue skills, and everything the Squadron does to operate this advanced medium utility aircraft.

To remain competent you will regularly conduct training in all aspects of the Seasprite’s capabilities. Along with the Helicopter Loadmaster training, you will conduct specific training in warfare, helicopter underwater escape, advance first aid and rescue techniques. You will continually be provided with the skills to be a successful serviceperson, both within your specialist trade and as a member of the NZDF.

navy helicopter loadmaster full width 02

Salary and benefits

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.




Starting Salary


Higher Rank

Benefits and allowances

There are many additional benefits to being in the Defence Force, that will make your money go further.

For example, on top of your basic salary you can expect ‘Military Factor’. This provides you with significant extra financial rewards because of the commitment you’ve made to serve your country.

Free medical and dental
Access to subsidised equipment on base
Subsidised food on base
Competitive superannuation, up to 4% with KiwiSaver
Sponsored tertiary study programmes at all levels

Entry requirements

Fitness and Medical
Period of Service

You must have achieved NCEA level 2 with a minimum of 12 credits in each of English, Maths and a Science subject.

Find out more about the NCEA levels and certificate requirements

  • You must be medically fit for service.
  • Colour perception restrictions may apply.

There are strict citizenship and security requirements to gain the required TSV security clearance for this trade.

Find out if you’re eligible here.


There may be a return of service period for this trade. 

Please contact our 0800 number or talk to your Candidate Experience Facilitator for more information.


navy generic base for roles

Ready to start your Navy career?

Other jobs you might like

You can also browse jobs by specialisation to narrow down your search, or find your ideal fit with the Passion Finder tool.

Back to top