The rank originated in the Royal Air Force, when it was formed in 1918. It replaced the Royal Flying Corps rank of Air Mechanic 1st Class (which wore the same badge). It was only a trade classification until 1 January 1951, when it became a rank, although it is non-supervisory.
Leading Aircraftman is also a rank in the Royal Australian Air Force (which uses a single chevron rather than a propeller device), Royal New Zealand Air Force, Indian Air Force, Ghana Air Force and the Sri Lanka Air Force, and was a rank with the former Royal Canadian Air Force.
The propeller device is also used in the New Zealand Air Training Corps. The only difference being that the abbreviation LAC stands for Leading Air Cadet. It is not technically a rank but may be awarded to cadets who have attended a minimum of 30 parades, or completed one year in a unit. The rank is generally awarded to those cadets who show obvious leadership skill.