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My experience as a DEO applicant to AEC and Pilot


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Little bit of a background story to start...

Since I was a boy, I've always wanted to be an air traffic controller. My father was a controller for NAV CANADA and my grand-father was a flight service specialist for NAV CANADA as well. Since both my parents worked shift work, I would sometimes have to accompany my father to work if they couldn't find a babysitter. I would spend evenings and nights helping my father enter flight information and watch planes land and take off. Fast forward to high school graduation. In my senior year, I applied to NAV CANADA and received an invite to write the aptitude test the morning following my senior prom (much to my date's chagrin, no party for this guy). Three weeks later I received a notice in the mail that I had not scored well enough to merit an interview.

Plan B it is. Off to the University of New-Brunswick I went, not really knowing what I wanted to study. Started out as an Arts student, transferred to Science and transferred again to Science in Kinesiology. I was tempted to apply to NAV CANADA while I was at university but I decided to complete my commitment and get my degree. During my last semester, I applied to NAV CANADA once again and received another invite to write the aptitude test during the summer of 2011 following graduation. Wrote it and did very well. I moved on the first interview and a week later I found out that I had passed the first interview. At this point, one's application is extended for 18 months and placed in a pool (just like the merit list for the Forces) and only those who are selected from this pool get a second interview. 18 months and a few phone calls on my part later, no second interview. My application is terminated and I must start from scratch again.

It wasn't until a few months ago that I decided to apply to NAV CANADA for the third time while also looking into other career options such as CBSA, RCMP, Marine Traffic Control with the Coast Guard, etc... Up until that point, it had not occurred to me that one can be an air traffic controller in a military setting. I saw a link to the Forces website one day, went to the jobs page and saw that the Forces were hiring Aerospace Control Officers via DEO. I started researching everything I could about AEC and submitted my application at the end of May this year.

Since applying, it would appear that my application process is going rather quickly compared to many others' applications. One month after applying I wrote the CFAT and scored very well, qualifying for the AEC and Pilot trades. A few weeks later I received a call to schedule my medical, which I completed yesterday. The medical officer indicated that my vision will likely disqualify me from the Pilot trade (I wear glasses/contact lenses) but that there's nothing else medically wrong that would prevent me from moving forward. I received a phone call today to schedule an interview in two weeks time.

Currently waiting for my interview. Only this step and the Aircrew Selection in Trenton are left to complete before going onto the merit list. After doing plenty of reading on these forums and researching the AEC trade, my goal is to be a Weapons controller. For a long time I wanted to be an air traffic controller with NAV CANADA, but since applying to the Forces I realize that a career in the military is an opportunity like no other. I look forward to the challenge of BMOQ and becoming a junior officer. I look forward to learning and becoming a leader. To have the opportunity to work beside men and women who proudly serve the Canadian Forces.

It is my sincere hope that I am able to have all necessary steps completed and be on the merit list in time for the next AEC selection date on November 17.

Thanks for reading folks. Any advice/questions/comments/feedback will certainly be appreciated.
AECs can chime in and confirm/deny this, but as I understand it, a Weapons controller is quite a different job than VFR/IFR (Tower/Terminal) controller. 

Also, Pilot applicants are allowed specific forms of PRK or LASIK.
We are also allowed to wear glasses or contacts, surgery is not always necessary.
Dimsum said:
AECs can chime in and confirm/deny this, but as I understand it, a Weapons controller is quite a different job than VFR/IFR (Tower/Terminal) controller. 

Also, Pilot applicants are allowed specific forms of PRK or LASIK.

justbud said:
We are also allowed to wear glasses or contacts, surgery is not always necessary.

From the information that I have gathered, I do understand that the Weapons stream would be quite different than the VFR and IFR streams of ATC. During my most recent NAV CANADA application, I had the opportunity to visit and sit down with controllers at the Moncton airport and the control centre also in Moncton.

I have been considering LASIK surgery for quite some time and I did bring it up with the medical officer yesterday. He indicated that if I were to get the procedure done, that my application would be placed "on hold" for 6 months to ensure that no changes in vision occur following the surgery. As much as I'd like to live without glasses/contacts, I'd rather be eligible for the November selection and see what happens. If in fact it is decided that I don't require surgery, even better!

The vision results from my medical came back as a V4, immediately disqualifying me from both AEC and Pilot trades. My options are to consider other trade options (not many trades accept a Bachelor's of Science in Kinesiology) or pay out of pocket for LASIK surgery and essentially "freeze" my application for 6 months to make sure my vision doesn't change after the procedure.

I have an appointment today with a recruiter to discuss my options. I'm looking into the LASIK at the moment but it's a large expense to pay out of pocket even with their financing options. While the benefits of LASIK go beyond career prospects, I'm struggling with the idea of paying up to $4000 for an elective procedure in the hopes that I'll be able to join the Forces. And even then, the Forces don't owe me a job.

Either way, a decision will have to be made on my part. Just wanted to post the update. Thanks for reading.
Thanks for the update Duke - good luck in whatever life choice you make.
**Another update**

I have decided to go ahead with the laser eye surgery. Procedure is booked for November 21st. I must now wait until May 21st, 2015 before any progress can be made.

I've also been in contact with the recruiting officer here in Moncton. He has informed me that my file must be closed during the 6 month wait period. I will have to wait until May 21st and go through the online application once again. My CFAT/TSD score will carry over, however my new application in May will likely take longer than 3 months. If this is the case, I will have to pass another enrollment medical.

It would appear that I have a whole lot more "hurry up and wait" ahead of me. That being said, I would gladly welcome any suggestions on what one can do to make one's application more competitive. Despite the delay (and slight frustration), I want to make sure I'm at the top of that damn merit list when I make it.

Thanks for reading.

Laser eye surgery went very well. I now have 20/15 vision in both eyes (better than 20/20!). Even if I am not selected for Pilot or AEC, I am happy with my decision to get the surgery. Money well spent, regardless of the result of my application.

It appears the CF has changed their policy regarding applicants who have had their files closed. As long as an applicant reopens their file within one calendar year of it being closed, one's application can continue from the point at which it was closed. This means that I will not have to complete the online portion of the application again.

My plan is to have my file reopened on May 1st so that the ball can get rolling again. I assume I'll have to complete another enrollment medical and have my optometrist fill out the Aircrew forms again. Once my vision checks out I will have to wait for an interview. Provided that goes well, I will then have to wait a bit longer for an Aircrew Selection session.

Thanks for reading. Only a few more weeks to wait.
Hey DukeLuke, I was wondering exactly what kind of LASIK surgery did you get? I am also afraid that my vision may not be good enough to qualify for those trades, and I'd like to get the LASIK surgery done before I apply so I don't have to wait 6 months as you did. Thanks!