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ATC

Old 18th Jul 2015, 10:49
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ATC

Good Morning,

I would like to become an air traffic controller but i was wondering who to apply for;

RAF ATC;
Navy ATC;
NATS;
Eurocontrol.

Who would you rather work for?
Also, what are the advantages and disadvantages of them?
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Old 18th Jul 2015, 13:35
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With the RAF and Navy, you would primarily be military personnel and 'secondary duties' would occupy a lot of your time, especially if you are commissioned.
I have no knowledge of Eurocontrol, but I had a 40 odd year career with NATS of which 37 of those were as an ATCO and I enjoyed every minute, however the commercial world has taken over so it's probably a bit divisive nowadays ie you need to watch your back at all times.
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Old 18th Jul 2015, 17:57
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apply for them all. hopefully you will get one offer or more and your question will take relevance.

not being harsh - but it is not an easy application for any of your wants. good luck though
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Old 18th Jul 2015, 23:35
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ATC

If you just fancy separating planes for a living I would think very hard before joining the military. Most RAF controllers first made the decision to join the military, and later chose ATC as a trade (often after failing aircrew selection). There's so much more to military life than the day-to-day controlling!
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Old 19th Jul 2015, 10:47
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Wouldn't bother applying for Navy ATC, you'll end up working at either Yeovs, Culdrose or Swanwick. So you might as well have joined the RAF and have a few more pickings. There are positives and negatives for all, you just have to ask yourself what you want from a career.
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Old 19th Jul 2015, 13:02
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Thanks for all the replies.

I'm mainly focused on Nats however i had considered the others too.

' you would primarily be military personnel and 'secondary duties' would occupy a lot of your time'- Yeah I'm just really interested in the ATC aspect. Also, there is general military training before you even commence your ATC training which adds to the length of training.

'but it is not an easy application for any of your wants. good luck though'- I want a challenging career and if i do fail i have a backup anyway.

'you'll end up working at either Yeovs, Culdrose or Swanwick'- So the RAF grass is definitely greener.
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Old 19th Jul 2015, 20:44
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Cool

Apply for Eurocontrol and NATS, in that order.

If you get past the first stage with Eurocontrol you'll get a free visit to Maastricht and can see if drinking innumerable different ales is to your liking, sorry, the ATC environment is to your liking.

Then, apply to NATS, you don't get any freebies there, but you do get to enjoy a holiday on the South Coast, sorry, you get an exceptional training, I believe.

Then, when you've got your shiny NATS ATC licence you can go and work most places in the English speaking world for a great deal more money, once you've served your sentence for free training.

Slightly facetious, but only slightly!

Whatever you decide, best of luck. It's a great career and sure beats working for a living!

OTB, who has holidayed, sorry, worked in 6 countries on 3 continents for enough time to be able to retire comfortably aged 56, some time ago.
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Old 19th Jul 2015, 21:10
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I've been in NATS since 1998. I still wouldn't want to do anything else.

I'm not sure what Chevvron means by 'divisive' though, and whatever the environment, commercial or not, surely ATCOs should be watching each other's backs? In my experience that's usually the case.
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Old 21st Jul 2015, 10:37
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Thanks to all of you. Great advice.
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Old 22nd Jul 2015, 01:44
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Originally Posted by On the beach View Post
Apply for Eurocontrol and NATS, in that order.

If you get past the first stage with Eurocontrol you'll get a free visit to Maastricht and can see if drinking innumerable different ales is to your liking, sorry, the ATC environment is to your liking.

Then, apply to NATS, you don't get any freebies there, but you do get to enjoy a holiday on the South Coast, sorry, you get an exceptional training, I believe.

Then, when you've got your shiny NATS ATC licence you can go and work most places in the English speaking world for a great deal more money, once you've served your sentence for free training.

Slightly facetious, but only slightly!

Whatever you decide, best of luck. It's a great career and sure beats working for a living!

OTB, who has holidayed, sorry, worked in 6 countries on 3 continents for enough time to be able to retire comfortably aged 56, some time ago.
NATS don't issue ATCO Licences, that's the province of the CAA!
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Old 22nd Jul 2015, 06:31
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Speaking from a 20 year military controlling background, if it's pure controlling aircraft you want I'd definitely recommend you apply to Eurocontrol or NATS first. Not because the military is bad (far from it) it's just most military types who wish to climb the career ladder only really control for 2 or 3 postings (as an officer). Then it's off to some admin/policy/bag carrying job in order to 'progress'. Horses for courses though, depends if that floats your boat.

Also the military 'license' isn't a license at all, after a career in the military you'll be an experienced yet unqualified controller.

In the civilian world you are ostensibly trained by the company then examined by the CAA for your licence, pay is slightly better too.

Competition for places at NATS and Eurocontrol is extremely fierce. Where as with the military there is still a threshold to reach in terms of aptitude tests but we are desperate to recruit. So if you have trainable controlling aptitude and trainable leadership skills you are in!

Don't worry too much about the military training part, if you have anything about you, a good attitude and level of fitness the instructors will get you through.

Good luck
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