RAAF dumps ‘airmen and airwomen’ for ‘aviators’

The Royal Australian Air Force has replaced the term ‘airmen and airwomen’ with ‘aviators’ as it enters its second century.

FILE PHOTO: Royal Australian Air Force air movements operators and loadmasters load a pallet of humanitarian aid on board a C-17A Globemaster. Photo by Corporal Jesse Kane.

Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld revealed this change on 31 March at a centenary dinner for past and present aviators.

Air Marshal Hupfeld said that as the Royal Australian Air Force charted its path forward, he wanted to instil a stronger sense of identity.

“Of all the work that has been done in developing our air-force culture, the most challenging dilemma has been fully explaining who we are,” Air Marshal Hupfeld said.

“We understand well enough what we are and what we do – but have never quite managed to successfully articulate WHO we are.

“We are ALL aviators.

“As an air force, we are born of the air and space – it is our home, and the place from which we serve our nation.

“Our trade is aviation.

“In everything that we do, we are aviators first and foremost – all of us, by virtue of what we do and what we believe.

“It is what binds us together.”

Air Marshal Hupfeld cautioned against confusing the role of pilots with RAAF personnel’s common and collective purpose to the nation – “to think, act and imagine from the perspective of the skies and space above us.”

The change was timed with an announcement to revamp Royal Australian Air Force culture through the Our Air Force, Our Culture program, which builds on the foundation of previous measures, and closely aligns with the update to the Air Force Strategy launched in 2020.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: I wholeheartedly endorse this news on the grounds I always hated RAAF’s double-dipping, politically-correct ‘airmen and airwomen’ – when Navy and Army referred only to sailors or soldiers without fear of gender discrimination – but agree that ‘aviator’ is very contentious.

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Brian Hartigan

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11 thoughts on “RAAF dumps ‘airmen and airwomen’ for ‘aviators’

  • 19/04/2021 at 6:40 pm
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    I can just see it now, RAAFies out at parties be like ‘What do I do? I’m an Aviator!’
    Impressed party goer: ‘Wow! That’s super cool! What do you fly?
    RAAFie: *Cough* A desk *Cough*

    Reply
  • 19/04/2021 at 3:36 pm
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    Just hope that the honours and awards department issues the Australian emergency medal to those of the defence force were stationed in Darwin 74/75 when cyclone tracy hit. Those who were stationed and those who were there to help in the clean up
    Ian John Kennett OAM
    92 Gamble st
    Quirindi 2343

    Reply
  • 19/04/2021 at 2:51 pm
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    As for the Army or Navy, What about Craftsman, Signalman or Patrolman dont they have Craftswomen, Signalwomen or Patrolwomen?
    Same goes for Navy Midshipman, Leading Seaman, Able Seaman or Seaman dont they have Midshipwomen, Leading Seawomen, Able Seawomen or Seawomen?
    At least the RAAF did acknowleged the gender difference (Aircraftwoman and Leading Aircraftwoman) as a person not a number on the board. Just because they are an Aircraftwoman or Aircraftman does not change the requirements of the job they do. The more politically correction you do the more complicated things will get. Did any body ask the Aircraftwomen or Aircraftmen if they wanted the change or did a small group just decide?

    Reply
  • 19/04/2021 at 12:49 pm
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    Another example of the current leadership across the ADF being totally out of touch. Time to ditch these Dinosaurs.
    To get an effective culture change they need to eliminate elitism, the tribal and banal inter-service rivalry and knee jerk meaningless reactions and decisions.
    Understand what is really going on in our society, get up to date and bring the ADF into the present.

    Reply
  • 19/04/2021 at 2:31 am
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    So the RAAF intends to completely redefine the accepted concept of what an ‘aviator’ is and apply it to all RAAF personnel and ranks? The accepted term of ‘aviator’ is ‘the operator or pilot of an aircraft’. Is this an April fools joke?

    Reply
  • 18/04/2021 at 5:49 pm
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    Just make calling them all raafie’s an official title and be done with it.

    Reply
  • 18/04/2021 at 4:25 pm
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    The bottom line is aviators fly, airmen and airwomen are involved with flight but a clerk does not fly. Involved with but not doing. Is that too hard for the RAAF to understand?

    Reply
  • 18/04/2021 at 12:39 pm
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    Today’s Latin lesson:

    Aviator (M)
    Aviatrix (F)

    A Latin loan word with gender attached. Saying “aviator” is gender-free is 21st Century revisionism.

    David (ex Army not RAAF)

    Reply
  • 18/04/2021 at 9:59 am
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    i was an airman,i am an airman ,and will always be an airman .

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    • 19/04/2021 at 3:35 pm
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      Just hope that the honours and awards department issues the Australian emergency medal to those of the defence force were stationed in Darwin 74/75 when cyclone tracy hit. Those who were stationed and those who were there to help in the clean up
      Ian John Kennett OAM
      92 Gamble st
      Quirindi 2343

      Reply
  • 18/04/2021 at 9:41 am
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    “… the most challenging dilemma has been fully explaining who we are,” Air Marshal Hupfeld said.”
    Bullshit. What level of cretin doesn’t identify the uniform?
    “As an air force, we are born of the air and space – it is our home, and the place from which we serve our nation.”
    More bullshit. No one in the force enlists before Air Cadets. I am yet to see barracks blocks hovering above the ground.

    Reply

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