Royal Navy School of Aircraft Control

The Royal Navy School of Aircraft Control (RNSAC) is 50% manned by service personnel, all of whom are current Aircraft Controllers (ACs); and 50% manned by staff from civilian contractor BABCOCK HCS. RNSAC moved in 1999 to RNAS Yeovilton from RNAS Portland where it had been based since the 1970s. RNSAC conducts annual testing of all RN ACs with a two and a half day standards check in the simulator and classroom.

The RNSAC runs four courses a year, training Leading Aircraft Controllers (LACs). The LACs are trained to control Helicopters to join the ship at sea, as well as fixed wing aircraft. In addition Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Leading hands are trained at RNSAC, although their course is a week shorter.

Ratings from any Branch of the Royal Navy can apply to transfer to the AC Branch, as long as they meet the selection criteria and subject to approval from their source branch. Initial Selection consists of a one week grading course. A Computer Simulator is used to represent up to 5 Ships at once with their respective ACs, all networked together in real time, providing realistic training.

Starting with grading, the course runs through low level flying, and then moves onto the Sea Skimming target controller's course, which takes place actually onboard ship.

The next step for some Aircraft Controllers, once they have reached the level of Petty Officer, is to move onto becoming an Air Traffic Controller (ATC). This training is carried out at the Joint Air Traffic Control Course (JATCC) Tri-Service Facility at RAF Shawbury, Shropshire.

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