Airmen or Aviators?

Australian Aviation’s chief pilot, Christian “Boo” Boucousis, and World of Aviation’s Hannah Dowling discuss the RAAF’s controversial name change

In April, the Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld, revealed the RAAF would replace the term ‘airmen’ with ‘aviators’ to mark its transition into its second 100 years. AIRMSHL Hupfeld said the change was due to the Air Force struggling to “fully explain who we are”, but it has been met with both praise and criticism from the rank and file. Here, we present two different views on the RAAF’s big debate. 

Christian “Boo” Boucousis

Christian “Boo” Boucousis, ex-Hornet pilot for the RAAF 

Technically, the definition of aviator is of an aircraft pilot, and aviatrix is a female aviator. That’s historically what we’ve used. Now, over time, aviators morphed into the word pilot. So, in some ways, it’s like, great, and when we’re talking airmen in the RAAF, we’re now talking about everyone. Do I personally care whether someone’s called an aviator or an airman? No, it doesn’t faze me at all. These words have been around long enough to be gender nonspecific. 

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