Aircraftman (AC) or aircraftwoman (ACW) is the lowest rank in the Royal Air Force and the air forces of many other Commonwealth countries.

The aircraftman rank has a NATO rank code of OR-1 and ranks below Leading Aircraftman. This is currently only a training rank and is not used by airmen in productive service. Aircraftmen are devoid of any rank insignia.


In 1918, when the RAF was formed, the RFC rank of air mechanic second class was replaced by two aircraftman ranks, aircraftman second class (AC2) and aircraftman first class (AC1). The two ranks eventually became just aircraftman.


Aircraftmen are sometimes called "erks" in RAF slang, based on the phonetic spelling of an East Londoner's pronounciation of the shortened "airc".A common mispelling (which is even seen in official documents) of aircraftman is aircraftsman.

In the RAF, there are four aircraftman ranks, aircraftman, leading aircraftman, senior aircraftman and (in technical trades) senior aircraftman (technical), the latter is also known as junior technician.

Aircraftman is a rank used only during training and is devoid of insignia, once promoted to leading aircraftman, airmen recieve an insignia with a two bladed propeller and are sent into productive duty.

RAF RanksEdit