Naval Airman Aircraft Handler

Service:Fleet Air Arm
Branch:Aviation
Level:Rating
Tactical
Naval Airman Aircraft Handler on flight deck with helicopter
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The role at a glance

What you’ll do

As a Naval Airman (Aircraft Handler), you’re responsible for safety whenever there’s aircraft on the deck or the ground. That means working with flight crews at Royal Naval Air Stations (RNAS), on our state-of-the-art warships, or even the new Queen Elizabeth Aircraft Carrier. It’s a physical job where you’ll work outside in all conditions, but by making sure that our jets and helicopters are in the right place at the right time, you’ll be playing a key role in providing Royal Navy’s airborne capability.

Your role

  • Your core responsibility is to ensure our aircraft are in the right place and ready for action when we need them.
  • On a ship, you’ll operate the lift that brings the aircraft out of the hangar before securing them to the flight deck. Sometimes you’ll be up against challenging weather conditions, so it’s an element of your role that requires real skill, judgement and perseverance.
  • During training you’ll develop the skills you need to fight fuel, hangar and aircraft fires. That means in the event of an emergency, everyone will look to you for guidance.
  • You’ll need to use all of your powers of concentration, every day. As you manoeuvre aircraft in to place, lives may be at stake. Any driving experience you have will be put to use as you form part of the team that keeps our aircraft flight ready.

What you’ll get

Skills for life

Qualifications you'll gain

  • Study for GCSEs, A-Levels, NVQs or even a degree, with funding from us
  • Gain specialist vocational qualifications as your career progresses

Skills you'll develop

  • Learn how to fight fuel, hangar and aircraft fires
  • Build on any existing driving expertise as you learn how to use the lift that manoeuvres our aircraft in to place

What you'll need

Eligibility

  • There is no minimum qualification requirement
  • Yo'll need to be aged at least 15 years and 9 months old when you apply, and under 37 years old when you begin Basic Training
  • You need to be over 16 years old on entry
  • Minimum height of 151.5cm and within the healthy range for Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • A British or Irish national, a Commonwealth citizen who has lived in the UK continuously for the 5 years prior to applying, or a dual national

Skills and interests

  • A passion for working with state-of-the-art aircraft
  • A keen attention to detail
  • Good hand-to-eye coordination
  • A willingness to learn new skills
  • An adventurous spirit
Check Eligibility

Starting your career

Joining process

Once you’ve confirmed your eligibility, the joining process is as follows:

  • Submit an application

    Once you’ve registered your interest, we’ll be in touch to discuss your options

  • Naval Service Recruitment Test (NSRT)

    You’ll be tested on general reasoning, verbal ability, numeracy and mechanical comprehension

  • Interview

    A formal interview to talk through your suitability for the role

  • Medical and eye tests

    These are quite comprehensive and must be completed by one of our Ministry of Defence-approved doctors

  • Pre-Joining Fitness Test (PJFT)

    This involves completing a 2.4km run on a treadmill within a certain time, at a fitness centre near you

  • Pre-Royal Nay Course (PRNC)

    This four-day induction to life in the Royal Navy is a pass or fail course

  • Start training

    Once you’ve passed a Security Check, you’ll be offered a place at HMS Raleigh


Initial training

Your Royal Navy career begins with 10 weeks’ basic training at HMS Raleigh, a shore base in Torpoint, Cornwall. The discipline, teamwork, organisational, firefighting and weapon handling skills you learn here will stay with you right through your career.

Aim to get yourself as fit as possible before you arrive. You’ll be doing a lot of physical exercise, and you’ll find it much easier if you’re already in shape. There’s also a swimming test, so if you can’t swim, make sure you learn by the time you join us.


Professional training

You’ll spend six months at the Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Culdrose in Cornwall, working in an aircraft hangar or a flight deck team. You’ll learn to use the lifts, mechanical handlers and chocks and lashings used on board ship. You’ll also learn to fight fuel, hangar and aircraft fires. When you’ve finished you’ll be posted to your first operational squadron.