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Flight Operations Officer

currently open

The facts

Job description

You'll lead your own team as the vital link between aircrew and the flight operations nerve centre.



Pay after training


Joining age

17.5 - 36

Similar civilian jobs

  • Airport manager
  • Airline manager
  • Transport planning and logistics manager

Usual service

9 years


UK citizen or holder of dual UK/other nationality

Open to

male or female

Qualifications you need

2 A-levels (at grade A-C) or 3 Highers or equivalent. 5 GCSE/SCEs at Grade C/2 minimum or 5 SNEs at Grade 5 or equivalent, including English Language and Maths. Please note: the RAF does not accept A-levels in Critical Thinking or General Studies at any grade.

Qualifications you can gain

Degree or Masters degree


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 Officers support our aircraft from the ground.

You'll create flight plans, advise on flight safety and manage teams of Flight Operations Assistants.

In every operations room on every RAF flying station, and wherever our aircraft are flying, on detachment or on operations overseas, there’s a Flight Operations Officer at the centre of things.


Flight Operations Officers are in charge of some of the most important functions in support of aircraft in training and war situations: you'll ACT as a link between aircrew and the operations nerve centre and take responsibility for all aspects of the flying management of aircraft.

In a crisis, you'll have to provide answers and take action.

I do this job

Flight Operations Officer

Chris Waddilove
Flight Operations Officer

‘When Pilots and navigators strap themselves into their aircraft, they need to be confident that all the necessary planning has been done.’

My role

‘As a Flight Operations Officer you’re like the hub at the centre of a wheel – all the spokes radiate out from you, so you’re always aware of what’s going on and are consequently able to maintain control.

‘Once the flying starts, you need to react as quickly as possible to any problems that may arise. That’s what makes a Flight Operations Officer’s job so interesting and challenging – when things go wrong everyone turns to you for solutions.’

My day

‘Here at Goose Bay my team takes care of the operations organisation. Our main task is to ensure that when aircrew from the flying squadrons walk through the door, everything they’re liable to need is there for them. I also ACT as liaison to the other national forces based here – not only the Canadians but also the Germans, Dutch and Italians.’

My experience

‘My first posting was pretty typical for my branch. I was one of five controllers working in the operations centre at RAF Cottesmore in Rutland, a front-line fighter base with three squadrons of Harriers. It was fairly nerve-racking at first having to present daily briefings to some 60 or so people, including aircrews and my bosses, but my training stood me in good stead and I soon got used to it.’

My life

‘It can be fairly quiet here in winter; there can be 14 feet of snow outside and the temperature drops to an average of minus 17°C. But there’s a friendly local community, including Inuit (Eskimo) and Innu (native Canadians), and our sports facilities are second to none. We have clubs for skidooing in winter and quad biking in summer. There are just so many fantastic opportunities right on our doorstep.’


Initial Officer Training

Like all our officers, you’ll begin your RAF career with Initial Officer Training (IOT) at the RAF College Cranwell in Lincolnshire.

You’ll follow a challenging 30 week course designed to develop your leadership and management skills.

The course includes fitness development, military training and academic study as well as practical outdoor leadership challenges.

Specialist Training

After Initial Officer Training, you will complete a three month specialist Flight Operations training course which includes theoretical and practical training in: airmanship, flight planning, flight security, navigation, meteorology, and airspace management.

Your first tour

During your first tour you are most likely to find yourself working in the Operations Room of an RAF base where you will receive on-the-job training and work under supervision to plan and mange aircraft tasks.

Ongoing Development

As a Flight Operations Officer you will have the opportunity for further professional training and development throughout your career as well as the chance to undertake additional leadership and management training. 

Your future

Career prospects

You’ll join the RAF on either a Short Service Commission of up to nine years, or on a Permanent Commission that will normally require a minimum of 18 years service.

Promotion to the rank of flight lieutenant is on a time served/satisfactory service basis.

Further promotion to squadron leader and above is by competitive selection.

Transferable skills

As a Flight Operations Officer the skills and experience you gain throughout your career could equip you for a number of civilian jobs including: airport manager, airline manager or transport planning and logistics manager.

Apply now

Call us on

0845 605 5555

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