Air & Space Operations Specialist (Flight Operations)

Job Description

As an RAF Air & Space Operations Specialist (Flight Operations) you will support aircrew, Air Operations Controllers and Air Operations (Systems) Officers to facilitate the successful planning and execution of flights and missions, both in the UK and on worldwide operations.

Air & Space Operations Specialists (Flight Operations) provide direct support to aircrew, air traffic control and Operations Managers in a variety of roles. In support of aircrew, you could be employed in a squadron operations room, where you will be responsible for the maintenance of aeronautical information and operating mission support IT, both of which are critical to the safe and expeditious conduct of the mission. Alternatively, you could also be employed in an air traffic control tower, managing IT systems with real-time flight information and operating radio equipment in support of the controllers.

There are opportunities for employment in station operations and flight planning, responsible for coordinating military and civilian aircraft operations and utilising your specialist flight planning knowledge to give advice to visiting aircrew on submitting their flight plans. Future roles could see you working within Space Operations. Like many RAF personnel you will be assigned to other RAF Stations as part of your career development. You may also have the opportunity to be go overseas on a detachment as part of your job for a number of months or as a full posting to certain locations. Your duties will be similar to those at your home Station, but will be more demanding with opportunities to work with other services and nations in an operational environment.



  • The coordination of airspace, military and civilian aircraft and airfield operations.
  • Be a key member of the Air Traffic Control and Station Operations teams in direct support to Air Operations Controllers, Air & Space Operations Managers and Air Operations (Systems) Officers.
  • Management of mission planning systems and aeronautical data to support aircrew in peacetime and conflict.



Your career will start with a 10-week Basic Recruit Training Course 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.


The next step is the 12-week Flight Operations Specialist Course at RAF Shawbury in Shropshire. You will 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 course, you will have gained an understanding of Flight Operations duties and will have practised carrying out your role using the air traffic control, flight operations and flight planning simulators. On successful completion of the course you will be promoted to Leading Aircraftman and receive your first assignment.


During your specialist trade training, you will be offered the opportunity to enrol on an Advanced Aviation Ground Specialist Apprenticeship. Within this apprenticeship your training will focus on the professional elements of Flight Operations.


As your career progresses, we will continue to train you in new skills that include training & standards roles and higher trade management skills. There are opportunities to undertake the Meteorology Observer course provided by the Met Office, and Airfield Wildlife Control to further enhance your professional training. If you are a non-driver, depending upon the role to which you are assigned, there may opportunities to obtain a full driving licence.


For your first assignment, you may be employed within an air traffic control tower, station operations or flight planning environment at a station in the UK. During this assignment, there may be an opportunity to move to one of the other roles for personal and professional development.


You will join the RAF on an initial engagement of 12 years. After completing your first year of service, you will be eligible for promotion to Senior Aircraftman, providing you pass Basic Trade Training and a Trade Ability Test.

Further promotion to the rank of Corporal and beyond is by competitive selection. Following your first assignment, you will be assigned to another Station either within the UK or overseas. In addition to air traffic control, station operations and flight planning, you may also be employed in squadron operations, area radar or airspace management duties. There may be future voluntary employment opportunities within Air & Space Operations (Aerospace Systems) such as an airspace monitoring role at the Control and Reporting Centre at RAF Boulmer or on the mobile radar unit, No 1 Air Control Centre based at RAF Scampton. Additionally, further opportunities may include Missile Warning and Space duties at RAF Fylingdales or attached to 16 Regiment Royal Artillery, assisting in the provision of air situational awareness to the Army.


Service as an Air & Space Operations Specialist (Flight Operations) will develop your professional and personal skills such as problem solving, teamwork and communication skills. The leadership & management training, accredited to the Chartered Management Institute, and Advanced Apprenticeship are as valuable in the civilian world as they are in the RAF, meaning that whenever you decide to leave the RAF, you will be well placed to find a job in civilian airport operations.

Role Update 2022:

Aerospace Systems (AS) is merging with Flight Operations (FO) as of 01 April 2021 to form a single Air & Space Operations Specialist trade. Entry into separate AS and FO trades will continue until April 2022. Upon completion of Specialist Training you will be offered the opportunity to transfer into the new Air and Space Operations Specialist trade.