SAQA All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.

National Certificate: Navigation 
49950  National Certificate: Navigation 
SGB Air Defence 
TETA - Transport Education and Training Authority  OQSF - Occupational Qualifications Sub-framework 
National Certificate  Field 08 - Law, Military Science and Security  Sovereignty of the State 
Undefined  134  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5  Regular-Unit Stds Based 
Passed the End Date -
Status was "Reregistered" 
SAQA 0695/12  2012-07-01  2015-06-30 
2016-06-30   2019-06-30  

In all of the tables in this document, both the pre-2009 NQF Level and the NQF Level is shown. In the text (purpose statements, qualification rules, etc), any references to NQF Levels are to the pre-2009 levels unless specifically stated otherwise.  

This qualification does not replace any other qualification and is not replaced by any other qualification. 


This qualification is aimed at persons who work or intend to work in the aviation industry as a navigator or related occupational fields, and who seek recognition for essential skills in aviation. It acts as a springboard from which learners may progress to becoming a commercial pilot, navigator instructor or aviation related ground school instructor.

The qualification will provide professional status to persons who practise within the discipline. It is designed to be flexible and accessible so that recipients of this qualification know about and will be able to conduct the essential operations in aviation.

Learners will be able to:
  • Work as part of a team in an aviation environment
  • Demonstrate understanding of environmental influences on aviation related sciences
  • Conduct aeronautical navigation
  • Conduct large aeroplane operations
  • Handle life-threatening situations in a military or aviation situation

    South African Air Force members will also be required to:
  • Conduct military aeronautical navigation

    Practitioners will generally carry out their role within the context of:
  • An aviation environment
  • An operational environment in the Department of Defence
  • Adequately equipped and serviceable aircraft
  • Coherent and interdependent relationships between air crew and air crew and ground crew


    Navigation relates to the improvement of system (refers to all influencing factors such as the environment, aircraft systems and human factors) management, aviation safety, mission accuracy and success, efficiency and effectiveness of flying an aircraft. In order to meet the requirements of the workplace it is important to be able to identify and recognise the competencies required by navigators and to identify how these relate to other aviation roles. There is a critical need to provide recognition to people who are able to conduct the essential operations associated with efficient and safe navigation.

    The majority of the candidates for this qualification are likely to be working in the South African Air Force, with the knowledge gained in this qualification being directly applicable to commercial pilots. Experienced navigators are also in general demand in the civilian aviation industry, and career opportunities include operational flying, civilian and military flight operations management.

    This qualification will give learners the opportunity to build on the skills, knowledge, understanding and experience they already have to earn a formal qualification in aviation, and may lead to the opportunity to become an aviation pilot, navigator instructor or an aviation manager. Learners will also be able to work in a high stress situation and to apply integrity, assertiveness, professional conduct and self-discipline. This qualification envisages a further reduction of risk in aviation, resulting in fewer incidents and accidents. Navigators are also key role players in search and rescue operations, providing humanitarian aid, environmental management, national defence operations and the promotion of aviation in the Southern African Developing and Economic Community region.

    This occupation is regulated by international organisations and through international agreements, which have been taken into account in the construction of this qualification. 

  • Mathematics at NQF level 4
  • Communication at NQF level 4, ideally in one of the internationally regulated aviation languages
  • Physical Science at NQF level 4
  • Computer Literacy at NQF level 3

    Recognition of prior learning:

    This qualification can be achieved wholly or in part through recognition of prior learning in terms of the defined exit level outcomes and/or individual unit standards.

    Evidence can be presented in various ways (such as flying logbooks and training files), including international and/or previous local qualifications, products, reports, testimonials mentioning functions performed, work records, portfolios, videos of practice and performance records.

    All such evidence will be judged in accordance with the general principles of assessment described above and the requirements for integrated assessment.

    Access to the qualification:

    Candidates applying for this qualification need to comply with prerequisite international medical requirements in order to perform the activities and functions of a navigator in an aircraft. Candidates who do not comply with the prerequisites may find difficulty in responding to the demanding environment encountered in aviation. 


  • Candidates must achieve all 63 fundamental credits listed.

  • Candidates must achieve all 54 core credits listed.

  • Candidates must achieve at least 17 credits of their choice from any of the available elective credits.

    Learners should choose unit standard ID 257136 (which replaces unit standard ID 120044) rather than 120044 to ensure that their competencies are up to date. However, learners who have completed 120044 can use it to obtain the minimum credits required to obtain the qualification. 

    1. Work as part of a team in an aviation environment.
    2. Demonstrate understanding of environmental influences on aviation related sciences.
    3. Conduct aeronautical navigation.
    4. Conduct aeroplane operations.
    5. Handle life-threatening situations in a military or aviation situation.
    6. Conduct military aeronautical navigation.

    Critical cross-field outcomes:

    This qualification addresses the following critical cross-field outcomes, as detailed in the unit standards:
  • Identifying and solving problems in which responses indicate that responsible decisions using critical and creative thinking have been made.
  • Working effectively with others as a member of a team, group, organisation or community.
  • Organising and managing oneself and one's activities responsibly and effectively.
  • Collecting, analysing, organising and critically evaluating information.
  • Communicating effectively using visual, mathematical and/or language skills in the modes of oral/written persuasion
  • Demonstrating and understanding of the world as a set of related systems by recognising that problem-solving contexts do not exist in isolation. 

  • Communication is clear and pitched at an appropriate level for the target audience.
  • Individual skills and competencies are identified in accordance with agreed criteria.
  • Individuals' personal strengths are utilised to enhance team coherence.
  • Legal requirements are identified and adhered to in all interactions with colleagues.

  • The principles of flight are explained in terms of their environmental influences on aviation.
  • Environmental conditions are explained in terms of the impact on the flight.

  • A flight route is planned in terms of given navigational methods.
  • The aeroplane is navigated along a given flight plan in accordance with allowable deviances.
  • Flight information is recorded in accordance with given specifications.

  • Long distance flights are planned in accordance with physical, environmental and legislative criteria.
  • Aircraft performance parameters are calculated.
  • Flight management systems are identified and used in accordance with manufacturer specifications.

  • Survival techniques are applied to emergency situations.
  • The method of conducting a search and rescue operation is explained in terms of roles and responsibilities.
  • Actions to take during emergency situations are identified in terms of initial and extended survival.

  • Resources are used in accordance with manufacturer specifications.
  • Flight procedures are designed for a given flight scenario.
  • Aircraft systems are explained in terms of the integration between components and this effect on the aircraft.

    Integrated Assessment:
  • Assessment should be carried out at regular intervals as well as at the end of the periods of study and should be offered in an integrated way. It is envisaged that learners will work at more than one unit standard at a time.
  • The achievement of applied competence of this qualification will be demonstrated if the learner is able to apply intelligence techniques in their respective streams for the effective planning of joint, combined and multi-national operations through the gathering and dissemination of intelligence.
  • Candidates must demonstrate the ability to engage in the operations selected in an integrative way, dealing with divergent and "random" demands related to these work operations, effectively. Evidence is required that the candidate is able to achieve the purpose of the qualification as a whole at the time of the award of the qualification. Integration of skills will be demonstrated through the achievement of the core operational standards.
  • Assessors should note that evidence of integration could well be presented by candidates when being assessed against the individual unit standards. Thus, there should not necessarily be separate assessments for each unit standard and then further assessment for integration. Well designed assessments should make it possible to gain evidence against each unit standard while at the same time gaining evidence of integration. 

    Navigation training has become a very military specific activity within modern aviation. The South African navigator fraternity designed this qualification to allow maximum commonality with pilot qualifications. Notwithstanding this, there are still navigator specific competencies that had to be compared with other countries who also do navigator training. All countries where South African have embassies where approached for information. The following responses where received.


    Utilisation of Qualified Navigators
  • Navigators are utilised on transport aircraft only in the Pakistan Air Force. This differs from the South African requirement where navigators are utilised in all aircraft types from fighter aircraft threw transport and maritime aircraft as well as helicopters.

    Entry Requirements for the Training Course
  • Only members with a aviation background is selected to attend the navigator course. This will limit the source of suitable candidates severely. The South African model allows any person to attend the course because all relevant fundamentals are being addressed in the identified unit standards.

    Duration of the Training
  • The Pakistan course takes 40 weeks, but only addresses navigator competencies. The South African qualification should take a training provider at least 65 weeks to cover the entire scope of aviation theory and practical application. The Pakistan course spends 13 weeks on theory which is similar to the South African qualification needs.
    The following is a table of competencies that the Pakistan navigator student receives and it is indicated if the South African qualification also provide that training:
  • Competence,Pakistan,South Africa.
  • Dead Reckoning,Yes,Yes.
  • Instruments and Compasses,Yes,Yes.
  • Radio and Radar,Yes,Yes.
  • Astro Navigation,Yes,No.
  • ATC and Airmanship,Yes,Yes.
  • Maps and Charts,Yes,Yes.
  • Rescue and Survival,Yes,Yes.
  • Meteorology,Yes,Yes.
  • Airplane General and Aircraft Performance,Yes,Yes.

  • Members with this qualification in Pakistan qualifies to attend an advanced navigator course in the USA or Great Britain. This qualifies them for promotion into the senior management of the Pakistan Air Force. The South African qualification allows the member greater freedom, after obtaining this qualification the member can study to become an instructor in navigation, the fundamentals and a large percentage of the core is compatible with the pilot qualification and should assist the member in obtaining his/her pilot qualification. This qualification also allow the member to pursuit careers in airport management, search and rescue coordination and aviation management.

    Level Indicators
  • The Pakistan navigator qualification is not registered on their national frame work. It is only registered with their Air Force and a member's competence is measured by his/her total hours practising navigation onboard an aircraft. The South African qualification is based on achievable competencies that can be measure on an outcomes based approach. In the navigators' provisional life his/her experience level can still be measure by his/her flying hours but this will have no bearing on his/her competence.


    Utilisation of Qualified Navigators
  • Navigators are mainly utilised on transport aircraft in Romania. As mentioned above the South African Air Force utilises navigators in all aircraft types (fighter aircraft, transport aircraft, maritime aircraft and helicopters).

    Entry Requirements for the Training Course
  • All Romanian navigator candidates have to complete a four-year diploma at the RoAF Academy before attending navigator training. The South African model is much more lenient as it allows any person to attend the course.

    Duration of the Training
  • The Romanian course (excluding the four years at the academy) takes 26 weeks, and addresses the basic concepts of navigation (no detail were supplied). On completion of this phase further training is provided at the Air Transportation Base. This additional training takes 12 weeks. The South African qualification covers all training aspects in at least 65 weeks.

  • The highest qualification that a navigator can obtain in the RoAF is that of instructor. The South African qualification allows the member the same opportunity to become an instructor and also allows him/her the freedom to train for a pilot or careers in aviation management.

    Level Indicators
  • The Romanian response did not indicate if they have any qualification frame similar to the South African frame work. The Romanian navigators do, however, obtain a Romanian Civilian Aeronautical Authority qualification which is accredited by the International Civil Aeronautical Authority (ICAO). This is a big difference to the South African system. The qualification does, however, adhere to the same standards that the pilot qualification adheres to and should it be a requirement to obtain Civil Aviation Authority accreditation is should be a case of re-instituting the now defunct civil navigation licence.

    USA, Canada and the United Kingdom:
  • These countries have traditionally been the benchmark for the South African navigator-training course as presented by the SAAF. An extensive benchmark was conducted as resent as 2000 as part of the acquisition programme for a new procedural trainer at the South African Air Force's Navigator Training School (80 Air Navigation School).
  • During the benchmarking exercise it was found that the training approach between the South Africa and the three countries differ slightly. These differences is curriculum differences and not competency differences.
  • The competencies of the courses were compared and a conclusion was made that all of them provide the same competencies as compiled in this qualifications unit standards.
  • South Africa will be a leader in making official comparisons between pilot and navigator training and this will give the South African navigator an advantage over navigators from these three countries. 

    This qualification has been designed and structured so that qualifying learners can be recognised as a navigator.

    Learners can move horizontally or vertically between aviation related qualifications, although in most cases, some standards will be required horizontally before moving to another sub-field vertically. Qualifications are currently being developed in this field that will allow articulation between the military and civilian scopes of work. Possibilities for articulation outside of navigation include qualifications that lead to the following roles:
  • Piloting
  • Civilian and military flight operations management
  • Navigator instruction
  • Aviation consulting
  • Aircraft accident investigation 

    Providers offering learning towards achievement of any of the unit standards that make up this qualification must be accredited through the relevant ETQA.

    Internal moderation of assessment must take place at the point of assessment with external moderation or verification being provided by the relevant ETQA. 

    Assessors registered with the relevant ETQA must carry out the assessment of candidates for any of the unit standards that make up this qualification. The following criteria are specified for assessors of this qualification:
  • Be competent in the outcomes of this qualification.
  • Have a minimum of one, three-year operational tour of duty. 

    As per the SAQA Board decision/s at that time, this qualification was Reregistered in 2012. 

    1. Assessment of the learner shall be conducted in compliance with Civil Aviation Authority/Military Aviation Authority Regulations and in accordance with safe flying practice.

    2. The aeroplane and its systems shall be operated within the limitations expressed in the Aircraft Flight Manual/Pilot Operating Handbook.

    3. Cockpit Resource Management (CRM) is not to be assessed as a stand-alone element, however, the outcomes resulting from CRM can be assessed. CRM is integral to flight and flight safety. Procedural elements of CRM are to be assessed throughout the assessment of all outcomes in a holistic and integrated way.

    Range of procedural elements include but are not limited to: Use of checklists, crew briefings, radio calls, and callouts.

    4. Assessment:
  • Assessments may be conducted in an aircraft certified for single or multi crew pilot operation.
  • If a multi-engine aeroplane is provided for assessment, the learner shall be assessed on competence in carrying out appropriate manoeuvres with one engine (simulated) inoperative.
  • Assessment shall be carried out in Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC), and may also be done in Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC) conditions by day or by night.
  • Competence shall be assessed in a single or multi-engine aeroplane with retractable undercarriage and adjustable flaps, and variable pitch propeller, or turbo-propeller or turbo-jet engines, or an equivalent flight simulator approved by the regulatory authority.

    5. Navigation should at all times be conducted within the Civil Aviation Authority Regulations.

    Emergencies (simulated):

    Under no circumstances shall the aeroplane or its occupants be placed in jeopardy.

    6. Good airmanship appropriate to the level of the unit standard should be demonstrated for all outcomes. Additional elements of airmanship specific to outcomes are indicated in range statements within assessment criteria.

    ICAO English:

    The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) requires that all applicants for a pilots licences, all current pilot licence holders, Air Traffic Controllers and Station Operators Licences shall demonstrate, in a manner acceptable to the licensing authority, the ability to speak and understand the English language used for radiotelephony communications in compliance with the holistic descriptions contained in the International Civil Aviation Organisation operational level (level 4) of the International Civil Aviation Organisation Language Proficiency Rating Scale Document. Although Navigators are not licensed by the Civil Aviation Authority they are licensed by the Military Aviation Authority (MAA) and the Civil Aviation Authority requirements therefore apply:

    International Civil Aviation Organisation operational Level 4 English:
  • Pronunciation (Assumes a dialect and/or accent intelligible to the aeronautical community): Pronunciation, stress, rhythm and intonation are influenced by the first language or regional variation but only sometimes interfere with ease of understanding.
  • Structure (Relevant grammatical structures and sentence patterns): Basic grammatical structures and sentence patterns are used creatively and are usually well controlled. Errors may occur, particularly in unusual or unexpected circumstances, but rarely interfere with meaning.
  • Vocabulary: Vocabulary range and accuracy are usually sufficient to communicate effectively on common, concrete and work related topics. Can often paraphrase successfully when lacking vocabulary in unusual or unexpected circumstances.
  • Fluency: Produces stretches of language at an appropriate tempo. There may be occasional loss of fluency on transition from rehearsed or formulaic speech to spontaneous interaction, but this does not prevent effective communication. Can make limited use of discourse markers or connectors. Fillers are not distracting.
  • Comprehension: Comprehension is accurate on common, concrete and work related topics when the accent or variety used is sufficiently intelligible for an international community of users. When the speaker is confronted with a linguistic or situational complication or an unexpected turn of events, comprehension may be slower or require clarification strategies.
  • Interaction: Responses are usually immediate, appropriate and informative. Initiates and maintains exchanges even when dealing with an unexpected turn of events. Deals adequately with apparent misunderstandings by checking, confirming or clarifying. 

    Core  120161  Conduct pre and post flight procedures and administration for flights  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Core  120146  Navigate an aircraft in Visual Meteorological Conditions  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Core  120147  Perform pre-flight planning for small aeroplane  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Core  120154  Demonstrate understanding of advanced aeronautical navigation  Level 6  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L6  15 
    Core  120162  Navigate an aircraft with reference to radio aids  Level 6  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L6  10 
    Core  120159  Perform instrument flight procedures  Level 6  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L6  13 
    Fundamental  120059  Demonstrate an understanding of the principles of operation and use of radio aids in air navigation  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Fundamental  120150  Demonstrate the use of short-range communications specific to aircraft  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Fundamental  120157  Demonstrate understanding of aeroplane loading  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Fundamental  120045  Demonstrate understanding of aircraft instrumentation  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Fundamental  120047  Demonstrate understanding of human performance and limitations in aviation  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Fundamental  120156  Demonstrate understanding of South African Aviation law, International Civil Aviation Organization rules and procedures for small commercial aeroplane operations  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5  10 
    Fundamental  120041  Demonstrate understanding of the principles of flight  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Fundamental  120058  Demonstrate understanding of the principles of navigating an aircraft  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Fundamental  120152  Describe small aeroplane components and emergency equipment  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Fundamental  120042  Interpret meteorology for aviation  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Elective  120155  Apply survival techniques for aircrew members  Level 4  NQF Level 04  12 
    Elective  117985  Demonstrate an understanding of the Law of Armed Conflict during multi-national operations  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5  10 
    Elective  257136  Demonstrate knowledge of Air Power  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5  10 
    Elective  120044  Demonstrate knowledge of Airpower  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Elective  243333  Demonstrate understanding of cockpit resource management  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5  10 
    Elective  120039  Determine the integrated influence of the operational environment on a flight operation in accordance with South African Air Force doctrine  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Elective  243337  Manage non-normal and emergency flight situations  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5  10 
    Elective  243328  Perform low level flying operations  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Elective  243330  Perform planning for an Instrument Flight Rules flight  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Elective  120158  Analyse the effects of aeroplane loading  Level 6  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L6 
    Elective  120153  Apply knowledge of aircraft systems integration and data buses  Level 6  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L6  12 
    Elective  120160  Demonstrate understanding of advanced aircraft instrumentation  Level 6  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L6  10 
    Elective  120149  Demonstrate understanding of advanced aircraft systems  Level 6  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L6 
    Elective  120148  Design Visual and Instrument Flight Procedures  Level 6  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L6  18 
    Elective  120060  Manage HF, UHF and data communication specific to aeroplanes  Level 6  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L6 


    This information shows the current accreditations (i.e. those not past their accreditation end dates), and is the most complete record available to SAQA as of today. Some Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionaries have a lag in their recording systems for provider accreditation, in turn leading to a lag in notifying SAQA of all the providers that they have accredited to offer qualifications and unit standards, as well as any extensions to accreditation end dates. The relevant Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionary should be notified if a record appears to be missing from here.

    All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.