), is the
lowest rank in the Royal Air Force
and the air forces
of several other
Aircraftman ranks below Leading Aircraftman and has a NATO rank code of
It is presently a training rank only and no airmen in
productive service hold this rank. Aircraftman do not wear any rank
The rank was introduced on the formation of the RAF in 1918,
replacing the Royal Flying Corps
rank of Air Mechanic 2nd Class
. There were two
grades: Aircraftman 1st Class (AC1) and Aircraftman 2nd Class (AC2;
also colloquially known as an "AC plonk").
Royal New Zealand Air Force
In the Royal New Zealand Air
, the rank is known as "Aircraftsman", regardless of the
person's sex, in line with Seaman in the Royal New Zealand Navy
Royal Air Force
In RAF slang, Aircraftmen are sometimes called "erks". The word
"erk" is likely a phonetic spelling of an east-Londoner's
pronunciation of the abbreviation, "airc".
The spelling "Aircraftsman", despite being seen even in official
documents, is incorrect in the RAF.