I was born/grew up in: I was born and raised in Ridgeway, Ontario, Canada
I now live in: Cold Lake, Alberta, Canada
I completed my training/education at: All Canadian Armed Forces Air Traffic Control training takes places at the Canadian Forces School of Aerospace Control Operations (CFSACO) in Cornwall, ON. I completed my entry level training for air traffic control at CFSACO as well as a Ground Control course and Flight Advisory Course.
What I do at work
At the Air Traffic Control Tower at Canadian Forces Base Cold Lake, AB, I direct aircraft in the air as well as control aircraft and vehicles on the ground at our airport. My goal is to make sure everything moves safely and efficiently. During a shift in the air traffic control tower, we work in a team environment with the people on duty at that time. Teamwork is extremely important with each person performing their specific role and making sure that aircraft can move in a safe and efficient manner. During busy periods, there can be 20-30 airplanes taking off and landing in a very short period. During certain military exercises, that number is even higher. During those periods, an air traffic controller is constantly making decisions as to the best way to control the aircraft in the air and on the ground. These tasks are assisted by various pieces of technology including radar, radios and other specialized equipment.
My career path is
When I was finishing high school, I had an idea I wanted to join the Canadian Armed Forces but I also had a few other options I was considering. I spent two years after high school as a railway conductor. It was an interesting job but it was not quite what I was looking for. I decided to join the Canadian Forces as an Aerospace Control Operator. I am extremely happy with my decision! The Canadian military has given me excellent training in air traffic control with the use of high tech simulators. These simulators let you practice what you are learning before talking to real aircraft. The military has also allowed me to work on a university degree that they pay for to further my professional development and education. My career has taken me to 5 different locations in three provinces in Canada as well as the opportunity to go overseas on a deployment to the Middle East.
I am motivated by
I love going to work every day! In the control tower, each day is different from the last. My job is constantly presenting new challenges and every day I arrive at work I am never sure how it will play out. My career puts me in a position where I make decisions affecting the operations of an entire airport. These decisions control the flow of air traffic, assist aircraft that are having emergencies, and work with military fighter jets that are ready 24/7 for the defense of Canada.
How I affect peoples’ lives
Air traffic control effects thousands of lives every day. All around the world, air traffic control agencies control the aircraft flying in their airspace and on to the next sectors airspace. Each military air traffic control unit is one piece of the puzzle of controlling aircraft and making sure all people onboard depart and arrive safely at their destination.
Outside of work I
When I am not at work with the military, I enjoy refereeing hockey, playing guitar, travelling to new places in Canada and around the world, volunteering at a historic site and going out with friends to unwind.
My advice to others
I would say for anyone that is looking for a career that is exciting, challenging and full of opportunities to look at a career as an Aerospace Control Operator in the Canadian Forces. If someone is interested in aviation, problem solving, taking charge and never having two days alike then this career is full of that. Another benefit of a career in the Canadian Armed Forces is the opportunity to represent and serve Canada at home and abroad.