I work in the RAF Air Operations team - ask me anything

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RAF Air Operations
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Flight Lieutenant Simon Williams and Flight Sergeant Alan Winchester are both members of the Air Operations Cadre in the RAF bringing 35 years combined experience in operations both based in the UK and overseas working with multiple nationalities and agencies. With experience in the Systems and Control disciplines, they have a wealth of knowledge to share from across the World of Air Operations in the RAF.

Ask them anything by replying below.
Last edited by Puddles the Monkey; 1 year ago
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Puddles the Monkey
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Hi everyone - I am just quoting you in as you have posted in the RAF Application guide

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8472
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How/why did you first join the RAF? Straight from school not sure what to do? Or did you have a dream?

How many countries have you been to whilst serving?

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RAF Air Operations
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Hi,

I joined after graduating from University. I’d always had an interest in the RAF, but wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do. When I looked into it in my final year I came across the role of Physical Training Instructor, which appealed to my sporting side. I joined in 2004 and later specialised in Adventurous Training a couple of years later.

I thoroughly enjoyed that job, but after 9 years I felt like a change to a more operational role and commissioned into the Air Operations branch, specialising in Surveillance and haven’t looked back since!

I’ve been lucky to work in many countries overseas, mainly in Europe including Norway, Germany, Austria and Cyprus, and I’ve also served in Afghanistan. We have Air Ops personnel currently serving all over the world, some in 3-year posts, others deployed for a few months depending upon the job.

Simon
(Original post by 8472)
How/why did you first join the RAF? Straight from school not sure what to do? Or did you have a dream?

How many countries have you been to whilst serving?

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excitedpresent
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(Original post by RAF Air Operations)
Flight Lieutenant Simon Williams and Flight Sergeant Alan Winchester are both members of the Air Operations Cadre in the RAF bringing 35 years combined experience in operations both based in the UK and overseas working with multiple nationalities and agencies. With experience in the Systems and Control disciplines, they have a wealth of knowledge to share from across the World of Air Operations in the RAF.

Ask them anything by replying below.
is the pay good?
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AlphaTango
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(Original post by neuronal)
is the pay good?
Armed forces salaries are public information, search on google.
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RAF Air Operations
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The pay is very competitive but published figures of salary should not be considered in isolation. There are many other benefits in joining the RAF which can be found at the website below and on the RAF recruitment website.

https://discovermybenefits.mod.gov.uk/raf/
https://www.raf.mod.uk/recruitment/career-and-benefits

Alan


(Original post by neuronal)
is the pay good?
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RAF Air Operations
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(Original post by ltsmith)
What pilot license do you get after completing RAF pilot training?
There is no award of any civilian recognised pilots license on completion of RAF Pilot Training, however, the flying experience from service in the RAF is taken into account. The stages of RAF Pilot Training and transferable skills can be found at the link below:

https://www.raf.mod.uk/recruitment/r.../aircrew/pilot

Alan
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aegascoigne1
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Hi Both, much appreciated you sharing your knowledge! I have OASC coming up for Air Ops Control Officer and I have struggled to find much of a breakdown of the Weapons Control or Terminal ATC training courses or any further career development. How much detail are you expected to know about this please? TIA. Amy.
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RAF Air Operations
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(Original post by aegascoigne1)
Hi Both, much appreciated you sharing your knowledge! I have OASC coming up for Air Ops Control Officer and I have struggled to find much of a breakdown of the Weapons Control or Terminal ATC training courses or any further career development. How much detail are you expected to know about this please? TIA. Amy.
Hi Amy,

Have you been offered an Air Operations (Control) Officer, Realistic Job Preview (RJP) by your Armed Forces Careers Office (AFCO)? This is an opportunity to engage directly with instructors who will deliver all of your training during a visit to RAF Shawbury.

Alan
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aegascoigne1
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Hi Alan,

This is my 2nd choice assessment as I didn't make my 1st choice a few weeks ago. I've booked my 2nd OASC in quite a short space of time, so I haven't had much time to get an RJP booked in this time. I was hoping to get in touch with Air Ops Control Officers in other ways. I was given the number for the recruitment team but no one ever answers. I'm just trying to do as much digging as possible online. Can you tell me anything about future courses or routes that Control Officers can get into please, other than Area Radar Control?
(Original post by RAF Air Operations)
Hi Amy,

Have you been offered an Air Operations (Control) Officer, Realistic Job Preview (RJP) by your Armed Forces Careers Office (AFCO)? This is an opportunity to engage directly with instructors who will deliver all of your training during a visit to RAF Shawbury.

Alan
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RAF Air Operations
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(Original post by aegascoigne1)
Hi Both, much appreciated you sharing your knowledge! I have OASC coming up for Air Ops Control Officer and I have struggled to find much of a breakdown of the Weapons Control or Terminal ATC training courses or any further career development. How much detail are you expected to know about this please? TIA. Amy.
Hi Amy,

Have you been offered an Air Operations (Control) Officer, Realistic Job Preview (RJP) by your Armed Forces Careers Office (AFCO)? This is an opportunity to engage directly with instructors who will deliver all of your training during a visit to RAF Shawbury.

Alan
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RAF Air Operations
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#13
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Hi Amy,

Sorry to hear you have been unable to reach the team. I believe that you are now in email contact with Flt Lt Si Williams? Is this correct?

Alan
(Original post by aegascoigne1)
Hi Alan,

This is my 2nd choice assessment as I didn't make my 1st choice a few weeks ago. I've booked my 2nd OASC in quite a short space of time, so I haven't had much time to get an RJP booked in this time. I was hoping to get in touch with Air Ops Control Officers in other ways. I was given the number for the recruitment team but no one ever answers. I'm just trying to do as much digging as possible online. Can you tell me anything about future courses or routes that Control Officers can get into please, other than Area Radar Control?
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aegascoigne1
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Hi Alan,

Yes I have just received his email. Thank you very much.
(Original post by RAF Air Operations)
Hi Amy,

Sorry to hear you have been unable to reach the team. I believe that you are now in email contact with Flt Lt Si Williams? Is this correct?

Alan
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excitedpresent
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(Original post by AlphaTango)
Armed forces salaries are public information, search on google.
nah, i'd rather hear it from an actual RAF guy thanks
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WCFLK
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Evening,

Any idea of how the streaming is taking place for NCC/Air operations control (sergeant) at Shawbury? Are we given a preference or does it fall to service needs?
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RAF Air Operations
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Good afternoon,

NCC/Air Ops (Control) Sergeants are asked for their preferences at the start of the Non-Commissioned Aircrew and Controller Initial Training Course (NCACITC) at RAFC Cranwell. The streaming board sits during that course and considers three elements. Firstly the service need at that time; secondly the individual's preference; and thirdly the scores achieved on Computer-Based Aptitude Testing. Please note that that list is not necessarily the order in which the board will prioritise the streaming process.

Students are informed of their specialisation prior to graduation from NCACITC, they will then move onto the Combined Air Operations Module shortly followed by their specialist training course.

Simon
(Original post by WCFLK)
Evening,

Any idea of how the streaming is taking place for NCC/Air operations control (sergeant) at Shawbury? Are we given a preference or does it fall to service needs?
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daneellie
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Hi,
I start IOT soon and I’m going for air ops, I visited RAF Shawbury a year ago and absolutely loved the visit, found it really informative. Any advice or tips for training?
(Original post by RAF Air Operations)
Flight Lieutenant Simon Williams and Flight Sergeant Alan Winchester are both members of the Air Operations Cadre in the RAF bringing 35 years combined experience in operations both based in the UK and overseas working with multiple nationalities and agencies. With experience in the Systems and Control disciplines, they have a wealth of knowledge to share from across the World of Air Operations in the RAF.

Ask them anything by replying below.
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AlphaTango
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(Original post by daneellie)
Hi,
I start IOT soon and I’m going for air ops, I visited RAF Shawbury a year ago and absolutely loved the visit, found it really informative. Any advice or tips for training?
Controller or Systems?
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Schleigg
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What's the thought on the coal-face and further up about the constant "rebranding" and subsequent combining of the Ops and Controllers (various) branch?

If (in old money) ATC, FC, and Flt Ops are part of the same branch then is it feasible that someone who has FC aptitude could end up getting chopped from controller training and being an OpsO / FOM watching people pin NOTAMs on a board? Or conversely does it mean that (what I'd know as) a FOA could end up specialising in Space or similar that they wouldn't have otherwise been able to do?
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