RSAF Air Grading (A True Story!)

RSAF Air Grading.

Before pilot trainees commence their basic flying training, they have to first go through the RSAF air grading course. It is basically a course for the RSAF to select trainees with potential to undergo the full pilot training course. Aggressiveness, mental agility, sharp reflexes, and resilience. These are some of the traits required to succeed as a military pilot. And these are exactly the qualities that the RSAF’s Qualified Flying Instructor (QFIs) look out for when assessing whether a trainee possesses the potential to be a qualified pilot.

The RSAF air grading course is conducted at the Air Grading Center (AGC) in Tamworth, Australia. There, the QFIs try to draw out the best from each trainee and exercise astute judgment in assessing their potential. In general, the job of the QFIs is to test the trainees to the limit. It is a tough and demanding course. Trainees learn about aircraft systems and the theory of flying on the ground, before putting those knowledge to use in the air. It is a daunting task because they have to remember what they had learnt and put those theory into practice under a high stress environment when operating the aircraft. Besides aptitude, successful trainees are those who are highly motivated and give nothing less than 100% effort in preparation.

Even though the course is tough, it is not all bad. Because they went through “adversity” together, trainees bond strongly during the course. In addition, they get to experience living independently overseas. And did I mention they get opportunities to explore the country as well?! Most of the time, trainees who have gone through the course look back and see it as one of the most unforgettable experiences of their lives. One RSAF cadet pilot candidly shares his Air Grading (pilot training) journey in the video below. Enjoy!


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