“Seeing the Way Forward”
Recently Cadet Corporal Stephen Payne from 1101 (Kettering) Squadron completed an RAF work experience course at the Royal Air Force station in Shawbury, where he had the opportunity to meet Prince William while he was completing his helicopter training with the RAF.
Corporal Stephen Payne spent three days at the RAF Shawbury learning about what it would be like to join the RAF as an officer in Air Traffic Control. Corporal Payne was given first hand experience into life as an RAF officer living in the officer’s mess on the base.
Over the three day course Stephen had access to all the facilities and training that is provided to new officers that choose to be Air Traffic Controllers. Stephen visited various different areas of the base but mainly the Central Air Traffic Control School (CATCTS) where they were shown multi-million pound training resources that are used to train and test the newly recruited RAF personnel.
There are radar simulators for local and national radar systems, IT equipped teaching rooms as well as a new Air Traffic Control Tower Simulator which is the final testing platform used before the controllers are allowed to be posted to a RAF station. Here, the instructors use the software to test the recruits and to see how they react to different situations such as emergencies and peak traffic scenarios.
Corporal Stephen Payne said “I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and I got to meet a lot of new people who were all considering the same role in the RAF. I especially enjoyed visiting the ATC tower and the simulator tower as these gave me a true insight of my work area and what I would be doing as an officer in the RAF. I also got to experience life in the officer’s mess where everyone was very friendly and when we socialised in the evening, we got talking and we learnt first hand what the RAF was like.”
Corporal Payne has also recently completed his Gilding Scholarship at RAF Henlow where he completed eight hours of training and flew solo. Stephen said that after completing his gliding scholarship this sparked a huge interest in Air Traffic Control.