Recruitment of personnel for the Australian Flying Corps began on 30 December 1911 with an advertisement in the Commonwealth Gazette. The call was for the appointment of two competent mechanics and aviators. Since then, recruitment has played a vital role in providing personnel to meet the changing needs of the RAAF.
This initial advertisement was one of the few seen prior to World War I calling for men for the Australian Flying Corps (AFC). The AFC was usually supplied with men who had either enlisted for the Army or who were recruited specifically for their trade skills.
With the disbandment of the AFC at the end of World War I, recruiting ceased until the formation of the RAAF on 31 March 1921. At the time of formation the RAAF had a strength of 151 personnel, of whom 21 were officers. It was clear that to achieve the Air Board's recruitment goal of 108 officers and 791 other ranks, large-scale recruitment would be required. As early as March 1921 advertisements were placed in newspapers across Australia seeking applicants for the Air Force. The use of newspaper advertisements was the main method of recruitment in the years preceding World War II.
Today, technology plays a major role in encouraging people to join the Services. Various media resources are used to get the message across, including television, radio, press, cinema and internet advertising, all of which are directed from Canberra as part of a national strategy. This national strategy encompasses all three Services of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and, over the last few years, recruitment campaigns have concentrated on the positive sides of service life, such as the career security, quality of training, and the financial benefits.
Similar to the rallies of World War II, recruiting staff attend careers expos held at educational institutions and other public events including airshows, major sporting events and the Royal Melbourne Show to gain the widest possible public exposure for ADF careers.
The downsizing of the ADF in recent years has reduced the budget and the extent of recruiting. However, the basic principle of supply and demand still governs the amount of recruiting and the particular methods used to fill quotas in various branches and musterings.
Soon after induction into the RAAF, recruits begin to be issued with the many necessities required during their Service careers. A multitude of items, from uniforms to toothbrushes, suitcases to stationery, are required. Over the years, some of the individual items have changed due to new materials or changes in uniform design, however, today's new recruits receive a range of items very similar to their Service 'ancestors'.
Prizes, Trophies and Awards
Prizes play an important part in RAAF training. They provide recognition of outstanding performance by individual trainees and can be certificates, books, medals, shields, trophies or a sword. The Sword of Honour was one of the three prizes awarded to RAAF Academy cadets on graduation. The sword is awarded to the graduate who, by personal example and demonstrated leadership, has exercised the greatest influence on fellow cadets. The first Sword of Honour was awarded in 1951 to Officer Cadet D. N. Robertson, who was later killed in action in Korea. The sword on display, the fourth awarded, was awarded to a member of the Red Sales aerobatic team who was killed in 1962 when all four of the team's aircraft crashed near East Sale.back to top
All RAAF personnel are required to complete basic weapons training annually. This training includes weapons safety, stripping and cleaning the weapon, dealing with failures and stoppages, and marksmanship practice. The target displayed is known as figure 11, and is typical of those used on RAAF firing ranges. All RAAF personnel, excluding aircrew, have Airfield Ground Defence as a secondary duty in times of conflict, and as such, familiarisation with the basic weapons is essential.
Made under licence in Australia from a Belgian design, the L1A1 Self-Loading Rifle (SLR) was the standard rifle used by the RAAF from 1962 until the introduction of the F88 Steyr in the early 1990s. The SLR is a 7.62 mm (.308 inch) calibre weapon, with a 20-round magazine, and weighs 4.31 kg (empty).back to top
A simulator is a device designed to re-create, as closely as possible, the actual conditions that a trainee would experience in reality when carrying out the task they are being trained to perform. Simulators play an important role in training today's Air Force pilots, navigators and air traffic controllers.
The first flying training simulator used by the RAAF was the Link Trainer. Ordered in 1938, the Link was designed to assist trainee pilots' instrument flying skills, radio navigation and radio communication procedures. The early Link and later jet version were used by the RAAF until 1957.
Today the RAAF has a simulator for each aircraft type in service. These simulators are complex, computer-driven machines, which accurately reflect the motion, sights and sounds perceived by a pilot in flight, in addition to replicating the cockpit and controls of the particular aircraft type.back to top
In addition to the aircraft themselves, there are many essentials required for aircrew personnel under training. Each theory class has its own set of textbooks that have changed with the training syllabus, as well as flight manuals and technical publications. In addition, training aids are used for familiarisation with aircraft systems and components. Students are also exposed to maps, charts and flight planning documentation as they progress to more advanced phases of their training course.back to top