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Aerospace Control Officers-AEC [merged]

formerguard said:
The more things change...

Indeed, but the occupation has gone from 20% below PML to achieving PML in less than 3 years. This was enabled by moving "common" to DL and adding more "core" to CFSACO.

I am waiting for an approval to change trade from Infantry to AEC. A few questions that I can't find the answers ;

Once your qualification is done in Cornwall, what are the usual posting afterward ?
From the last course, was everybody sent to the same location ?
Talking about courses, how many courses runs every year ?

Thank you
dad_r22r said:
Once your qualification is done in Cornwall, what are the usual posting afterward ?
For the ATC side of the house, you'll have Comox, Cold Lake, Moose Jaw, Trenton, Bagotville, and Greenwood.
Weapons, it's only one initial posting: North Bay.

From the last course, was everybody sent to the same location ?
ATC Graduates are dispersed based on the needs of the units. Some bases may have no positions available, thus no one is likely to be posted there.
Weapons Graduates all go to North Bay.

Talking about courses, how many courses runs every year ?
This year, there are 2 Weapons Courses, 2 IFR Courses, and 3 VFR Courses.
Cornwall/CFSACO only provides the initial qualification - you still need to undergo operational (live) training at an OTU.  On the ATC side (post-Cornwall), you're posted to a unit where you undergo checkout, so all those units mentioned above function as OTU's.  Once you 'check out', you remain at that unit for the duration of your posting.

On the Weapons side, the OTU (51 Sqn) is in North Bay.  All Weapons folks will proceed to North Bay after Cornwall to complete operational training and then are posted to a unit.  Some do indeed stay in North Bay (at 21 Sqn, which is the operational squadron), but others may be posted to other weapons units based on needs of the occupation.  There are initial postings to radar squadrons in Cold Lake or Bagotville, Air Defense sectors in the US, or AWACS in Tinker.  All that to say that while, if weapons, you will go through North Bay, you're not necessarily going to be posted there.
Thank you Guy_Incognito and Formerguard for your anwers. As you mention, there is different path after the basic formation, who decide wich branch you will end up ? I did some research on all three and so far, all of them seems have positive sides. From what I have read, the weapons seems to have more choice of posting then the other two, is that right ? I don't mind North Bay, but let's say that it is not on my top 3 posting...

I believe 2 Div/A3 AF Trg makes the decision.  When I got my transfer, my boss was in touch with them and he submitted my stream preference for me.
So I've been looking at going into Maritime Fighter Control (MFC), however, I'm having some trouble finding much, if any, information about it. As far as I understand, it's not a first tour posting and it follows an Air Weapons stream.

As for getting there, I believe I input a preference during my summer of OJT (between 3rd and 4th year of ROTP) to follow the Air Weapons stream. After graduation, assuming I get my preference, I will do another summer of OJT until a course open up. Then I do the Air Weapons course of 13 weeks, which I understand now has the common phase(or the DL), in Cornwall, then Phase 4 at North Bay(3-4 months?)

My question is, what can I do afterwards to get into MFC? AFAIK, I get a posting to either North Bay, Cold Lake, Bagotville or OUTCAN. But where/how long/what is incorporated into the Maritime Fighter Control course? When could I apply for it? What would be the best posting after finishing the Air Weapons course to get into the Maritime Fighter Control program?

I've tried searching the forums about this, but very little information came up. Even the CF Aerospace Control World website and forces.gc.ca has minimal information on it. Also correct me if I'm wrong about the Air Weapons stream.

Thanks in advance for any information posted!  :)
You are correct in that it is through the Weapons stream and that you will not get it right off.  ALso, except under rare circumstances, the course will only be offered once you are a Capt.

You can get to the course from any of the Weapons stream postings, although being at 42 Radar (Cold Lake) will give you more experience beforehand.  That being said, people have been loaded on the course from all locations in and outside of Canada.

For now, concentrate on finishing school and getting through your Weapons course both in-house and in North Bay.  Once that is all done and you are at your first posting, mention your interest in MFC so that not only do your supervisors know what your goal is, but so that they can help you with your plans to acheive it.

Good luck.
Hey guys, I'm looking for some feedback on people working in either trade who have good knowledge about both preferrably. I'm kind of stoked right now- I have the choice of either making my 1st choice AEC or ACSO. I have passed the tests for both, and have a good chance of getting either offer.
I understand that both trades have their pros and cons, that both trades are rewarding and challenging in their own way. I would just like some feedback from someone who has done at least a few years as an AEC. Let me know what you like/dislike about it, how do you feel they respect your posting choices, how you feel you are being treated in general and how much appreciation do you and others have for your work. And, most importantly, would you recommend your line of work over ACSO.

Here's a bit about me; I like adventure, but I also look forward to a safe, rewarding job with a fair amount of room for promotion, OUTCAN postings, and HQ/command center work (though not necessarily flying desk all day).

Thanks in advance for all feedback, it's much appreciated  :salute:
Noctis said:
I'm kind of stoked right now- I have the choice of either making my 1st choice AEC or ACSO. I have passed the tests for both, and have a good chance of getting either offer.

Unfortunately, I don't  think you will have the choice when you get the call that you've been selected for either of your choices. The order of the trades on your application doesn't matter, you are suppose to be willing to do all of them. I thought the same thing, that I could be pick for both trades I applied then choose between them what I wanted the most, but my recruiter told me that once you are selected for a trade, your name is removed from the merit list for the other trades you applied.
Thank you for your reply Hannibal,
I guess that makes my question completely irrelevant than :p  I'll keep AEC as my first choice and see where things go from there.
Noctis said:
(though not necessarily flying desk all day).
Albeit a common phrase used around the water cooler - please note that AEC's do not fly (with the exception of AWACs).  If you are looking to get out and fly you really only have ACSO as a choice.

If you choose AEC, you can expect North Bay, Cold Lake and Bagotville to be the primary locations where you will spend your career.  If you escape weapons and get into the ATC environment you will get to also enjoy Comox, Moose Jaw, Trenton and Greenwood.  The Career Manager will respect your choice for location, as long as it is the one he needs to you fill.
Thanks for the input Zoomie.
Yeah, posting options for WPNS aren't all that great. I can't stand anything below -10c so I'm pretty sure I'll opt for ATC if the choice presents itself. If anything, to get an OUTCAN posting some place warm! (Repeat after me: A man is allowed to dream.  A man is allowed to dream.)  :blotto:
However, if you want OUTCAN postings, Weapons is the way to go.  Seattle, New York (upstate, not NYC), Anchorage AK, AWACS in AK and OK, Germany when we had the AWACS positions there....etc.  From my Weapons friends, they manage to spend a fair bit OUTCAN.  Note that none of those are particularly warm places, if that's what you're after (maybe Seattle.)

That's not to say that ACSOs don't get OUTCAN, just not as frequently as AEC-Weapons.  The rest still stands though.

And another (pedantic) point:  AEC and ACSO aren't AF support, they're AF operations trades along with Pilot. 
Hi Noctis,

I've been an Air Traffic Controller for 23 years now.  I have not had any operational deployments.  However I have had the opportunity to go into the "field" on exercise on a number of occasions.  Even lived in a couple of tents!  I've work both as a VFR and an IFR controller plus one "out of trade" tour.  I do believe I have had a rewarding career.  I've been able to do somethings I wasn't expecting and I have been let down in other areas.  If you choose AEC I do think you can have as rewarding a career as you make it.  Probably the same for ACSO.

Now for my advice:  If you are looking for adventure; if you are looking for the best chance of promotion; then your choices should be ACSO,  AEC - Air Weapons Control then AEC - Air Traffic Control in that order.  There are opportunities for adventure and promotion in any of these choices.  But if you want to go places and do things, then it's ACSO.  If you want OUTCAN postings, then it's Air Weapons.  I personally know many Weapons Controllers that have had three or more OUTCAN postings.  However, if you are looking for a real challenge, then you have to choose Air Traffic Control.  ATC may not be physically demanding but I doubt there is a more mentally demanding trade in the Air Force. Then again, I've only ever been an Air Traffic Controller, so I may be a little bit biased. 

Hey, and if ATC doesn't work out for you, you can always go Weapons or ACSO then ;D

Good luck in what ever direction your future brings you/

Thank you very much Air4ce, this is exactly the kind of info I was looking for!
It's hard to get a glimpse of what really happens within a trade from civvy street, thanks for shedding a bit of light for me. I feel more strongly for ACSO or WPNS than ATC after reading your post, then again I am young and foolish  ::)
MPs inbound.
As an AEC Weapons Controller posting from the desert - there is certainly some adventures to be had!  While still relatively green (4 years in) I have been more than impressed with the breadth of opportunities within the AEC realm. NORAD, Tactical Fighter Control, Maritime Fighter Control, AWACS, Space Ops, TACP, IFR, VFR... and probably several more that I have missed.

Working with the Tactical Control Radar Sqns (42 Rdr / 12 ER) you get tremendous opportunity to travel on TD either as a small attachment or as a full Squadron. In recent years the TCRs have done INCAN deployments to both the Olympics and the G20 Summit, and there's rumours abound of some OUTCAN Sqn deployments. Deployment opportunities are also very regular; my home unit generally has 1 or 2 people overseas.

I have very little experience with the ACSO trade so I can't make any comparisons, but for what it's worth the AEC world is a tough but invigorating field.

Thanks Dy3r, great input! Weapons Controller would be more my kind of ballpark. You're in the desert, that sounds really awesome! Are you operating from a tactical radar sqn? Those look pretty neat :p
MPs inbound