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Flight Operations Assistant

currently open

The facts

Job description

You’ll use the latest technology to provide information for missions and flight planning at RAF airfields.



Pay after training


Joining age

17 - 35

Similar civilian jobs

  • Air traffic controller
  • Transport and logistics planner
  • Supply chain planner
  • Emergency service operations room operator

Usual service

9 years


UK citizen or holder of dual UK/other nationality

Open to

male or female

Qualifications you need

2 GCSE/SCEs at Grade G/6 minimum or 2 SNEs at Grade 4 or equivalent, including English Language and Maths.

Qualifications you can gain

Apprenticeship in providing aviation operations on the ground; NVQ Levels 3 and 4 in controlling aircraft/airport operations


Whether or not you were born in the United Kingdom, you should have resided there for the five years immediately preceding your application.

The job

Flight Operations Assistants help ensure the safe movement of aircraft at our airfields.

You’ll be supporting flying operations in station or squadron ‘ops rooms’ and from control towers at RAF airfields.

There you’ll use the latest technology to update aeronautical data, provide information for mission and flight planning and assist Air Traffic Controllers in their work.

As a Flight Operations Assistant you could progress to a management position at a flying station in the UK or overseas, with the UK search and rescue organisation or at our air traffic control centres.

It’s a job that calls for a cool head, a clear voice and the ability to work successfully under pressure as a crucial member of the team.

I do this job

Flight Operations Assistant

Matt Cockett
Flight Operations Assistant

‘I’m a lot more confident and more laid back than I was.’

My role

‘In air traffic control you’ve got set jobs for the assistants, whereas in the operations room there’s no set way of doing everything. You work as a team, dealing with the aircraft coming and going, and while the Ops officer is ringing up all the places telling them who’s airborne, you’ll be keeping him informed of what’s going on all the way through.’

My day

‘A lot of the job is checking to make sure that everything is being done: checking on the computer that the flight plans have come in or that the aircraft totes are up to date, or ringing air traffic control to tell them what’s coming in. You do a lot of things yourself, using your judgement, but you get it confirmed.’

My experiences

‘Four years ago if someone had said to me, “Call me Sir,” I'd have thought, “He’s having a go.” But it’s not a problem. You call an officer “Sir” or “Ma’am” because of their rank. Off duty, I’ll have a joke with them, but not in work. If someone tells me to do something I do it because that’s their job.’

My life

‘When I began my recruit training I’d never been away from home and I’d always had lots of friends around me. For the first two weeks I was thinking, “Oh, I don't like this, no way am I going to last.” But then I got to know the other people and realised that we were all in the same boat and I made friends. My trade training I enjoyed more. I found it hard work but thanks to a Corporal instructor who helped me study, I absolutely flew through it.


Recruit training

Your career will start with a 10 week Basic Recruit Training Course (BRTC) at RAF Halton in Buckinghamshire. The course is designed to help you adjust to a military environment. As well as fitness and military training, you’ll also learn about the RAF lifestyle.

Specialist Training

The next step is a specialist training course at RAF Shawbury in Shropshire, which lasts up to 12 weeks.

You’ll be taught the basic theory and regulations of flight operations and air traffic control, the course also covers aircraft and airfield operations, meteorology and navigation.

By the end of the training course, you’ll have an understanding of the job of the Flight Operations Assistant, and you’ll have practised carrying out your role using flight operations simulators.

At the end of the course, you’ll get your first assignment.

Your first tour

For your first tour, you may be employed within either air traffic control or the operations room of an airbase in the UK, where you’ll help provide accurate and up-to-date flight information. It’s also a chance for you to gain a practical understanding of aircraft operations.

Ongoing development

As your career progresses, we’ll continue to train you in new skills. You’ll have the opportunity to complete a Level 2 Apprenticeship in Providing Aviation Operations on the Ground. 

Your future

Career prospects

You’ll initially join the RAF for a period of nine years.

After a year, you’ll be eligible for promotion to Senior Aircraftman/woman if you pass a trade ability test.

Further promotion to the rank of Corporal and beyond is by competitive selection.

Transferable skills

The Diploma, Technical Certificate and Functional Skills in Mathematics and English that form part of the Apprenticeship are as valuable in the civilian world as they are in the RAF – which means that whenever you decide to leave the RAF, you’ll be well placed to find a job in civilian airport operations.

Apply now

Call us on

0845 605 5555

  • Mon-Fri8am to 8pm
  • Sat9am to 6pm
  • Sun10am to 4pm
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