Author Topic: Aerospace Control Officers-AEC [merged]  (Read 450813 times)

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TrasnAt

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Aerospace Control Officers-AEC [merged]
« on: October 13, 2004, 08:19:46 »
Hi all,

I am a dual national and I am at present debating my future between a career with the Royal Navy or in the CF, most likely as an Aerospace controller.   I have a PPL and done post graduate work in Aviation so I have knowledge of how ATC works from a civilian stand point. I was just wondering what how it differs in the military.   I have heard that it is a "nice management job" I have also heard that it can be quite boring and conversely I have also heard it can be quite stressful.

Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Regards,

Transat.

Offline Ditch

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Re: Aerospace Control Officers-AEC [merged]
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2004, 17:34:53 »
AEC is a very challenging trade in the CF.  Wash out rates are almost as high as the Pilot MOC.

I imagine that all jobs can be boring with times of sheer terror inter-mixed throughout.

Military ATC is quite different than that of the civilian world.  We can do alot of things at an airfield that the average civi-pilot can't and we expect our controllers to be able to adapt to our changing needs.  Unlike a structured time table that exists at larger civilian aerodromes, CF airfields are on a ever-changing tempo with a varied number of "pop-ups" and visits by unscheduled aircraft.

Go for it if you are looking for a challenging and rewarding job.
Per Ardua Ad Astra

TrasnAt

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Re: Aerospace Control Officers-AEC [merged]
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2004, 19:32:08 »
Thanks a lot for the info. 

Just one question: does wash-out mean failure or burnout?


TrasnAt

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Re: Aerospace Control Officers-AEC [merged]
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2004, 20:04:16 »
Oh sorry actually blew the dust off my dictionary and learned it means "a complete failure"

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Re: Aerospace Control Officers-AEC [merged]
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2004, 23:35:14 »
What would you say are the most important attributes in a candidate for this MOC?
This is something that I am interested in as a career after school.
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Offline Inch

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Re: Aerospace Control Officers-AEC [merged]
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2004, 23:44:20 »
I'd say spatial orientation would be a big plus. You've got to keep track of where aircraft are in the Control zone and sometimes beyond, all the while they're moving at 100+ knots. Then you throw helicopters into the mix, helos don't fly circuits/patterns the same as airplanes, we can go anywhere. So you're going to get a whole lot of different requests and keeping track of them all is pretty important. I think it goes without saying, two aircraft can't occupy the same spot at the same time, they tend to hit each other.  :o

 
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aesop081

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Re: Aerospace Control Officers-AEC [merged]
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2004, 00:35:31 »
The expression used her at the AESOp school is "being able to walk and chew gum at the same time".......i think it applies to AC op / AEC quite well.

Offline Ditch

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Re: Aerospace Control Officers-AEC [merged]
« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2004, 00:36:43 »
What would you say are the most important attributes in a candidate for this MOC?

Just to add to what Inch said....   Situational Awareness is key to the AEC MOC - the lack of SA can and will kill aircrew.   The simple task of keeping track of aircraft flying the VFR circuit along with aircraft on an instrument approach can be very challenging indeed.   Moose Jaw is one of the hardest airbases in which to get checked out - at times there can be up to 10 aircraft in the pattern - all travelling at 220 KIAS - all wanting to land.   I can remember being sequenced by tower as number 6 for landing - this did not include the others behind me on downwind and crosswind!   Albeit technology does help the operator - you still have to be a quick thinker and make decisive and safe decisions.

Practice speaking CLEARLY and RAPIDLY at the same time.
Per Ardua Ad Astra

Offline Garry

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Re: Aerospace Control Officers-AEC [merged]
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2004, 12:23:00 »
TrasnAT,

As with much of life, the job appeals to certain types of individuals, with different reactions to the stresses and demands. Keep in mind that there is no such thing as an air traffic controller anymore, the trade has merged with the (old) air weapons control trade to form the (new) aerospace control trade. As a newbie coming through the training system you will be taught radar control, (common to both atc and air weapons) then brach off into a specialty- either air weapons, atc terminal/arrival, or atc tower. As usual, your requested job placement will be weighed against the needs of the service.

If you go air weapons, you will probably spend your first tour in North bay- after that, the world is your oyster and you can stay put, get posted in Canada, or go most anywhere that NATO and the US fly. Ground tours as well as AWACS are open to you.

Ifr you go the atc route, then there are a  variety of bases open to you, each with their own unique problems and perks. ATC used to be a costant fast paced job, but with all of the cutbacks in airframes and flying hours, it has become a feast or famine position. One minute your bored to tears, the next you have 100 fighters coming home- and that makes up for the boredome!

I cannot say much about the transport bases, as I've been a fighter controller the entire time I've been an atc-oops, aec. :)

I was in the army for many years before I switched over to the Air Force, and in all honesty I'm glad I was- I had the chance to roar around the world, seeing good things and challenging the hail out of myself- and when my body finally broke, I got "put out to pasture"...only to find an incredibly challenging and exciting job, that I could perform fine with a busted up body, and allowed me to spend time with my family.

PM if you want specifics.

Cheers-Garry

169er

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Re: Aerospace Control Officers-AEC [merged]
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2004, 08:36:00 »
Well,

Ive been a 169 for just over 2 years now, not a long time by any means, but i gotta say that the degree of "excitement" is based upon your choices here.   

After 3s in Cornwall at Nav Canada (we have the nicest facility for training in the entire CF, its like living in a hotel for 2 months) you have the availability to be posted as either Air Defense (which means you get to go to NORAD in North Bay as a Tracking Technician or TT) or to ATC as either B-stand, terminal IFR delivery or Wing Ops( at any airbase that actually HAS military aircraft, if theres room... good luck if you wanted comox or trenton).  From there the trade branches out into other areas. 

Air defence side you can get second Quals primarily as:

ID tech- working in conjunction with Navcan to Identify incoming a/c tracked by the TT's
Interface Control - Uplinks and stuff i cant really talk more about.
Weapons- la creme De la creme at 22 Wing, working with controllers, to do CF-18 missions

As ATC- I cant really tell you alot about this other than I know you can get a qual as a ground controller.

Once you hit eligibility for your 5's you have the option yet again... remain 169 as A/D or ATC or go to 170-- Spec pay and possibly one of the most academically challenging and stressful courses you will endure in the air force.

170 is a Radar controller... you either do Precision Approach Radar, or Traffic Control on circuit... I'm not there yet, so I'm not really the guy to tell you about it...

Life in North Bay on the other hand... If you're single, it is fairly boring, but there is enough to do to keep you occupied for a little while, at least until you discover bigger and better things to do with your time off...  Right now, on crew we are on 8 hour shifts... 7 days on, 3 off, 7 on 4 off... the alterate between 3 days 4 swings/mids, and 4 days, 3 swings/mids.

Confused yet?  It takes some getting used to...

All and all, the AD side of the house isn't too bad, you can eventually work as aircrew on E-3 Sentries, in places like alaska or germany, or go to the other NORAD areas like Colorado, or Florida or Washington...

Just be sure you check it all out before you jump in... it takes a long time to get to those places, most require you to be at least a master corporal before you go anywhere now.  So you could be stuck in the Bay for a few years...

ON the bright side, we are moving out of the Underground Complex within the next year or two, as we have a brand spankin new facility going up above ground here on base for us...

All and all, thats about all i can think of for my side of the trade, you'd have to find a guy who went ATC side to get the details on that end...

Hope i was of some  help...

-169er

Offline easyco_chic

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Re: Aerospace Control Officers-AEC [merged]
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2006, 13:41:40 »
Hi,
Does anyone happen to know when the next 3's course is for Aerospace control operator?  Also, if anyone as any past experience with this course, I would appreciate any information on this topic.

Thanks in advance,
« Last Edit: January 30, 2006, 18:41:57 by easyco_chic »

Offline Flatspin

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Re: Aerospace Control Officers-AEC [merged]
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2006, 21:05:54 »
I'm interested in this as well. Does anyone have any information on upcoming courses ?

I'm also looking for comments on the responsibilities of AC Ops in the CF. How does the ATC side of an AC Op in the CF compare to say a VFR, IFR controller in civy land. According to the dnd site the QL3 course is only 2 months long, doesn't seem like a lot of time to learn / apply ATC principles ?

Offline Flatspin

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Re: Aerospace Control Officers-AEC [merged]
« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2006, 15:31:44 »
100+ Views and no response.  :(
Would like to get some feedback from someone who has either worked as, with or knows of an AC Op in the CF. Thank-you.

Offline Air4ce

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Re: Aerospace Control Officers-AEC [merged]
« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2006, 22:48:02 »
Flatspin,

No, two months is not a long time to learn/apply ATC principles.  That's because as a QL3 AC Op you are not considered a "controller".  If you end up in the ATC world you will either be a Tower Assistant or a Terminal Assistant with no control responsibilities.  Once you take your QL5 you can then be either a Ground Controller or a Precision Approach Radar (PAR) controller.  To become the equivalent of a civie VFR or IFR controller you would have to become an Aerospace Controller (AEC).  Which is an officer occupation.  Either way you go, remember AC Ops or AEC has two sides, Air Traffic Control and Air Weapons Control

Offline Flatspin

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Re: Aerospace Control Officers-AEC [merged]
« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2006, 11:47:28 »
Thank-you for the response. What sorts of responsibilities would one have as a tower, terminal assistant ? And on the Air Weapons side is it primarily a surveillance job, would 3-5 years be an average time frame before getting your QL5 ?

Offline Judy

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Re: Aerospace Control Officers-AEC [merged]
« Reply #15 on: April 30, 2006, 22:06:49 »
I'm an air weapons controller, so I could maybe answer a few of your questions, or at least direct you to some AC Ops.  I know many of them. :)

As far as being on the weapons side, you begin doing surveillance, then can progress up to ID, or work with links.  To become a WASO (weapons tech) you have to go on another course I believe, and it's after a few years doing the other stuff.

I'm not 100% familiar with AC Op training, but I know that you have to put in your time doing surveillance and ID.

Offline Air4ce

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Re: Aerospace Control Officers-AEC [merged]
« Reply #16 on: May 01, 2006, 23:21:54 »
When we used to give tours of the tower I used to joke that the Tower Assistant was the Tower Secretary.  Now that I think about it, it is probably not far from the truth.  if you take out the word Tower or Terminal and replace it with Administrative it would be an accurate description of their responsibilities.  As a Tower or Terminal Assistant you would process flight plans, prepare flight strips, handle most statistics and records keeping and, oh yes, answer the phones just to mention a few.  After making the secretary crack (not meaning to denigrate anyones profession as I truly believe that a good Admin Assistant is worth their weight in gold) I would then say that the Assistant is the most important position in the Tower.  Without this person doing there job properly, the Tower/Terminal would come to a grinding halt.  In ATC, as in AWC I am sure, you function as a team.  Each position has an important role to perform to ensure a successful outcome, a safe, orderly and expeditious flow of air traffic.  Some position have more responsibility added to them, but each is vital in there own way.  (Listen to me, I sound just like a recruiting officer).

As far as how long you wait before you get your QL5, I think closer three years is more realistic then five.  However, for quite some time we were not getting any new recruits, or very few, into ATC.  It has only been in the last few years that privates began showing back up in the unit, and I left before any of them went on their QL5.  I'm only assuming that they actual got to go on them.  I remember hearing rumours that the course actually existed.

Offline Flatspin

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Re: Aerospace Control Officers-AEC [merged]
« Reply #17 on: May 01, 2006, 23:58:06 »
When we used to give tours of the tower I used to joke that the Tower Assistant was the Tower Secretary.  Now that I think about it, it is probably not far from the truth. 

Not the response I was hoping for but thanks anyway. I probably wouldn't get that version of the job responsibilities from the local recruiting center.  ;D
« Last Edit: May 02, 2006, 00:04:17 by Flatspin »

Offline Garry

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Re: Aerospace Control Officers-AEC [merged]
« Reply #18 on: May 02, 2006, 14:49:30 »
Flatspin,

Air4ce is essentially correct, however it has kinda negative connotations. The Tower/Terminal B-stand is NOT an administrative asistant. Everyone in a tower and a terminal environment has their own job to do, with the common goal of moving metal in a safe, orderly and efficient manner.

Tower- various towers have from one to three Officer controllers on duty at a time, and may have a supervisor there as well if things are extremely busy. There will also be an NCM ground traffic ontroller, as well as an NCM supervisor for particularly busy times. The Data controller/data assistant/B-stand (same position, three names) will feed information to all positions, and imho is easily the busiest position in tower. A typical busy day in Cold Lake Tower will see a Tower controller on each runway (inner and outer) as well as a third controller streaming the flow into the control zone. There will be a ground controller as well as a data assist. Finally, there will be a senior controller watching over all, as well as a senior NCM helping the ground and data. On a good day, there will be app 100+ movements per hour, and each and every single one of them will go through the data dude twice. Miss one, and you may have left a guy for dead. As well, you'll have a zillion phone calls to work, info passed up from radar, co-ordinating calls from outside the unit, and emergencies (there always are) to announce on the base PA, as well as initial response to get going- you do all of that too. Again, I've done every position, lots, and imho the data assist is the busiest.

Terminal- no change, except now you'll be taking and issuing flight plans, and to do this you'll get to talk on a radio to pilots. Same number of movements, more controllers to babysit, and more responsibility- screw up a flight plan and I guarantee someone will be hurting. As well, on big recoveries you may well end up writing strips for the terminal controller. Again,  I've done all the postions in Terminal and imho the data assist is the busiest person in the room.

Best of all, after you've proven yourself in data there's a PAR or ground course on the way. May only take one year, may take more....but it is usually very quick, we prefer people to be qualified in all positions.

Generally speaking, the ATC NCM's have more responsibility on their shoulders than anyone else I know of. For instance, a PAR controller will be 100% responsible for landing 50 Mil $ fighters all day long, on their own. As well, you'll do the same for 200 Mil $ 747's with 300 people on board....screw that one up, you'll have to serve 300 years to pay supply back :)

It's a good trade, though not for everyone. If you cannot handle stress or think fast on your feet, find another way to make a living. If you can, it's a great way to live.

Cheers-Garry

Offline Flatspin

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Re: Aerospace Control Officers-AEC [merged]
« Reply #19 on: May 02, 2006, 15:32:25 »
Thanks for the response Garry, lots of good information straight from the source. I assume PAR is still routinely used in the Air force instead of ILS ?

Offline Garry

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Re: Aerospace Control Officers-AEC [merged]
« Reply #20 on: May 02, 2006, 17:29:11 »
Both PAR and ILS (as well as TACAN, NDB, and GPS)

Offline EX_RCAC_011

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Re: Aerospace Control Officers-AEC [merged]
« Reply #21 on: May 02, 2006, 19:34:36 »
Had a friend just grad the ac op three's ,said it was a cakewalk.Hes gone to shearwater now.
"Sure everything looks bad if you remember.....now where are my chili boot?"

Offline Air4ce

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Re: Aerospace Control Officers-AEC [merged]
« Reply #22 on: May 02, 2006, 20:54:54 »
Flatspin,

It's a good trade, though not for everyone. If you cannot handle stress or think fast on your feet, find another way to make a living. If you can, it's a great way to live.


Good post Garry.  I'm surprised you can see the screen with all that long hair in your eyes.

Flatspin - Sorry, didn't intend to sound negative, it just kind of came out that way.

17thRecceSgt

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Re: Aerospace Control Officers-AEC [merged]
« Reply #23 on: May 02, 2006, 22:38:20 »
Hey all,

I am in the process of putting in my CT to Air Force, and am considering both ATIS and AC Op.  I think the Weapons side appeals to me much more than the ATC side for AC Ops...any info on what that side of the house is like?  I haved watched the video on the Recruiting website where it talks about Surv and I.D. but...its not the "nuts and bolts" I was hoping to get on "life for the first 5 years after TQ3".

Is your first posting N Bay for sure?  How long before you get to put in for US/Europe tours?  What percentage of the trade is actually in AWACS?  Rank level for AWACS?  I am assuming Snr NCO's and WO's only???  Once you go Wpns, do you stay there and not go to ATC (if thats what you really want)?  Or is it sorta like POET trng used to be...depending on how you do on the course, they pick you for ATC or Wpns then??

Any info is REALLY appreciated...its like AC Ops are ghosts in Halifax..no one knows one ( or even what an AC Op is ).   ;D 

Mud
« Last Edit: May 02, 2006, 22:41:15 by Mud Recce Man »

Offline LIKELY

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Re: Aerospace Control Officers-AEC [merged]
« Reply #24 on: May 03, 2006, 08:08:26 »


I am in the process of putting in my CT to Air Force, and am considering both ATIS and AC Op. 

Mud,
I can see it now...Flight 135 thsi is MRM you are cleared to taxi on runway 9er...Helloooo? I said 9 you fu%^&ng loser.(throws headset in disgust)
(says to tower OC) Sir, can you come over here?...Am I speaking english or what? This stupid C*ckS$%#@  is retarded....I am outta here.

MRM goes tos NorthBay Mess and kills bartender because he finds out Alpine is considered an import...cost of living way too high.

At least in the corps we can shoot what pisses us off.

Are you serious? You were coming with me last week. But you would fit in PT wise... Haha
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.   Matthew 5:9 (KJV)