Raf Air Traffic Controller Life Watch

Olliesxint
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#1
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Im interested in becoming a ATC For raf i looked on the website snd it days there a 24 week initial training then a 35 week speicilised training what happens after that will i get stationed at my nearest raf base (RAF Northolt) because as a civi u are in a tower in for example heathrow so will it be in one place or would i be moving allot or stationed somewhere else like soldiers do
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teasin_tina
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(Original post by Olliesxint)
Im interested in becoming a ATC For raf i looked on the website snd it days there a 24 week initial training then a 35 week speicilised training what happens after that will i get stationed at my nearest raf base (RAF Northolt) because as a civi u are in a tower in for example heathrow so will it be in one place or would i be moving allot or stationed somewhere else like soldiers do
You will get stationed wherever the RAF require you to go which could be your local unit or as far away as Lossiemouth in Scotland, the Falkland Islands or Cyprus. You are part of the armed forces so you move a lot, every 2-3 years as an officer


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ViewOnlyMum
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(Original post by Olliesxint)
Im interested in becoming a ATC For raf i looked on the website snd it days there a 24 week initial training then a 35 week speicilised training what happens after that will i get stationed at my nearest raf base (RAF Northolt) because as a civi u are in a tower in for example heathrow so will it be in one place or would i be moving allot or stationed somewhere else like soldiers do
But you're not a "civvy" are you? An Air traffic Controller's entry level is that of an Officer with a 12 year sign up committment, so you are ultimately still a soldier and could be managing the air traffic of tornadoes in war zones surely?
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Olliesxint
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(Original post by ViewOnlyMum)
But you're not a "civvy" are you? An Air traffic Controller's entry level is that of an Officer with a 12 year sign up committment, so you are ultimately still a soldier and could be managing the air traffic of tornadoes in war zones surely?
not what I asked but cool
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Olliesxint
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(Original post by teasin_tina)
You will get stationed wherever the RAF require you to go which could be your local unit or as far away as Lossiemouth in Scotland, the Falkland Islands or Cyprus. You are part of the armed forces so you move a lot, every 2-3 years as an officer


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Because it's 2-3 years and could be stationed anywhere would I be on tour so for like them 2-3 years of being stationed in only there every year for 6 or so months when I'm on tour when would I see family and that
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Schleigg
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(Original post by Olliesxint)
Because it's 2-3 years and could be stationed anywhere would I be on tour so for like them 2-3 years of being stationed in only there every year for 6 or so months when I'm on tour when would I see family and that
In the nicest possible way. Could you write that a bit more clearly? My head hurts trying to understand what you're trying to say :P
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Olliesxint
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(Original post by Schleigg)
In the nicest possible way. Could you write that a bit more clearly? My head hurts trying to understand what you're trying to say :P
Sorry basically how long would I have of breaks for family and that. because there's something called a "tour" so how long does that last and how long in a year would I be working and seeing family
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threeportdrift
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(Original post by Olliesxint)
Sorry basically how long would I have of breaks for family and that. because there's something called a "tour" so how long does that last and how long in a year would I be working and seeing family
A tour is the same as a posting, and for Officers they last 2-3 years. During that time, you live and work wherever the RAF need you to. As an ATC Officer you will probably be on some type of shift system when you are a Controller, but outside that time, you are much like a civilian, you can do what you want. So if you are not on duty at the weekend, you can go and see family, if you take leave you can go and see family etc. The difficulty is when you are on tour/posted to somewhere a long way from family, then simple practicalities like cost and distance may stop you.

If you do an operational tour, ie a tour where there is some form of conflict, they are usually shorter - about 6 months, and overseas, and clearly then you cannot see family, but the RAF will put on phones and computers etc to keep in contact with home.

Unless you have some very strange family contact needs, you should remember that all the other members of the Armed Forces seem to be living fairly normal family lives, so it must be pretty normal!
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Olliesxint
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(Original post by threeportdrift)
A tour is the same as a posting, and for Officers they last 2-3 years. During that time, you live and work wherever the RAF need you to. As an ATC Officer you will probably be on some type of shift system when you are a Controller, but outside that time, you are much like a civilian, you can do what you want. So if you are not on duty at the weekend, you can go and see family, if you take leave you can go and see family etc. The difficulty is when you are on tour/posted to somewhere a long way from family, then simple practicalities like cost and distance may stop you.

If you do an operational tour, ie a tour where there is some form of conflict, they are usually shorter - about 6 months, and overseas, and clearly then you cannot see family, but the RAF will put on phones and computers etc to keep in contact with home.

Unless you have some very strange family contact needs, you should remember that all the other members of the Armed Forces seem to be living fairly normal family lives, so it must be pretty normal!
I live 2 mins away from RAF Northolt what are the chances of getting stationed there ? and is it worth a shot to ask ?
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Drewski
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(Original post by Olliesxint)
I live 2 mins away from RAF Northolt what are the chances of getting stationed there ? and is it worth a shot to ask ?
You can ask. And you might even get posted there. But that's one tour - 1x 2/3yrs out of at least 12. You'll be somewhere else for the rest.

You'll also be in Lincolnshire and Shropshire (iirc ATC training is at Shawbury?) for about 18 months combined first.

If you're in the military you have to accept the fact that you'll be posted where they need you. The likelihood is that that will be the busier flying stations.
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threeportdrift
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(Original post by Olliesxint)
I live 2 mins away from RAF Northolt what are the chances of getting stationed there ? and is it worth a shot to ask ?
You are kind of missing the point. Once you've joined the RAF, and successfully completed Officer training and your professional training, ie in about 5 years time, there will probably be a point where there is a 30 second conversation between you and the Chief Instructor where you saying 'I'd love to be posted to Northolt' might not sound out of place. However, where your first posting is will depend on where the service needs you to go and what skill level is required. I suspect you'd have to ace the ATC course to get Northolt on a first tour.

Then, as Drewski points out, you are signing up for 12+ years, so getting 2 years in a place close to what is currently home, shouldn't really be a consideration.
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Tom_88
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(Original post by Olliesxint)
I live 2 mins away from RAF Northolt what are the chances of getting stationed there ? and is it worth a shot to ask ?
If you're joining the gang in the hope of being stationed near your home you are joining for the wrong reasons and there will be tears.
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Tempest II
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(Original post by Olliesxint)
I live 2 mins away from RAF Northolt what are the chances of getting stationed there ? and is it worth a shot to ask ?
I've visited Northolt ATC & it's not a particularly big tower. If I remember correctly, all the radar controlling is done from Swanwick (the NATS centre in Hampshire) so there's only really a couple of positions that need to be manned.

Obviously you've got a chance of getting it but I wouldn't bet on it.
It does seem that tours are getting longer so you could potentially stay at a unit for 3-5yrs rather than 2-3 which used to be the norm. However you'll almost certainly be required to do a 6 month deployment in that time.

That said, ATC Officer or even SNCO Controller are both relatively high paying jobs so it wouldn't be a bad career move if you can handle the general way the RAF sometimes screws you around.
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djblu
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Hi,

I am a serving SNCO Air Traffic Controller and you do get a choice on where you want to be posted to. There will be a service need and requirement so you will have to keep that in mind so you aren't surprised if you are sent to Scotland or anywhere else.

Saying you want to be posted to Northolt could land you at Swanwick as the approach control is performed there. It would be better saying you would like the South East rather than giving one option. RAF Benson and Odiham are commutable distances.

Tours can last up to 5 years if you want them to however you can short tour and move if needed.

Upon completion of training you will have to complete a return of service, typically 3 years, in which you will have to serve before any having any thoughts of leaving so you could be stuck somewhere you don't want to be for 3 years minimum.

The RAF life is great and you'll make friends no matter where you go.

Hope this helps.
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Ikaruss
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Excellent reply djblu, although I suspect the OP left the building when he got the wrong answer. Innit.
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AlphaTango
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(Original post by Ikaruss)
Excellent reply djblu, although I suspect the OP left the building when he got the wrong answer. Innit.
I hesitate to say I'm not sure OP would pass CBAT/OASC/NCAITC/IOT/JATCC considering their lack of ability to construct a simple question!
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JWB1991
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Ok, just out of interest what are the chances your family live near a base but you are post at another ,would the RAF be willing to help you with transport if there are units going that way?
Bit of a long shot I believe but worth the question.

Thanks
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Schleigg
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(Original post by JWB1991)
Ok, just out of interest what are the chances your family live near a base but you are post at another ,would the RAF be willing to help you with transport if there are units going that way?
Bit of a long shot I believe but worth the question.

Thanks
What do you mean by family?

If you're posted one end of the country and your spouse lives at the other end you'd be entitled (for now) to a quarter, a house, at your duty station to enable you to live together. If you own or rent a house within commuting distance to your duty station you can claim "Home to Duty Allowance" which covers a portion of your car or bicycle costs of the journeys.

If, and I suspect this might be what you're getting at, your mum and dad live near an RAF station and you're posted to a different one, there is almost certainly no regular service transport between the two. You'd just have to drive yourself or get public transport.
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mcfinchy
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djblu

Noticed you’ve said you were serving as a SNCO ATCer last year so I assumed you still are, or if not you still may be able to help. Looking for a bit of advice as to whether the life as an actual controller would be better in the SNCO role or Officer role. Which of the two is more hands on, and for a newbie what are the demands for a senior position like? I have many questions but for now these are most important. (I failed my test for pilot by a very short margin, so I qualified for ATC but it is a bit second best, and information on the internet for the role is limited. Looking to acquire as much info as possible before being rushed into a decision).
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AlphaTango
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(Original post by mcfinchy)
djblu

Noticed you’ve said you were serving as a SNCO ATCer last year so I assumed you still are, or if not you still may be able to help. Looking for a bit of advice as to whether the life as an actual controller would be better in the SNCO role or Officer role. Which of the two is more hands on, and for a newbie what are the demands for a senior position like? I have many questions but for now these are most important. (I failed my test for pilot by a very short margin, so I qualified for ATC but it is a bit second best, and information on the internet for the role is limited. Looking to acquire as much info as possible before being rushed into a decision).
SNCO do more controlling but not by much, we are so undermanned everyone able to control is controlling.

I personally would recommend going Officer.

Contact your nearest unit and ask if ATC are willing to host you in a visit.
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