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There’s never a dull moment as a Parachute Jump Instructor (PJI) in the Air Force. From conducting static line training courses to advanced free-fall training and a host of other responsibilities, you will find it an exhilarating and adrenalin-charged career.

  • Service
    Air Force
  • Specialisation
  • Starting Trade Training
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About the role

Jumping out of a plane can be a challenge for some people – for you it comes with the territory. In the course of your duties as a PJI, you will be required to teach members of the New Zealand Defence Force to make descents ranging from 800 to 12,000 feet in various situations. One day, you could be teaching pilots and other aircrew how to handle parachutes should they need to bail out, the next day you could be teaching Army personnel how to descend into enemy territory.

You will act as a dispatcher for parachuting sorties, carry out drop zone safety officer duties, and conduct display descents as part of the RNZAF Parachute Display Team, Kiwi Blue.

Career progression and training

Basic Training

Job Training

Upon successful enlistment into the Air Force you’ll be posted to RNZAF Base Woodbourne (near Blenheim). Here you’ll 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

You must complete a range of courses to become a PJI, including the RNZAF Instructional Techniques Course, Basic Ram-air Static Line Course, Low Level Static Line Course, Free-fall Course, and a Dispatcher Course. Next, you’ll undergo a four-month Parachute Jump Instructor Course before being awarded your PJI’s brevet.

You’ll be expected to achieve Free-fall Instructor Category ‘A’ status within four years of commencing aircrew training.

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Salary and benefits

Careers in the Air Force 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.


Under Initial Training


Starting Trade Training


Future Potential Earnings

Figures updated on July 1st 2023

Benefits and allowances

Earn a competitive salary while training or learning your trade, along with additional allowances for time spent in the field, at sea, overseas, or deployed on operations.

In addition to salary and allowances, other benefits of joining the New Zealand Defence Force include:

Access to your Service marae or tūrangawaewae

Sponsored tertiary study programmes at all levels

Free access to gyms and swimming pools on camp and bases

Opportunities to travel

Free and subsidised medical and dental care

Subsidised food and accommodation on camps and bases

Free and subsidised insurance cover

Help to buy a home and save for retirement

Entry requirements



Fitness and Medical


Period of Service


  • If you're new to NZDF: An NZPIA B License with a minimum of 200 jumps (or international equivalent).
  • If you're currently serving: RNZAF Senior Trade qualified (or service equivalent).
  • You must also meet the citizenship & security requirements to gain SV security clearance for this trade.

3 years secondary school. Note, qualifications may be used to assess trade suitability.

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

There are strict citizenship and security requirements to gain the required SV 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.


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