RAAF lifts beard ban – but fluff needs grooming – Australian Aviation

Pilots of Squadron Number 76 show their beards in support of “Decembeard” in 2020 (Defense)

The RAAF has lifted its long-standing ban on beards – but only for well-groomed facial hair.

From November 1st Air Force members are now permitted to wear facial hair provided they maintain a clean, groomed, and professional appearance and meet health and safety requirements.

“As the Air Force, we need to make sure we continue to evolve and modernize our practices,” said incoming Air Force Chief Rob Chipman.

“This includes creating greater choice for our employees, consistent with societal norms, wherever we are able and appropriate.

“This change will not impact the critical capabilities we deliver or the high standards we set for ourselves as an organization.”

Previously, RAAF personnel were not allowed to wear facial hair, except on specific occasions such as “Movember”.

Policies regarding facial hair vary between the Army, Navy and RAAF, with permission for naval personnel to grow facial hair.

The Army announced in 2019 that it would also seek to change its facial hair policy.

The change is part of the RAAF’s effort to change its culture for the modern age after the first 100 years, having previously changed the gendered term ‘aviator’ to ‘aviator’.

“Of all the work that has gone into developing our Air Force culture, the most difficult dilemma has been fully explaining who we are,” then-Air Force Chief Air Marshal Mel Hupfield said over dinner 100th anniversary of the RAAF.

“We understand well enough what we are and what we do – but we’ve never quite managed to successfully articulate who we are. We are all aviators.

“As the Air Force, we were 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 we do, we are first and foremost aviators. All of us, because of what we do and what we believe in. This connects us.”

The change marks part of the RAAF Our Air Force, our culture Program based on the update of the Air Force Strategy 2020.

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