Military ATC Hopeful

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ProfessionalATC
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Military ATC Hopeful

Post by ProfessionalATC »

Hello All

I am interested in joining the air force as a Aerospace Control Officer, hoping to specialize at VFR or IFR.
I have a couple questions and if anyone on here could answer them for me, it would be highly appreciated.

I'm hoping that if I get through the recruitment process that I would be placed at a moderately busy airport so I can get to hone my skills as an ATC,
Which bases would be the busiest and which has the least traffic ?

Approximately how long does it take from the start of basic officer training to getting Qualified as an ATC, what steps are included?

What are the odds of me being placed in the air battle manager stream considering that this is the one stream I dont want?

What is military work and life as an ATC like overall ?

Whats the approximate salary of a fully qualified military ATC, I looked at the salaries on the CAF website but im not sure everything is included.

How does moving through the ranks work, as in from officer cadet to Second Lt to Lt to Captain ?

Does anyone know of any ex Canadian Air force ATC that is now working in the Middle East or any other region of the world based on their qualification from the Canadian military ?

Thank You
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007sparta
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Re: Military ATC Hopeful

Post by 007sparta »

ProfessionalATC,

I am posting this from my background as a Serving AEC Weapons (ABM) instructor/operator and NORAD senior director.

As an AEC hopeful, you need to understand that you will be able to give your preference for which branch (VFR, IFR, Weapons) you would like to specialize into, but you must understand that you will be assigned whichever training stream depending on the needs of the service. Typically, VFR training is unlikely for newcomers; it is usually used to train an IFR controller who wishes to be cross trained, or a weapons major who is slated to become a Wing ATC officer (WATCO). In this context, if you truly wish to become an ATC, then you should request IFR training.

Your request for a moderately busy airport will most definitely go on deft ears. The busiest airport you could get posted to is Moose Jaw (CYMJ). The reality is that you could expect to get posted to a place as dead as Greenwood (CYZX), where your ability to control will most likely suffer. Understandably, you should not be wondering at this stage which bases are the busiest and which are the quietest.

Basic training, or BMOQ, is about 3 months long. You will most likely be slated on the next available AEC course, typical start dates are January and August/September. Your first course is given in Cornwall, ON at the NavCenter and lasts 3-5 months (depending on stream, and they’ve changed it in the last few years). Your second phase of training, if ATC, will be conducted at your posting. This phase of training can last anywhere from 6 months to 2+ years depending on how many training days you are given and the availability of heavy/complex traffic. On the Weapons side, your 2nd phase of training is given in North Bay, ON at the Canadian Air Defence Sector (CADS), where you will undergo NORAD-specific training to become a NORAD weapons director in addition to further tactical and operational training.

Your odds of being placed in the ABM stream are high, but a request for IFR will usually not go unheard. There is a need for more IFR controllers; but the training backlog is not at initial training in Cornwall, it is at the operational ATC units. In this context, if everyone wants IFR (unlikely) and not enough people want weapons (also unlikely), then you may be pushed into weapons.

Military work-life balance, for AECs as a whole, is not bad. You can expect shift work, but a reasonable amount of time off as well.

There is no approximate salary. Our salaries are predictable (up to Captain 10) and can be found here, under general service officers: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-nat ... icers.html. You will spend a combined total of 3 years as a 2Lt/Lt, after which you will be promoted to Captain. Lt is achieved once you have obtained your qualification. You will receive backpay up to 1 year of 2Lt, meaning if you are promoted to Lt after 2 years as a 2Lt, you can expect to receive a fair amount of back pay. My understanding is you are planning to join as a DEO; your pay level will be C (for 2Lt and Lt years). PI is simply pay increment. Every year you get a raise. As you may be aware, ATC pay with the military is substantially lower than with NavCanada. The rank of officer cadet is only really a thing if you will be undergoing ROTP, otherwise you hold that rank during your BMOQ at the end of which you are promoted to 2Lt.

Negative on knowing anyone working in the Middle East. Although I do know some weapons-background folk who have transitioned to NavCanada as IFR controllers successfully.

I would urge you to reconsider the air battle manager (weapons) stream. The postings are significantly better, and the opportunities for out of country postings abound. As well, ABMs train to tackle live world events, such as highjacks, in the NORAD context. It is an extremely versatile career path, and one which will typically lead to promotion and advancement much faster than going ATC. Here’s an article for more context on what to expect from the weapons stream: http://www.rcaf-arc.forces.gc.ca/en/art ... h/jq71rpbt

Hope this answers most of your questions. If you have more questions we can talk offline.

Cheers,
007sparta
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007sparta
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Re: Military ATC Hopeful

Post by 007sparta »

ProfessionalATC,

I am posting this from my background as a Serving AEC Weapons (ABM) instructor/operator and NORAD senior director.

As an AEC hopeful, you need to understand that you will be able to give your preference for which branch (VFR, IFR, Weapons) you would like to specialize into, but you must understand that you will be assigned whichever training stream depending on the needs of the service. Typically, VFR training is unlikely for newcomers; it is usually used to train an IFR controller who wishes to be cross trained, or a weapons major who is slated to become a Wing ATC officer (WATCO). In this context, if you truly wish to become an ATC, then you should request IFR training.

Your request for a moderately busy airport will most definitely go on deft ears. The busiest airport you could get posted to is Moose Jaw (CYMJ). The reality is that you could expect to get posted to a place as dead as Greenwood (CYZX), where your ability to control will most likely suffer. Understandably, you should not be wondering at this stage which bases are the busiest and which are the quietest.

Your basic training, or BMOQ, is about 3 months long. You will most likely be slated on the next available AEC course, typical start dates are January and August/September. Your first course is given in Cornwall, ON at the NavCenter and lasts 3-5 months (depending on stream, and they’ve changed it in the last few years). Your second phase of training, if ATC, will be conducted at your posting. This phase of training can last anywhere from 6 months to 2+ years depending on how many training days you are given and the availability of heavy/complex traffic. On the Weapons side, your 2nd phase of training is given in North Bay, ON at the Canadian Air Defence Sector (CADS), where you will undergo NORAD-specific training to become a NORAD weapons director in addition to further tactical and operational training.

Your odds of being placed in the ABM stream are high, but a request for IFR will usually not go unheard. There is a need for more IFR controllers; but the training backlog is not at initial training in Cornwall, it is at the operational ATC units. In this context, if everyone wants IFR (unlikely) and not enough people want weapons (also unlikely), then you may be pushed into weapons.

Military work-life balance, for AECs as a whole, is not bad. You can expect shift work, but a reasonable amount of time off as well.

There is no approximate salary. Our salaries are predictable (up to Captain 10) and can be found here, under general service officers: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-nat ... icers.html. You will spend a combined total of 3 years as a 2Lt/Lt, after which you will be promoted to Captain. Lt is achieved once you have obtained your qualification. You will receive backpay up to 1 year of 2Lt, meaning if you are promoted to Lt after 2 years as a 2Lt, you can expect to receive a fair amount of back pay. My understanding is you are planning to join as a DEO; your pay level will be C (for 2Lt and Lt years). PI is simply pay increment. Every year you get a raise. As you may be aware, ATC pay with the military is substantially lower than with NavCanada. The rank of officer cadet is only really a thing if you will be undergoing ROTP, otherwise you hold that rank during your BMOQ at the end of which you are promoted to 2Lt.

Negative on knowing anyone working in the Middle East. Although I do know some weapons-background folk who have transitioned to NavCanada as IFR controllers successfully.

I would urge you to reconsider the air battle manager (weapons) stream. The postings are significantly better, and the opportunities for out of country postings abound. As well, ABMs train to tackle live world events, such as highjacks, in the NORAD context. It is an extremely versatile career path, and one which will typically lead to promotion and advancement much faster than going ATC. Here’s an article for more context on what to expect from the weapons stream: http://www.rcaf-arc.forces.gc.ca/en/art ... h/jq71rpbt


Hope this answers most of your questions.

Regards,
007sparta
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whatisttv
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Re: Military ATC Hopeful

Post by whatisttv »

1. Busiest base to work at is probably Moose Jaw because that's where there are student pilots although one can argue that it's more volume than complexity here. Base with least traffic is somewhere like Greenwood.

2. Basic Military Officer Qualification takes about 14 weeks last time I checked and then you'd be going to Cornwall for ATC training. Then to the base for on the job training.

3. All aspects of military ATC, including Air Battle Managers, are in demand for people...So it's tough to say. Just say you want ATC side and not the ABM or air defense side. Hopefully you get your pick.

4. Military work and life is brutal, to be honest. You don't get paid a lot compared to Nav Canada but the traffic is a lot less (not sure if this is good or bad). The worst part is the location you might get sent to such as Cold Lake, Moose Jaw, Greenwood, Trenton which are all in the middle of nowhere. Plus, you have secondary duties. As a military ATC and an officer, you're in a leadership role from the get-go so you have people underneath you and you often have admin duties or stuff like doing parade once in a while on your off days with no additional pay. Also, because military ATC is in so much demand for people, you're often working a lot of hours for the same pay.

5. CAF website reflects well what military ATC would earn. The only additional pay that can happen is if as an Air Battle Manager, you work on the AWACS (the aircraft with a large radar on top) and you get flight pay on top of your salary or if you get deployed and get deployment pay + danger pay, etc.

6. You move up through the ranks with experience. Officer cadets are normally in university either through the military college or other programs. Once you have a degree, you commission as a 2Lt. You get your Lt once you are trade qualified aka checked out as a military ATC and you get your Captains once you have about 2 years of experience under your belt as a qualified controller. It's pretty much guaranteed to get Captains unless you're a criminal lol. After Captain to Major and onwards into the senior officer ranks, you have to have a good profile - Post grad, bilingual, good amount of experience under belt, etc.

7. Im not sure on this one.

Good luck.
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